The 24 Hours Of Le Mans

Rolex and motorsport

The 24 Hours Of Le Mans

Everyone on the planet has the same 24 hours in a day. We all start with the same blank canvas, and what is made of time reveals all of our human strengths and weaknesses. One of the most breathtaking examples of making the most of a day is the 24 Hours of Le Mans motorsport race.

For the past 100 years, drivers have demonstrated their excellence by exhibiting best-in-class efficiency, reliability, and endurance racing over 24 hours. Le Mans is one of the sport’s most demanding races – and one of the racing world’s most venerated events.

Cars must withstand the rigors of racing for 24 hours, while the drivers must stay alert and focused for the same amount of time. A race full of excitement and drama testing limits, it is an unforgettable test of the endurance of man and machine. The race is won by the car that travels the greatest distance in the allotted time.

The stuff of legends, the race represents the progress made in automotive innovations through creative mechanical excellence, a perfect match for Swiss watchmaker Rolex. As the official timepiece of the event since 2001, Rolex has provided the Cosmograph Daytona, a watch equally linked to auto racing, as a prize to the top class of winners.

The centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race that celebrates endurance and motor sport excellence, takes places on 10 and 11 June. Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of this legendary event since 2001.

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A century of legendary 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 motor sport. On the 13.6-kilometre (8.4 miles) Circuit de la Sarthe in north-west France, some 62 cars, each with teams of three drivers, race against each other, divided into two Prototype and one GT Class. The winning team is the one which covers the greatest distance in 24 hours, some 5,300 kilometres (3,293 miles). Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of the race since 2001.

100 years of innovation

Since its inaugural edition, the mythical event has been an ideal testing ground for the many advances in motor sport technologies. The trialling 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 per cent renewable biofuel, are among the notable developments marking a century of progress supported by this legendary endurance race.

Tom Kristensen: ‘Mr Le Mans’

Tom Kristensen has well earned his nickname. The most successful driver in the legendary race’s history, he won it a record nine times, starting with his debut in 1997. A Rolex Testimonee since 2010, the Danish racing driver was FIA World Endurance Champion in 2013 and, a decade later, is the ambassador of the 24 Hours of Le Mans centenary. “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 motor sport. Together they are the perfect combination; both striving for excellence through persistence, technical innovation and human endeavour.”

The Cosmograph Daytona: a singular prize

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

To celebrate Le Mans’ 100th anniversary, Rolex has created a special edition of the legendary Cosmograph Daytona. Crafted of 18-carat white gold, the chronograph features a Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic, with a red "100" indicated on the tachymetric scale to denote this year's anniversary. Inspired by dials from the past, white counters stand out against a sharp black dial. A sapphire crystal caseback reveals the exclusive movement, calibre 4132, which allows the chronograph to be counted for 24 hours instead of the usual 12. Like the most innovative hypercars, the movement incorporates the latest mechanical technology, with Superlative Chronometer certification, ensuring exceptional reliability, accuracy, and performance.

Rolex has maintained close links to motorsports from the 1930s through today, working with legendary drivers like Sir Malcolm Campbell, Sir Jackie Stewart, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Jamie Chadwick, and Tom Kristensen, aka 'Mr.Le Mans’. Amongst all the incredible drivers at Le Mans, Rolex looks to the leaders and standouts to develop relationships that have become longstanding Testimonies that become faces and family to Rolex.

"For me, this year is all about the 24 Hours of Le Mans; there is so much anticipation as we build to this momentous event," says Le Mans legend and Rolex Testimonee Kristensen. "Being the official ambassador is a big responsibility and an honor. I'm proud to celebrate the legacy of the 24 Hours of Le Mans over the past 100 years and to reflect on the many evolutions and revolutions, while looking forward to next week's race. For a racing driver, Rolex and Le Mans are the perfect match. Both have an extraordinary heritage, built and forged over a century."

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