It’s a unique year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2023, the introduction of the LMDh class means that the race is expected to be the most competitive since at least the peak Group C days of the 1980s. Even next year, it will be an all-out battle between Toyota and early Hypercar entrant Peugeot. But, in 2021, Toyota is the only factory racing program in the entire top level of sports car racing, their only opponents a grandfathered LMP1 car bought by Renault’s Alpine division and a planned custom-built Hypercar contested by boutique manufacturer Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus. In other words, anything but a Le Mans win would be a genuine shock.
It would also be a disaster for the ACO, the group that organizes the 24 hour classic. Every Le Mans win since 1976 has been claimed by a major manufacturer, and a road car manufacturer of some sort has won all but four of the 88 runnings. That is an unrivaled run, and the most significant reason that Le Mans remains the biggest racing prize in the world for car manufacturers. For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.