|This photo has no real relevance to the text below other than to say that Le Mans has a disappointing lack of K-Cars.|
We here at The Rusty Hub love low-buck endurance racing. We love the camaraderie, the triumphs, the defeats, the creativity, the garage ingenuity and the blat of unmuffled hooptie exhaust.
The racing usually isn't too bad either.
But we also love the glitz and glamour of crapcan's professional pregenitures, not least of all the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has been the full-day playground of so many of the world's greatest drivers and greatest manufacturers.
Our initial plans called for an irrelevant and irreverent rundown of the competitors at Le Mans (with awful, hastily handsketched illustrations), but we soon realized how comprehensive that task is. So we'll instead point out some recommended reading and handy reference items for this upcoming weekend's 90th anniversary running of the event.
The full 24 Hours of Le Mans Schedule - Yes, it's on Wikipedia and it's easier to find than sorting through the Le Mans site for it. The times are all local to Le Mans; subtract 6 hours to get Eastern Standard Times. So the race starts at 9 a.m. EST on Saturday.
24 Hours of Le Mans official site - Probably a good first reference
Class Descriptions - Helpful for newcomers to the World Endurance Championship (WEC), American Le Mans Series and, of course, the 24 Hours of Le Man.
Official Live Timing - Real-time updates on the standings once the race begins. Also active for practice and qualifying sessions.
Official Entry List - It's generally useful to know who is in the race. Of note: LMP2, not long ago with a dwindling entry list, is the largest class at the 2013 race with 22 entries.
WEC/Le Mans Spotter Guide - Andy Blackmore makes a hell of a spotter guide, which is available in two different-sized PDFs and as a JPG. This is our first reference and will always be open in a tab during the race. The guide also contains a very good circuit map and Twitter accounts for all teams so you can follow updates on Twitter.
SPEED TV and Speed.com - Coverage is on SPEED for the race's entirety with 2-1/2 hours of web-only coverage.
Saturday, June 22
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. on SPEED TV
2 p.m. – 4 p.m. on SPEED.com
4 p.m. – 7 p.m. on SPEED TV
7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on SPEED.com
7:30 p.m. – Midnight on SPEED TV
Sunday, June 23
Midnight – 9:30 a.m. on SPEED TV
Le Mans TV - Streaming broadcast. Was in French last year with some English translation.
Radio Le Mans - Audio-only coverage from the stellar RLM broadcast team, headed up by the inimitable John Hindhaugh. They'll broadcast everything from scrutineering to test sessions, all of which is archived for posterity. Race day recommendation: If you have the bandwidth, turn on a video stream, turn off its audio and listen to Hindhaugh and company talk you through the race.
Mike Frison's Social Media Guide - Links to teams' and drivers' Facebook and Twitter pages so you can follow along on social media. Exhaustive and fantastic.
SPEED.com previews - Sportscar writer John Dagys previews the class races pretty soundly: GTE-AM, GTE-PRO, LMP2, LMP1 (not published yet, but it will be found here when it's posted)
Radio Le Mans previews - John Hindhaugh talks with Graham Goodwin of DailySportscar.com and covers lots of ground in their discussions of the classes: GTE-AM, GTE-PRO, LMP2, LMP1
Daily Sportscar Le Mans Guide - With Andy Blackmore's illustrations and a few words on what to expect from every single car and almost all of the drivers. Covers a lot of the ground as the RLM previews but has pretty pictures.
Paul Truswell's LMP1 fuel-strategy analysis - Sportscar writer and fantastic numbers-cruncher Truswell looks at the new fuel-tank regulations and what kind of race that should create. Fascinating read if the strategic aspect of sportscar racing is a major draw to you. SPOILER: Truswell thinks the strategy should play out in a very close race between Audi and Toyota.
Paul Truswell's three-part recap of Le Mans Test Day on DailySportscar.com - LMP1, LMP2, GTE-AM and GTE-PRO
Racecar Engineering's '10 Cars You Won't See at Le Mans' - Some great-looking cars are absent, particularly the Dome and Pescarolo LMPs.
Who do you think will win the race? In each of the classes?
Here are our completely unqualified picks, which may or may not represent our favorite cars in each class:
LMP1/Overall: #1 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro (Treluyer, Lotterer, Faessler)
LMP2: #35 Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan (Baguette, Gonzalez, Plowman)
GTE-PRO: #91 Porsche AG Team Manthey (Bergmeister, Pilet, Bernhard)
GTE-AM: #50 Larbre Competition Corvette (Bornhauser, Canal, Ricky Taylor)