From a breakthrough Formula E win in Berlin, to one of motorsport’s paramount races – life in the fast lane could hardly be faster for Felix Rosenqvist at the current moment in time. Just days on from the Tempelhof triumph, the Swede is now on site in France to fulfil one of his childhood dreams: to contest the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A true test of endurance for both man and machine, the esteemed twice-around-the-clock race first took place in 1923, with the 2017 edition marking its 85th running. Rosenqvist makes his debut in the French classic, representing the French-American DragonSpeed team in an ORECA 07 Gibson LMP2-class prototype (start number #21).
25-year-old Rosenqvist will share the car with fellow Swede Henrik Hedman (49) and Britain’s Ben Hanley (32).
LMP2: Rosenqvist reunites with Formula E rivals in largest class
A total of 60 cars are entered into this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with 25 of them set to contest the LMP2 category – making it numerically the biggest of the event’s four classes.
Among Rosenqvist’s LMP2 rivals are three of his regular Formula E adversaries (Brazil’s Nelson Piquet Jr. as well as Frenchmen Nicolas Prost and Jean-Éric Vergne), but also a host of other famous names that include the likes of Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Bruno Senna (BRA) and Karun Chandhok (IND).
A privateer class, LMP2 is the second-fastest category at the event, ranking in below the pace-setting factory-backed LMP1 machines. The LMP1 grid, by the way, boasts a further four Formula E regulars in the shape of Sébastien Buemi (SUI), Stéphane Sarrazin (FRA), Mike Conway (GBR) and José María López (ARG).
LMP2 cars weigh in at 930 kg and are powered by 600-bhp engines. Corresponding LMP1 numbers, for reference, are 875 kg and a power span of between 800-1000 bhp.
Alongside the two prototype classes, the Le Mans grid also features two GT categories.
The mystique of the Sarthe
Hosting the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the 13.629 km Circuit de la Sarthe, a fast track laid out predominantly on normal roads on the southern outskirts of the city. Known for its demanding nature, it features iconic corners such as Tertre Rouge, Arnage and the sweeping Porsche Curves, while the vast Mulsanne straight allows for speeds of around 330 km/h (in LMP2).
An early beginning
On-track action for the 85th 24 Hours of Le Mans kicks off with free practice and an opening qualifying session on Wednesday. Thursday sees another four hours of qualifying take place, with Friday then marking a well-needed day of rest before the race gets underway at 15.00 local time on Saturday.
24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe, France
All times local (GMT+02:00)
Wednesday 14 June
Free Practice: 16.00-20.00
Qualifying 1: 22.00-00.00
Thursday 15 June
Qualifying 2: 19.00-21.00
Qualifying 3: 22.00-00.00
Saturday 17 June
24 Hours of Le Mans – start: 15.00
Sunday 18 June
24 Hours of Le Mans – finish: 15.00
Click here to view the complete entry list.