NBA great LeBron James has been named the honorary starter of the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans which celebrates its 100th year.
Although “King James” missed out early in the NBA Finals this 2023 season, the basketball league’s leading scorer in its history will take part in another momentous sports event as he is set to wave the French flag to start the prestigious endurance race meet on Saturday in France.
“It’s an honor for me to be part of this historic moment in motorsport and help celebrate the centenary of one of the biggest sporting events in the world,” James said in a statement.
“LeBron James is a true sporting legend whose list of achievements and records commands respect and admiration. We are looking forward to introducing him to the unique Le Mans atmosphere and the excitement generated by the Centenary of the world’s greatest endurance race,” said Pierre Fillon, Automobile Club de l’Ouest president.
The racing extravaganza will test the endurance of the drivers and the reliability of cars by running at high speeds at the Circuit de la Sarthe which spans 13.626 kilometers for 24 hours straight.
It is considered the cornerstone of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) sanctioned by the FIA. It is Round 4 of 7 of the WEC calendar this season.
Other events in the WEC include races in Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Fuji, Bahrain, and its newest addition in Portimao. These races vary in distances and will last from 6 hours at the shortest to 24 hours.
A total of 62 teams across three car classes including Hypercar, LM P2, and LM GTE AM, plus an innovative car will participate in the centenary edition of this legendary race.
Some Formula 1 former and current drivers take seats in this 186-strong roster of athletes including Antonio Giovinazzi and Pietro Fittipaldi, who are current reserve drivers for Ferrari and Haas, respectively, and 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button.