Zinedine Zidane opens the WEC highlight at the Sarthe

Zinedine Zidane will open the race as the official starter at the 92nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2024. The tradition of celebrity starters continues.

Florian Niedermair

Florian Niedermair

Formula 1 & Motorsport Department

Italian on paper, Austrian at heart. Most of his time is spent on Formula 1, but he also enjoys taking part in other racing series.MORE

Start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Zinedine Zidane will give the starting signal in 2024, Photo: LAT Images
Start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Zinedine Zidane will give the starting signal in 2024, Photo: LAT Images

The 92nd edition of the The 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place in just over two weeks, from June 8th to 9th. A tradition of the prestigious race on the Sarthe is that a celebrity waves the starting flag to open the race on Saturday. After basketball star LeBron James was given this honor last year, in 2024 the choice will fall on a national sporting hero of France.

None other than Zinedine Zidane will wave the French flag at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Zidane was one of the greatest football players of the ‘Grande Nation’ and won World and European Championships with France, as well as Champions League titles with Real Madrid. He also won the most important European club competition as a coach with the ‘Royals’.

Zinedine Zidane opens the 24-hour race in Le Mans

Zidane has had contact with motorsport in the past. For years he has regularly appeared as an ambassador for the Alpine (formerly Renault) Formula 1 team. For example, he was present at the presentation of the A523 ahead of the 2023 F1 season in London. Zidane has also been a guest at Formula 1 several times, most recently at the Miami GP this season.

In addition to LeBron James last year, stars such as Rafael Nadal, Brad Pitt and Steve McQueen have also started in the 24-hour race. Zidane commented on his task with the words: “The 24 Hours of Le Mans is unique. It is a mythical race for everyone who loves motorsport, all over the world. I have many images in my head when I think of this race. Of legendary drivers, incredible stories, but also of me sitting in front of my television or watching movies.”

Football legend Zinedine Zidane presents winner Max Verstappen (Red Bull) with the Sprint Race Trophy in the Parc Ferme
Zidane hands over the winner’s trophy to Max Verstappen at the F1 sprint in Miami, Photo: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

ACO President Pierre Fillon said: “Zinedine Zidane is an icon. A brilliant sportsman who has left his mark on generations of fans. In this historic year for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which features an exceptional field, we couldn’t have asked for a better starter.”

This year, the top class in Le Mans is stronger than ever before. A total of 23 prototypes are battling for overall victory in the Hypercar class. Eight of these cars are built according to the LMH regulations, and 15 are LMDh prototypes. A total of 62 racing cars are taking part in the most prestigious endurance race in the world.

© Motorsport Magazine


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