Formula 1 drivers have never been strangers to Le Mans but amid the fanfare surrounding Fernando Alonso’s debut at the iconic 24 hour race it appears a number of former famous faces of Grand Prix racing have been pulled to the attraction.

Alonso is bidding to become the first active F1 driver to win at Le Mans since Nico Hulkenberg achieved the feat in 2015 and give him the second cornerstone in his bid for the Triple Crown.

But this year another driver on the Le Mans grid has the potential to complete his own Triple Crown with Juan Pablo Montoya taking on his rookie experience – but the odds on the Colombian taking the overall win look slim competing for LMP2 squad United Autosports Ligier.

Montoya and Alonso aren’t the only drivers who can secure additional parts to a Triple Crown charge with Jenson Button also making his debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe with LMP1 privateer contenders SMP Racing.

A total of 24 former or current F1 drivers are contesting the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours, which works out as over one in ten drivers in the paddock has Grand Prix racing experience.

Take a look over the biggest F1 names gracing Le Mans this year as well as some familiar faces.

Fernando Alonso

Perhaps one of the most hyped Le Mans debuts in history if judged by the amount of column inches and headlines surrounding the two-time F1 world champion’s exploits.

After securing an agreement between McLaren and Toyota to enable him to contest the full 2018-19 WEC super-season, Alonso has made it no secret his plan has one ultimate goal: to become a Le Mans winner to secure the second part of his Triple Crown attack.

Alonso will start this weekend as one of the two favourites driver squads for victory given Toyota’s sole representation as the LMP1 hybrid entry after the recent exit of Porsche and Audi.

Toyota’s own motivation for victory at Le Mans couldn’t be higher. The Japanese manufacturer has never tasted victory at the iconic endurance race after multiple near-misses including some cruel reliability issues and ‘you would not believe it’ bad luck. Therefore, Alonso winning as a rookie would be no major shock but the stars will have to align for Toyota – something the Spaniard hasn’t had the best track record with F1 team switches.

Bruno Senna

The family name needs no introduction to mark its heavy connection to F1, while Bruno Senna’s three-year stint in Grand Prix racing may not have hit any huge heights he’s still highly regarded as a big talent.

If Toyota are to suffer yet more Le Mans misery, the #1 Rebellion Racing line-up could provide it the team’s drivers are steeped in success at Circuit de la Sarthe. Senna’s record at Le Mans may not sparkle, five starts and a best result of sixth place in the GT Pro class in 2014, but his co-drivers more than make up for it.

Andre Lotterer, a one-time F1 race starter himself for Caterham in 2014, has tasted victory at Le Mans on three occasions in his Audi days while Neel Jani brings his own triumph from 2016 with Porsche.

Jenson Button

The second former F1 world champion on the Le Mans grid for 2018. Button, who is also making his debut at the prestigious endurance event, is set for his first appearance of the year for the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering squad alongside Vitaly Petrov (another F1 alumni) and Mikhail Aleshin.

The British driver, who is also contesting the Japanese Super GT series with Honda this year, adds an added quality to the Russian squad who face tough competition in the LMP1 class and had its 2018-19 season have a shaky start after a terrifying flip for Matevos Isaakyan in the sister SMP Racing car at last month’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

While Button hasn’t expressed a desire to launch a Triple Crown attack like Alonso, the 2009 F1 world champion is level with his former McLaren teammate on the path having also secured victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Paul di Resta

Yet another former F1 driver making his Le Mans debut this year, di Resta has added the event to an already packed 2018 schedule splitting his TV punditry duties for Sky Sports F1 with a DTM campaign for Mercedes.

The Scottish driver lines up alongside Filipe Albuquerque (fresh from winning the Daytona 24 in January) and Philip Hanson in the #22 United Autosports Ligier while the team’s biggest task could be reigning in LMP2 rival manufacturer Oreca’s relative domination from recent years.

Jean-Eric Vergne

The charismatic Frenchman made his Le Mans debut 12 months ago, a respectable sixth place finish in the LMP2 class, and returns with a very intensive few weeks ahead.

After retaining his championship lead in Formula E last weekend despite a difficult Zurich race, Vergne quickly turns his attention to endurance racing with the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca who hold a proven pedigree as a team having taken two class podiums in the past three years.

Vergne is expected to lead the G-Drive attack as its top-rated driver alongside two silver drivers Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov.

His F1 career may have ended back in 2014 but the 28-year-old has enjoyed an impressive career in WEC and Formula E. After Le Mans he’ll bid to secure his maiden Formula E title in New York next month.

Pastor Maldonado

After two years in motorsport wilderness, described only as a Pirelli F1 test driver, Pastor Maldonado is looking to reignite his racing career in the World Endurance Championship with LMP2 outfit DragonSpeed Oreca. The former F1 Grand Prix winner enjoyed a solid start with fifth place at the super-season opener at Spa last month and will be looking to lean upon experienced co-driver Nathanel Berthon to quickly adapt to endurance racing.

The Venezuelan driver will go into this weekend without expectations and despite carrying a mixed F1 career profile he should be able to continue his fresh start with a strong performance at Le Mans.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya may have left the F1 circus 12 years ago for IndyCar but his talent and calibre remains incredibly high. The three-times Indianapolis 500 winner and one-time F1 Monaco Grand Prix winner has an outside shot at becoming just the second driver in history after Graham Hill to take the Triple Crown with his Le Mans debut this weekend.

Admittedly, Montoya’s chances of securing the Triple Crown at his first attempt at Le Mans looks unlikely with the #32 United Autosports Ligier but considering how close Jackie Chan DC Racing came to winning last year nothing can be completely ruled out.

Despite the Columbian driver’s extensive experience and career his team’s combined greenness at Le Mans could be a pivotal factor. While Montoya makes maiden Circuit de la Sarthe outing this weekend co-drivers Williams Owens and Huge de Sadeleer enjoyed their rookie appearances at this event last year for United Autosports.

Jan Magnussen

The Danish driver might have to rewind the clock 20 years but he can claim a strong F1 pedigree with 25 GP starts to his name between 1995-1998 while his son Kevin is on the current grid with the Haas F1 team.

A long-time Corvette server, Magnussen is gearing up for his 19th Le Mans start, having missed the 2015 race after a heavy crash in qualifying, but the 44-year-old has tasted victory in the GT class on four different occasions (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009) while more recently Corvette took a clean sweep of IMSA titles last year.

Giancarlo Fisichella

The F1 trail stretches into the GTE AM class with Giancarlo Fisichella who enjoyed a 13-year career in Grand Prix racing before entering the sportscar world.

The Italian driver is a two-time GTE Pro class winner at Le Mans with Ferrari, in 2012 and 2014, and will lead the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari charge alongside Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci while the team will be looking to go one better on last year after finishing runner-up in the class.

Olivier Beretta

Olivier Beretta may have recently lost the outright title as the most famous F1 driver from Monaco to rising star Charles Leclerc, the 48-year-old made just nine starts at GP level, but he has achieved extensive success at Le Mans over the past two decades.

Beretta is scheduled for his 23rd Le Mans start this weekend and will lead his rookie co-drivers Edward Cheever III and Motoaki Ishikawa for the #70 MR Racing Ferrari squad in GTE Am aiming to add to his six previous class wins at the Circuit de la Sarthe.