24 Hours of Le Mans puts drivers—and television viewers—to the test

United Autosports Le Mans 2018

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is auto racing’s greatest test of endurance on a paved track— so physically demanding, in fact, that most teams rotate three drivers. Think that’s impressive? There are actually television viewers out there who watch the race from start to finish. Now that takes stamina, as well as some very careful planning (don’t think about it too long).

Americans who believe they’re up to the 24 hour challenge can watch this year's race in its entirety on the Velocity channel. It hasn't always been that easy, of course. Once upon a time, fans missed large portions of the race that weren’t televised or were required to do some serious channel surfing to see the whole thing.

The 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans starts Saturday, June 16, at 9 a.m. (Eastern) and finishes—you guessed it—on Sunday, June 17, at 9 a.m. The race, part of the FIA World Endurance Championship, will be contested on the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.

The field of 60 cars is divided into four racing categories. The fastest and most technologically advanced cars compete in LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1), while the LMP2 class includes 20 cars powered by Gibson Tech V-8s. The GTE (Grand Touring Endurance) Pro class is made up of four Ford GTs, four Porsche 911 RSRs, three Ferrari 488 GTE EVOs, two Corvette C7.Rs, an Aston Martin Vantage AMR, and—in Bavarian Motor Works’ return to Le Mans—a BMW M8 GTE. The GTE Am class includes 13 privately-financed teams competing in Porsche 911 RSRs, Ferrari 488s, and Aston Martin Vantage GTEs.

Le Mans 2018 drivers
United Autosports

Sure, you could DVR the race, but this is your chance to show your motorsports mettle. Who needs sleep anyway?