Elkann will wave the French flag ahead of the famous endurance race on August 21 at 4pm.

At the end of February, Ferrari announced it would be ending its 50-year absence from the top flight of sportscar racing in 2023.

The Italian marquee has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on nine occasions, last winning in 1965.

Elkann described the news “a truly exceptional privilege and one filled with emotion for me”.

“To wave the flag that starts the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world’s iconic motor races, is a truly exceptional privilege and one filled with emotion for me,” Elkann said. “Le Mans is much more than a challenge of mechanical endurance. It is a unique space in time that recalls some of the greatest racing rivalries of the past, and creates new tales and legends every year it is run. 

“Ferrari’s history, that also binds us to these 24 hours, is one of passion, excitement and success at Le Mans that began in 1949.  But above all, it is a story of innovation, technological daring and dramatic sporting challenge at the very highest level. All of which also explains our recent decision to bring Ferrari back to the Hypercar class and to Le Mans in 2023. 

“This year’s eagerly awaited race welcomes back the fans whose presence is so fundamental to its magic. I would like to thank the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for its incredible work and of course for this exceptional privilege of starting the 24 hours of 2021.”

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, added: “I’d like to thank John Elkann for his commitment to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Given the all-round jubilation witnessed when Ferrari announced its return, it is particularly fitting that he should start the race. 

“Having manufacturers as prestigious as Ferrari join the Hypercar class signals a glittering future for endurance racing. I’m extremely honoured that John Elkann will be starting the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year as we welcome fans back to the circuit.”