An Idiot's Guide to Watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Here are some helpful tips to get you through the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER—AFP/Getty Images

So you've decided to watch the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All of it. From start to finish. It's a big undertaking. It'll be your own personal endurance race against a sleep deprived caffeine-induced vegetative state. This isn't something you can wake up on Saturday morning and just jump right into. If you want to make it through all 24 hours, there is work to be done. These tips will help get you through the race without too many problems. 

First, you need to figure out how you are going to watch the race. The race starts at 9 a.m. EST on Saturday, with broadcast coverage starting by 8:30 a.m. Here is in the United States, you have three options. 

  • Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 will carry all but three hours (hours 2, 3, and 4) of the race on TV.
  • Fox Sports Go (app and website) will show the entire race.
  • FIA WEC (app and website) will show the entire race, with extras like live timing and scoring.

The Fox Sports GO app/website will require you to sign in with your television/cable provider account credentials. If you don't know the email/username and password you use to log-in to your provider's website, it's time to figure it out.   

The FIA WEC 24 Hours of Le Mans app/website is for your smartphone or tablet. You can buy the Le Mans race pack for $9.99. You get the live stream, live timing and scoring, all sorts of other stuff, and no commercials.

If you are going the app/website route, make sure you have a way to connect your streaming device to your television and a power supply at the same time. 

Now that you've figured out how to watch the race, here's the important stuff. 

Tell your family that you love them and be sure to kiss them goodbye. Once the race starts, you are off-duty. Explain in the nicest way possible that unless the house is on fire, you are not to be bothered. That being said, don't be a total jerk. On Friday night, do a little extra work around the house. Mow the yard, change the cat litter, clean the kitchen, or whatever else needs to be done so your better half isn't stuck doing everything over the weekend.

During the race, you will still need to eat, but you aren't going to have time to cook. Hit up the grocery store on Friday. You'll need provisions. Skip the party platter of fried wings and blue cheese, that won't do you any favors over the 24 hours of the race. Get some non-junk food snacks and some healthy-ish quick meals. This isn't a five-hour Super Bowl party. You need to last 24 hours. 

Over the course of staying awake for 24 hours, caffeine is your best friend and worst enemy. Try to go as long as you can before you starting shotgunning Rockstars or Red Bulls. Too much too early and you'll never last the full 24 hours. Same goes for booze. If you start doing shots every time a driver says "on the limit" in an interview, you'll be face down in a pool of vomit before the halfway point. Don't be that person, especially if you are watching the race with other people.

On Friday night, get a good night's sleep. You'll need it. 

On Saturday morning get up a few hours before the race. Take a shower. Drink some coffee and eat breakfast. Do your best Kimi Raikkonen impersonation. Make sure all of you stuff is plugged in and ready to watch the race. Don't forget to print out your Spotter Guide

You'll want and need to take a few breaks from the race. If there is a long yellow or red flag, especially in the last half of the race, take the time to get away from the TV for a few minutes. Take the dog for a walk around the block. Take another shower to freshen up. Seriously, a shower at around hour 18 does more for you than a cup of coffee. Maybe do another Kimi impersonation. 

Over the course of the race, the internet can be a wonderful source of information to help you keep up with all the action on track. Plus, doing something besides just watching the race for 24 hours will help you stay awake and engaged. The Drive will have a crackpot team of writers covering the 24 Hours of Le Mans from start to finish. Be sure to check in with us as we live blog the race here on the site. We'll be here for the full 24, taking questions, providing race updates, and keeping you entertained.