24 Hours of Le Mans legend Jacky Ickx has been named as the Grand Marshal for the 86th edition of the French endurance classic next month.
The six-time overall winner and former grand prix star will lead the grid on its formation lap around the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe ahead of the FIA World Endurance Championship centerpiece.
Ickx is the second most successful driver in Le Mans history, behind only Tom Kristensen, with half a dozen victories and three second-place finishes in 15 appearances.
The 73-year-old Belgian is also known for being a two-time World Endurance champion, and winner of the Dakar Rally in 1983.
“Everyone knows that Jacky Ickx is a great driver and a great man, and he will surely make a great Grand Marshal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018,” said ACO president Pierre Fillon.
“The 60-car field will be following in illustrious footsteps. With Jackie leading the way, the race can only be a success.
“We are particularly proud that he has accepted the role. He is a father-figure in the endurance racing community.”
Ickx claimed his first Le Mans victory in 1969, driving a Ford GT40 with Britain’s Jackie Oliver.
He then registered back-to-back wins between 1975-77, the second of which came during his first year as a Porsche factory driver.
Ickx’s final triumph in 1982 with Derek Bell marked the first victory for the Porsche 956 Group C machine at Le Mans.
“I’m delighted to be able to take part in the event,” said Ickx.
“Le Mans has always been kind to me. I’ve had many good times here, as a driver. I’ve also been race director and have been race starter too. This year, I shall be Grand Marshal.
“This race has always held something special to me, as a driver and as a person.
“It brings out the fundamental elements of driving. It’s about sharing, daring, focusing, friendship and fans. It’s intense and it’s extraordinary.”