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2024 Le Mans 24 Hours: Fred and Mick Prepare for Race Debut

The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team Reserve Drivers are gearing themselves up to take on one of the world’s most famous motor races for the first time.

Fred Vesti and Mick Schumacher will be swapping single-seaters for endurance machines this weekend, getting stuck into the challenges of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Fred will drive for Cool Racing, with whom he competed in the European Le Mans (ELMS) series with, while Mick will race for Alpine as part of his World Endurance Championship (WEC) commitments with the French outfit.

Both drivers are raring to go.

“It is my first 24-hour race ever,” said Fred.

“I am really looking forward to driving at night, as a racing driver that is such a cool experience, with so much adrenaline. Any driver would enjoy that.

“It requires a different mindset to a Sprint race in F2 or an F1 race. The longest race I have ever done in a four-hour race in LMP2.

“There are a lot of things that need to go right to be a successful race.”

Mick added: “I am very excited to have that first experience of Le Mans. We are pretty set for it and ready to get going.

“This project has been what we have been focusing on, hopefully it is successful.”

Mick will be racing car No.36 in the Hypercar category, and Fred will get behind the wheel of car No.37 in the LMP2 class.

Having both cut their motorsport teeth in single-seater cars until this point, this season has seen Fred and Mick learn to adapt to new machinery.

“It is a completely different experience than driving an F1 car. The car is more of a GT car in the way it feels to drive,” said Mick.

“It has different challenges, but what is nice is you know it has been made with Le Mans in mind,” he added.

For 6ft-tall Fred, the closed cockpit has also provided a new challenge to get used to.

“It is a different experience, and I still bang my head on the roof sometimes,” he said. “It is a tight space and that will not be nice for 24 hours!

“The key when I get out of the car will be to rest and release the back.

“It is a fun, fast car to drive, not as quick as an F2 car, as it is a little heavier. It is similar to F2 in terms of engineering and downforce.”

The important reserve driver work Fred and Mick have carried out so far this season may not have seen them gain time behind the wheel of W15, but both have used their time in the garage to grow and develop off the track.

“Mercedes has helped me in so many different ways,” said Mick.

“The experience I have gained from being part of the team has helped me become a better racing driver. I am so grateful for the time we have spent together.”

Fred added: “Working with Mercedes in F1 has given me a lot of insight into car set-up and engineering.

“It also prepares you for working as a part of a big team, and approaching things as professionally as possible.

“It makes you a more well-rounded driver. If you can be adaptable and drive in different conditions with different cars, then that is a really good strength to have.

“All these things challenge you as a driver.”

Fred and Mick may not have raced at Le Mans before, but George Kurtz has. The CEO of Team partner Crowdstrike is back for a second successive year at the event, having triumphed in the LMP2 Pro-Am category in 2023.

George said: “We will bring a team powered by strength, experience and a tradition of winning to the CrowdStrike Racing by APR LMP2 entry, as we go for a second straight Pro-Am victory at Le Mans.”

It makes you a more well-rounded driver.

Fred

One absentee from the Le Mans grid this year will be Doriane Pin . Our F1 Academy junior driver had been due to race the 24 hours with her Iron Dames team but was forced to pull out of the event last week with broken ribs.

First run in 1923, the Le Mans 24 Hours has become one of the most famous and recognisable motor races in the world. Together with the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, it forms the Triple Crown of endurance racing.

This will be the 92nd running of the event, which takes place on a mix of permanent racetrack and public roads.

Almost 200 drivers (186 – three per team) will battle it out for victory across three categories: Hypercar, LMP2 and LMGT3. The winners are determined by the numbers of laps covered within the 24-hour period.

Drivers must complete a minimum of six hours each across the race but may not drive for more than four hours in a six-hour period. No driver can drive for more than 14 hours in total.

Stint lengths can be strategic, and typically last any time between 45 minutes and four hours.

Here’s everything you need to know about the schedule.

Weekend Schedule:

Thursday 13 June:

1400

Free Practice 3

1900

Hyperpole

2100

Free Practice 4

Saturday 15 June:

1100

Warm Up

1500

Race Start

Sunday 16 June:

1500

Race Finish

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