The 89th staging of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will get underway on Saturday 21 August when the race’s starter waves the French flag. This year, the prestigious role has been entrusted to Ferrari’s chairman, John Elkann.
This February, the Italian marque confirmed that it will return to the top tier of endurance racing in 2023 with a Le Mans Hypercar programme.
Ferrari, endurance and the 24 Hours of Le Mans share a long and glorious history. The Maranello-based carmaker has taken overall victory at the French classic nine times, its last win dating back to 1965 after an epic showdown with Ford.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “I’d like to thank John Elkann for his commitment to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Given the all-round jubilation witnessed when Ferrari announced its return, it is particularly fitting that he should start the race. Having manufacturers as prestigious as Ferrari join the Hypercar class signals a glittering future for endurance racing. I’m extremely honoured that John Elkann will be starting the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year as we welcome fans back to the circuit.”
John Elkann, Chairman of Ferrari: “To wave the flag that starts the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world’s iconic motor races, is a truly exceptional privilege and one filled with emotion for me. Le Mans is much more than a challenge of mechanical endurance. It is a unique space in time that recalls some of the greatest racing rivalries of the past, and creates new tales and legends every year it is run. Ferrari’s history, that also binds us to these 24 hours, is one of passion, excitement and success at Le Mans that began in 1949. But above all, it is a story of innovation, technological daring and dramatic sporting challenge at the very highest level. All of which also explains our recent decision to bring Ferrari back to the Hypercar class and to Le Mans in 2023. This year’s eagerly awaited race welcomes back the fans whose presence is so fundamental to its magic. I would like to thank the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for its incredible work and of course for this exceptional privilege of starting the 24 hours of 2021.”
Jean Todt, Président of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile: "It will be moving to see John Elkann kicking off the 89th Edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, given what Ferrari represents in the history of motor racing.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans, 4th round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, takes place on 21-22 August, with spectators in attendance. Tickets went on sale on 21 June.