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The 24 hours of Le Mans

The 92nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race celebrating endurance and motorsport excellence, will occur on June 15 and 16. Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of this legendary event since 2001.

Published on June 4, 2024

The enduring legacy

Time is the one constant we all share, yet how we use our 24 hours each day holds the promise of tapping into the full spectrum of human potential. One of the most captivating demonstrations of making every second count is the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans motorsport race.

For nearly a century, this race has epitomized the pinnacle of efficiency, reliability, and endurance. Since its inception, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has stood as one of the most grueling challenges in motorsport, earning its place as one of the racing world's most revered events. The race takes place on the Circuit de la Sarthe in northwest France, where the 13.6-kilometer track uniquely combines public roads with the Mulsanne Straight, the longest uninterrupted stretch in major motorsport.

Le Mans is a rigorous test of both machine and driver. Vehicles must endure 24 hours of relentless racing, while drivers need to maintain peak alertness and concentration throughout. The race, marked by intense excitement and dramatic turns, is a testament to human and mechanical endurance. Victory is awarded to the car that covers the greatest distance within the time limit.

Long and proud history of epic racing

Created in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest and one of the most prestigious car races in the world. A stern test of the reliability of the machines as well as the physical and mental stamina of the drivers, Le Mans attracts some of the greatest names in motorsport. On the 8.4-mile (13.6 kilometers) Circuit de la Sarthe in northwest France, some 62 cars, each with a team of three drivers, race against each other, divided into two Prototypes and one GT Class. The winning team is the one that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours, some 3,293 miles (5,300 kilometers). Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of the race since 2001.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is not just a race but a living testament to the strides made in automotive innovation and mechanical excellence, making it an ideal partner for Rolex. As the official timepiece of the event since 2001, Rolex awards the Cosmograph Daytona, a watch inextricably linked to auto racing, to the winners of the top class.

The 24 hours of Le Mans - Le Mans 1951

Continuous innovation over the decades

Since its inaugural edition, the event has been an ideal testing ground for the many advances in motorsport technologies. The trialing of a new road surface in 1922 (still viable today), improvements to safety, engines, and aerodynamics, as well as, since 2022, the requirement for all cars to run on 100-percent renewable biofuel, are among the notable developments marking a century of progress supported by this race. New automotive manufacturers contesting the top class in 2024 include Alpine, BMW, and Lamborghini, emphasizing the importance and relevance of the event for the car industry.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans - Le Mans 2023

Tom Kristensen: ‘Mr Le Mans’

Tom Kristensen has truly earned his nickname. The most successful driver in the race's history, he won it a record nine times, starting with his debut in 1997. A Rolex Testimonee since 2010, the Danish driver was the FIA World Endurance champion in 2013. "You carry a win at Le Mans with you forever. I feel proud and humble reflecting on the race's legacy and Rolex's involvement with motorsport. Together, they are the perfect combination; both striving for excellence through persistence, technical innovation, and human endeavor."

Rolex's relationship with motorsport dates back to the 1930s and includes partnerships with legends like Sir Malcolm Campbell, Sir Jackie Stewart, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Jamie Chadwick, and Tom Kristensen. Rolex values these long-standing relationships with standout drivers, who become Testimonees and embody the brand's spirit and values.

“What a fantastic race,” says Kristensen. “There was a constant battle for first place, with the leader changing hourly and the difficult weather conditions providing additional entertainment. It’s this level of competition that really energizes the category. Endurance racing is in a golden era and it’s only going to get better. I look to the future with bright eyes and almost wish I could join them.“

Tom Kristensen: ‘Mr Le Mans’

The Cosmograph Daytona: a singular prize

The top-class winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans receive an Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, specially engraved for the occasion. A watch whose characteristic design has become iconic, the Cosmograph Daytona embodies Rolex's expertise. Equipped with a movement entirely designed and produced by the Rolex manufacture, it stands out by its chronometric precision and unfailing reliability.

In every lap and second, the 24 Hours of Le Mans continues to showcase the extraordinary capabilities of both man and machine, solidifying its place in the annals of motorsport history.

The 24 hours of Le Mans - Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
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