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Nakajima Named Le Mans Grand Marshal; Mayer Honored

Kazuki Nakajima to serve as Grand Marshal at 24H Le Mans; Deborah Mayer receives Spirit of Le Mans award…

Photo: MPS Agency

The Automobile Club de L’Ouest has named Kazuki Nakajima as the Grand Marshal for the 92nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while Deborah Mayer has been awarded the Spirit of Le Mans award.

Nakajima, the current Vice-President of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, will lead the 62-car field on the formation lap ahead of this year’s edition of the French endurance classic.

He took part in the event ten times, all with Toyota, and became part of the Japanese manufacturer’s first winning lineup when he triumphed alongside Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso in 2018.

Two more wins followed in 2019 and 2020, making him the most successful Japanese driver in the history of the event.

Nakajima succeeds Tom Kristensen as Grand Marshal at the event after the Dane fulfilled the role last year. Other previous Grand Marshals at Le Mans include the likes of Derek Bell, Emanuele Pirro and Hurley Haywood.

Meanwhile, Iron Dames founder Deborah Mayer has been awarded the Spirit of Le Mans trophy, which is handed out to individuals that ’embody the values of endurance racing.’

Both through her involvement with the Iron Dames project, as well as during her tenure as President of the FIA Commission for Women in Motorsport, Mayer has been cited for her efforts to help improve the position of women in multiple forms of motorsport, including sports car racing.

“I am extremely honoured to welcome Deborah Mayer and Kazuki Nakajima,” said ACO president Pierre Fillon.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to these two people who have contributed so much to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and to motorsport. Together they exemplify perseverance, achievement and a passion for endurance.

“Kazuki Nakajima stands out as one of the rare drivers to have claimed three consecutive victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Meanwhile, Deborah Mayer has been at the forefront of a unique project with Iron Dames, sparking inspiration across the paddock and achieving remarkable success, culminating in Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting’s FIA World Endurance Championship win at the 8 Hours of Bahrain at the end of 2023.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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