Ex-F1 drivers gunning for glory at Le Mans


A contingent of 18 ex-F1 drivers spread across multiple categories is competing in this weekend's 100th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The endurance classic has often been on the bucket list of Grand Prix racing's finest, but Formula 1's era of exclusivity means that a trip to Le Mans is a post-F1 career affair, save for Fernando Alonso of course who won the event for the first time in 2018 with Toyota while also competing that season in F1 for McLaren.

Two F1 world champions were scheduled to race in the Sarthe this weekend, but Jacques Villeneuve's sidelining by the Vanwall outfit has left fellow F1 champ Jenson Button as the sport's most notorious representative.

Button is sharing his fast and loud Garage 56 NASCAR Camaro ZL1, entered by Hendrick Motorsports, with stockcar legend Jimmie Johnson and one-time Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller.

"It's funny because the first time I drove this car was at Daytona and, for the first five laps, I thought it was the biggest mistake of my life signing up to this!" commented Button.

"But you slowly get used to it, you get used to the weight, you get used to the size but I hadn't also driven for two-and-a-half years, which is quite a long time for a racing driver, so it took a while to get used to it, but I absolutely love it.

The original big banger machine has already singled itself out as a fan favourite and given its superior pace in qualifying relative to its GTE rivals it will be interesting to see just how well it performs, if its race goes to plan.

Ferrari works Hypercar driver Antonio Giovinazzi

Antonio Giovinazzi – who is technically still an F1 driver, Kamui Kobayashi, Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Bourdais, Esteban Gutierrez, Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Nasr, Andre Lotterer, Will Stevens and Jack Aitken are all competing in the 16-car strong top class Hypercar category.

Further back, the ultra-competitive LMP2 class includes in its ranks Daniil Kvyat, Robert Kubica, Pietro Fittipaldi, Jan Magnussen and Giedo van der Garde.

For good measure, IndyCar has also sent over a couple of its most worthy representatives, with Scott Dixon running onboard the #3 Cadillac V-Series.R (with Bourdais and Renger va der Zande) and fellow Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud sharing driving duties at the wheel of the #47 Cool Racing Oreca LMP2.

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter