News

‘It’s a very special race’ – F1 drivers reflect on Le Mans 24 Hours and whether they would ever take part

Share
LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: The #50 Ferrari AF Corse, Ferrari 499P of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina,

While their focus remains on the current F1 season, several drivers on the grid will be keeping a close eye on the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, with many having spoken of their desire to compete in the famous endurance event in the future.

The iconic race returns from June 15-16 and will feature many well-known names of Formula 1 past, including Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean, Robert Kubica and Mick Schumacher. They will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of other former F1 drivers who have tasted glory at the event.

READ MORE: How Jenson Button can join an exclusive F1 club when he heads to Le Mans this year

Some of the current grid have also enjoyed success at Le Mans; Nico Hulkenberg won for Porsche on his first and so far only attempt in 2015, while Fernando Alonso claimed back-to-back victories for Toyota in 2018 and 2019.

Max Verstappen has previously voiced an interest in competing in the endurance race at some stage in his career, having even discussed the possibility of teaming up with Alonso for the feat, and the Dutchman remains interested in the possibility.

“I remember when I was like 11, 12 years old, my dad was racing at Le Mans in LMP2 and then LMP1 the year after. It is something pretty incredible,” said Verstappen. “Even at the time, you're a young kid, but just the whole atmosphere is fantastic.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull

Verstappen has expressed an interest in competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future

“And the team element of it, because it's not only you, right? You have to work together with your team mates to try and find the right compromise with the set-up.

“For sure in the future, I would like to race. It's an incredible event.”

Verstappen is not the only driver to contemplate a partnership with another name from F1 at Le Mans, with George Russell and Alex Albon also considering this in their post-Formula 1 lives.

READ MORE: Verstappen offers advice to Mercedes junior Antonelli while Russell assesses his prospects as a possible future team mate

“I think definitely after my Formula 1 career, I would love to race in Le Mans and maybe even do it with some guys who are in F1 at the moment,” Russell commented. “I think it would be quite cool.

“Alex and I spoke like a couple of years ago about doing like a GT race or something together, but I don't know who you'd want [on your team]!

“I think it's a very special race. I think we're all racers. We love racing in Formula 1 and that takes all of our effort. But in the future, for sure, we want to explore some of these awesome races.”

Albon added: “I'm the same. I think it's definitely something that every driver most probably has on their bucket list, their to-do list. I would love to do a race with some of these guys, maybe my family as well. I don't know how I would do it, but definitely it’s up there.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 03: Race winner Arthur Leclerc of Monaco and Prema Racing (4)

Could the Leclerc siblings one day compete at Le Mans together?

“I don't know, just imagine like we're all sharing a motorhome or an RV together and just... It would be good. I can see it now.”

Endurance racing is something that Charles Leclerc has been keeping a close eye on recently, with Ferrari having taken victory with the #51 499P hypercar at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023, while his brother, Arthur Leclerc, is currently racing in the Italian GT Championship.

WATCH: Brothers Charles and Arthur Leclerc interview each other as they chat Monaco, Ferrari and more

As such, the Monegasque would be interested in competing at Le Mans in the future alongside his sibling.

“I would love to do Le Mans one day,” said Leclerc. “I think we all have the same problem. The programme in Formula 1 now is crazy, and we've got very little time spare to prepare properly a race like Le Mans, because if I do Le Mans, I want to arrive there ready and there to go and win.

“So we've got to do the things seriously and at the moment with the calendar of Formula 1, it's quite difficult. But I would love to partner with my younger brother to do Le Mans one day together.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

News

Red Bull RB17 hypercar makes world debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed