They say slow and steady wins the race, but Aesop never saw a Porsche.
This weekend marks the 85th installment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest active sports car endurance race. True to its name, the race is a 24-hour endurance run on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a roughly 8.5-mile track in Le Mans, France. The winner is the car that travels the greatest distance in those 24 hours. As one of the three events that form the Triple Crown of Motorsport — along with the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix — Le Mans is one of the most prestigious racing competitions in the world.
Unlike many races, however, Le Mans is not merely a test of speed. Because of the grueling hours involved, manufacturers participating in the race must design their cars with an eye for sturdiness and fuel efficiency. Each team fields three drivers, who rotate throughout the race. Le Mans is also a showcase for some of the most aerodynamic cars. The Circuit de la Sarthe has numerous long, straight sections where cars that can maintain a high top speed can quickly rack up miles.
Sporting events are always a dramatic stage, and this year’s running of Le Mans is no exception. The field of cars has been expanded to 60, and the competition among the top teams will be particularly fierce. Toyota lost last year’s race to Porsche with only a few minutes to spare, so you can bet the team will be back this year with a vengeance. Audi is out of the race, which means it’s just two manufacturer teams going all out for the podium.
The race begins on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET. Here is our guide for how to watch coverage of the race.
While Fox Sports will be broadcasting the event intermittently on the Fox Sports 1 and 2 cable channels, constant coverage will be available via Fox Sports GO. In addition to watching through the website, you can also download the official mobile app if you want to view an up-to-date feed regarding the race or watch it on your smartphone or tablet. The stream will also include footage from in-car cameras.
As expected, the official Le Mans organization provides some of the best race coverage surrounding the 24-hour event. With extensive pre-race coverage on its Facebook and Twitter pages, you’ll able to keep up with anything and everything Le Mans. You’ll also get access to last year’s results and the 2017 entry list, as well as a noteworthy list of all race regulations.
However, you’ll want to check out the organization’s video service, Le Mans TV, for actual race coverage. Here, you’ll be able browse a host of interviews, news pieces, and various Le Mans coverage leading up to the big race. Once the race is underway, the feed will feature nonstop live coverage, in English and French, along with images from each the 14 on-board cameras. Moreover, special reports will routinely summarize updates on the different race classifications, provide a closer look at the Michelin technical rendezvous, and provide historical context regarding the race and endurance cars in general.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) — the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ sanctioning body — streams the entire race on its website. Its Race Pack costs 9.99 euros, which represents about $11 at the current conversion rate. For the price, fans get live, uninterrupted coverage of all the actions with insightful commentary and without any commercials.
The Race Pack is an excellent way to watch the race if you don’t have cable. You can even display the live stream on your television by hooking up your laptop via a HDMI cable. If Le Mans gets you hooked on endurance racing, the FIA will let you stream the rest of the season for about $22.
The Ford Chip Team Ganassi team is entering no less than four GTs in this year’s race. Ford Performance lets enthusiasts keep up with each one on its official YouTube channel. The Blue Oval will be live during the entire race with exclusive footage from in-car cameras, and even a look at what goes on in the garage. If you’ve ever wanted to see close-up footage of mechanics changing brake pads in record time, this is the feed to watch.
If you won’t have access to a constant video stream, then Radio Le Mans will help pick up the slack. Renowned sports commentator John Hindhaugh hosts weekly motorsport updates regarding the race, and as expected, he’s poised to be at the helm during the big race as well. Furthermore, the website boasts a slew of podcasts that cover the qualifying races and race highlights — all of which are available in English.
If you want to get up-to-the-minute timing and scoring updates, head over to the FIA World Endurance Championship website. Here, you’ll have access to the other endurance races which fall under the FIA World Endurance Championship series. It also features news articles and updates regarding 24 Hours of Le Mans. If you’re looking to get even more information on the endurance racing series, FIA’s website is an excellent resource.
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