The Le Mans 24 Hours is happening Saturday and besides the racing cars, star-gazers will get a tantalizing glimpse of Brad Pitt, Patrick Dempsey, Keanu Reeves, and Jackie Chan.
Officially Pitt is the main Hollywood representative at the race, as he will be the one who will be waving the start flag, but according to People Magazine, there is an unusually high quotient of celebs involved this year.
— GTPlanet (@GTPlanetNews) June 18, 2016
Back in May, the Inquisitr noted that Brad had turned down a guest feature in the U.K. auto show, Top Gear, in a vintage segment titled, “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car,” so they had to bring on Jesse Eisenberg and British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in his place.
However, it was reported that Pitt would definitely be involved in starting the prestigious and exciting Le Mans 24 Hours and this will be the first time a movie actor has been the honorary starter in the last 20 years. Reportedly the last film star to have the flag-waving honor was the French film idol, Alain Delon.
You can watch the beginning of the race in the video below including brief glimpses of Brad and Keanu Reeves:
It turns out, however, he is not the only famous Hollywood character starring at the Le Mans race track on Saturday.
— People Magazine (@people) June 17, 2016
Reportedly, the last time there was such a celebrity vibe at the race was back in the 1970s, when both Paul Newman and Steve McQueen drove the challenging, 24-hour race, an elite event that has been going for 110 years.
According to People Magazine, we can blame the former Grey’s Anatomy character, “McDreamy” for this.
Patrick Dempsey: “In Le Mans my biggest dream came true” https://t.co/s8hx5EdyGY
— @AyrtonTsuchiya (@Alex_A_Auto) June 18, 2016
Patrick Dempsey is well-known as a lover of motor racing and last year his team had a strong second-place finish, adding an unexpected burst of interest to the event. While he isn’t competing this year, he is involved as co-owner of the Dempsey Proton Racing team. It was for this reason that the track organizers decided to capitalize on the fact by naming Dempsey the Le Mans 24 Hours 2016 Ambassador.
In an interview with Motorsport.com, Patrick explained his excitement for motor racing and how it is a dream come true for him.
“It’s great to be involved in motorsports from a new perspective. Last year I made the decision to mainly focus on motorsports as a driver. I raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship – one of the biggest and most rewarding challenges in my life.”
“This year I am excited to support the team in my new role as a co-owner. Currently we are preparing for Silverstone and the team is doing a world class job. I will be present there for the first round of the season, as well as in Le Mans.”
However, Brad Pitt and Patrick Dempsey are not alone in the celebrity status at this year’s grueling race. Reportedly on Wednesday, Matrix star, Keanu Reeves flew from Switzerland to Paris and then headed over to Le Mans for the action. Reeves was reportedly invited by the French tire company Michelin and is hoping to use the weekend to introduce his Arch Motorcycle brand to French motorcyclists.
Hoy en Le Mans, Tom Kristensen, embajador-anfitrión de Aud, recibe al actor Keanu Reeves… pic.twitter.com/Bn5ClxBxwl
— Ricardo Delgado (@v8delgado) June 17, 2016
Tweet Translation: Today in Le Mans, Tom Kristensen, Ambassador Aud-host receives the actor Keanu Reeves.
Not to be outdone, another celebrity addition to the Le Mans 24 Hours is action hero and martial arts expert, Jackie Chan. He reportedly arrived on Friday and is participating as the part owner of a racing team.
It seems the martial arts movie actor has had his own, onscreen at least, racing credentials dating back to the 1984 film Cannonball Run 2. Chan was welcomed by Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the race with several photos posted on Facebook, captioned, “Welcome to the 24 hours of Le Mans Jackie Chan.”
“It’s a pleasure to share our #passion of l ‘#Endurance with you. #Lemans24.”
It will be interesting to note how many audience members will be paying more attention to the celebrities at the Le Mans 24 Hours than the actual race itself.
[Photo Keanu Reeves by Frazer Harrison, Patrick Dempsey by David Livingston, Brad Pitt by Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment]