Michael Fassbender gets behind the wheel as he begins Le Mans 24-hour race – and says he would rather win the gruelling contest than an Oscar
Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender is hitting the tarmac as he once again takes part in the famous 24-hour Le Mans race – 100 years after the event first began.
Fassbender will appear for German team Proton Competition in a Porsche 911, alongside Austrian Richard Lietz and Martin Rump of Estonia, and would prefer a racing win to winning an Oscar.
The 46-year-old German-Irish actor was a surprise contestant in last year’s race, placing 51st out of 62 teams, after a gruelling four years’ training.
Alicia Vikander, Michael’s wife, and their child, who was born in 2021, are likely to be in the stands watching, as the ‘little family’ travel ‘everywhere’ together.
Thousands of spectators lined the grid ahead of the race start at 3pm on Saturday and the X-Men star, whose love of racing is longstanding, will be hoping to place high than in last year’s race, where he crashed three times.
RACING DRIVER: Michael Fassbender during the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe in June 2023
Fassbender will appear for German team Proton Competition in a Porsche 911, alongside Austrian Richard Lietz and Martin Rump of Estonia
Michael in the Porsche 911 that he will drive during the 24-hour long race during qualifying rounds (pictured on June 7)
Thousands of spectators lined the grid ahead of Saturday’s 3pm start time for the 100 year of Le Mans
Drivers and pit crews prepare ahead of the start of the 2023 Le Mans race on the 100th anniversary of the first time the event took place
The actor previously told Eurosport that: ‘Acting is something that is my job. I’m more used to it and at home with it – it’s like my natural office, but racing was always my first dream as a young boy.
‘It’s kind of tricky. I feel like acting is definitely my home work. I feel most comfortable in it, but this is the original dream.’
The 12 Years A Slave actor added: ‘A victory in Le Mans, I would take over an Oscar.’
Speaking before the 2022 race, Fassbender betrayed no nerves, saying: ‘The thing with dreams is you don’t think about how much work you’ve invested or how many setbacks you’ve had to face. I not only learned what it takes to contest a race weekend but also how to be competitive.
‘It’s giving me a fascinating opportunity to show my full potential. It could be a one-off chance so I simply want to do my best.’
Michael visited Le Mans in 2018 and quickly took his first steps towards becoming a racing driver at the Porsche Driving Experience, the entry-level programme for motorsport enthusiasts.
The Patrouille de France fly overhead before the start of the 100th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans race
Michael Fassbender pictured with his pit crew during the 2023 Le Mans 24-hour race. He is driving a Porsche 911
The 12 Years A Slave actor added: ‘A victory in Le Mans, I would take over an Oscar’ (pictured during the free practice, June 7)
NBA basketball player LeBron James walks in the pitlane prior to the 2023 Le Mans race starting
LeBron James waves the French flag to start the race during the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Dancers perform on the grid ahead of the race start. The event begins at 3pm on Saturday and finished 24 hours later
The Macbeth actor went on to complete the Porsche Racing Experience, did a season in the Porsche Sports Cup Deutschland and had guest appearances in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the wheel of the 911 GT3 Cup.
During his racing career, Michael has competed in a total of 36 races – including the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup – where he has secured one win and reached the podium seven times.
He also launched a weekly YouTube series Road to Le Mans, which he began in 2019 and documented his epic journey to reach the French car race.
Fellow actor and Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, who helped Michael get into racing, at the 2023 Le Mans
The pack set off for the 2023 Le Mans 24-hour long marathon, where the goal is to travel the furthest distance over the time
The #08 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa in action at the start of the 2023 Le Mans
Racing driver Charles Leclerc waves to fans at the 2023 Le Mans 24-hour race
The race, which began in 1923, is the oldest endurance race in the world and sees competitors take to the track in Le Mans, France, to try and complete the furthest distance in the 24-hour time period.
During the race, no single driver can be in the car for more than 14 hours and competitors tend to take turns of between 45 minutes and four hours, to give their teammates chance to rest.
Wife and fellow actor Alicia has since avoided discussing their child publicly – or revealing their name or sex – but in an interview in April, the Oscar-winning star opened up about motherhood, stating she always puts her ‘little family’ first.
Michael Fassbender will appear for German team Proton Competition in a Porsche 911, alongside Austrian Richard Lietz and Martin Rump of Estonia
Happy couple: Actress Alicia Vikander arrives on the arm of supportive partner Michael Fassbender for the Firebrand screening at Cannes (May 21)
Driver: The X Men star shared the cockpit of the No. 93 Porsche 911 in the GTE-Am category with the Australian works driver Matt Campbell and Canadian Zacharie Robichon for the 2022 race
Impressive: He launched a weekly YouTube series Road to Le Mans, which he began in 2019 and documented his epic journey to compete in the Le Mans car race. Pictured: Michael before the start of the Grand prix at the Silverstone circuit in 2014
Racer: The German-Irish actor, 45, sported a green jumpsuit as he sped round the track in a Porsche vehicle and posed for snaps just days ahead of competing at the endurance-focused sports car race in June 2022
Petrolhead: Michael Fassbender appeared to be in excellent spirits as he got behind the wheel of a green sports car ahead of making his debut at the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 2022
She said: ‘In my little family, with my husband and my child, we travel together, always. That’s the rule. We do jobs so one of us can always be with the baby.’
The couple, who currently live together in Lisbon, Portugal, are known for being notoriously private and hadn’t previously spoken about whether they would have children together.
Michael and Alicia tied the knot in October 2017 – three years after they began dating, following meeting on set of The Light Between Oceans.
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