Ferrari chairman John Elkann has been named the honorary starter for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Elkann will wave the tri-colour flag at 4 p.m. on Sat. Aug. 21 to get the French endurance classic underway.
The appointment comes in the wake of the Italian manufacturer’s Le Mans Hypercar commitment beginning with the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
It is already represented in the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am ranks with numerous Ferrari 488 GTE Evos, including two factory-backed AF Corse entries.
“Given the all-round jubilation witnessed when Ferrari announced its return, it is particularly fitting that he should start the race,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.
“Having manufacturers as prestigious as Ferrari join the Hypercar class signals a glittering future for endurance racing.
“I’m extremely honored that John Elkann will be starting the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year as we welcome fans back to the circuit.”
New York-born Elkann said it’s an “exceptional privilege” and one that will be “filled with emotion” to be given the honor.
“Le Mans is much more than a challenge of mechanical endurance,” he said. “It is a unique space in time that recalls some of the greatest racing rivalries of the past, and creates new tales and legends every year it is run.
“Ferrari’s history, that also binds us to these 24 hours, is one of passion, excitement and success at Le Mans that began in 1949. But above all, it is a story of innovation, technological daring and dramatic sporting challenge at the very highest level.
“All of which also explains our recent decision to bring Ferrari back to the Hypercar class and to Le Mans in 2023.
“This year’s eagerly awaited race welcomes back the fans whose presence is so fundamental to its magic. I would like to thank the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for its incredible work and of course for this exceptional privilege of starting the 24 hours of 2021.”