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US star to fire starting gun on 100th Le Mans 24-hour race

LeBron James will join list of celebrity ‘starters’ who signal the beginning of famous endurance event

The race’s 100th anniversary will see the popular sports figure give drivers the starting signal Pic: Tinseltown / olrat / Shutterstock

US basketball star LeBron James is set to fire the starting gun on the Le Mans 24-hour race in its centennial year. 

The race, which starts on Saturday (June 10) at 16:00, will kick off with a signal from the American, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers team. 

“LeBron James is a true sporting legend, with an impressive list of achievements and records. We look forward to introducing him to the unique atmosphere,” said Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) which organises the race. 

LeBron himself said he was “honoured” to participate “in the historic moment” of the race’s 100th anniversary.

Continuing celebrity traditions of race

Since 1949, a celebrity has usually been given the honour of starting the race. 

Some famous ‘starters’ include actors (Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt, and Alain Delon), politicians (Georges Pompidou, during his presidential reign), and even other sports stars (Rafael Nadal). 

"I can't wait to give the start to this iconic race and see world-class drivers compete on the iconic Le Mans track,” said Mr James. 

Toyota are defending their crown in the competition, having won the last five events on the trot (their only five victories in the competition.) 

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