Rolex And Endurance
The road to the 24 hours of Le Mans
Sixty cars lined up on the grid before the French Tricolour flag dropped to mark the start of the 85th edition of this prestigious event at Circuit de la Sarthe, and the third round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. As the Rolex clock begins its 24-hour countdown, the drivers and cars will embark on their quest to conquer one of the ultimate tests of human and technical performance. The 2017 running of Le Mans will be particularly special for Rolex Testimonee and legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen, who this year proudly celebrates the twentieth anniversary of his first ever victory at Circuit de la Sarthe. This significant win marked the start of a successful racing career as the Dane went on to win eight more times at Le Mans, a feat unmatched by any other driver in the race’s lengthy history.
Ahead of this year’s race, Tom Kristensen said: “It does not feel like twenty years ago since my debut win – in some ways it feels like it was only yesterday. When I reflect on my record of wins, at what many consider to be one of the greatest races in the world, with the different cars, teams and teammates during all
those years, it makes me feel incredibly proud – it was the best journey of my life.”
Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2001, reflecting the brand’s long-term commitment to motor sport at the highest level and passion for pushing the boundaries of excellence and innovation. Rolex Testimonee, multiple Formula 1 Grand Prix winner and 2015 FIA World Endurance Champion, Mark Webber, the Grand Marshal for this year’s race, drove the pace car during the formation lap and pulled off the track as the race started. “It is a great honour for me to be Grand Marshal at this unique and incredible circuit – starting the race will be an incredibly exciting experience. Having raced at Circuit de la Sarthe I know first-hand how the drivers and teams will be feeling as they prepare for the long and exhausting 24 hours; to finish, and have a shot at victory, the race demands a difficult combination of speed and reliability,” Mark Webber said before the event.
In line with its passion for speed and drive to push back the boundaries of what is possible, Rolex partners the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as the three world-class endurance events that have come to form the Triple Crown of endurance racing: the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Engine speed and reliability, along with team and driver stamina are magnified during these challenging races, which require unique concentration, skill and mental strength.