With the 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours looming on the horizon, Motorsport.com's panel of experts offer their opinion on what will unfold during the endurance race that everyone wants to win.
Charles Bradley - Editor-in-chief
Sam Smith - Special contributor
Jamie Klein - Editor, Motorsport.com UK
Valentin Khorounzhiy - News editor
Basile Davoine - Editor, Motorsport.com France
Benjamin Vinel - News editor, Motorsport.com France
Erwin Jaeggi - WEC reporter, Motorsport.com Netherlands
Filip Cleeren - News editor, Motorsport.com Netherlands
Guido Schittone, WEC reporter, Motorsport.com Italy
Who will take pole position?
CB: Porsche and Neel Jani. He's proved to be the most rapid Porsche driver more often than not, and holds the current pole lap record. I don't see anyone challenging the 919s for pole.
SS: Jani v Hartley should be a real treat, but I have a feeling that the ever-confident Kiwi will just sneak it! But I'm sure Messrs Lotterer and di Grassi will run the Porsches very close as well.
JK: Porsche have had a clear edge in qualifying this season and I expect that to translate to Le Mans, and I think Brendon Hartley will get the #1 919 Hybrid on pole.
VK: The #2 Porsche at the hands of Neel Jani. Porsche is still the quickest car over one lap and Jani is firmly among its speediest drivers. His Le Mans record lap last year was well clear of what anyone else managed, which makes him the favourite pretty much by default.
BD: Considering what we saw in the Test Day, Porsche undoubtedly are the favourites for pole position. Audi will be a threat, but qualifying is never its priority, and Toyota doesn't look to have the pace. I think Neel Jani can get a second consecutive pole.
BV: Brendon Hartley has been blindingly quick recently, so I think he could manage pole with the #1 Porsche, though the competition will be fierce.
EJ: When it comes down to outright pace, Porsche is still the one to beat. It will be a good fight between Timo Bernhard and Neel Jani, with the Swiss driver being the safest bet for pole.
FC: Porsche have been imperious in qualifying both at the 6 Hours of Spa and last year at Le Mans. The #2 car will grab pole with either Dumas or Jani.
GS: I'll back Lotterer and Audi for this one. It's a risk, but I suspect it will be raining in qualifying and in that case any surprise is possible.
VERDICT: Porsche is our near-unanimous choice to get the top spot, with Jani our pick for poleman.
What will the overall podium be?
CB: I think the #1 Porsche will prevail in the battle of the heavyweights, followed by the #7 Audi, and I reckon we'll see an LMP2 car on the overall podium. Step forward the #26 G-Drive Oreca.
SS: It might be close for the first 18 hours between Porsche and Audi, but the kilometres accrued by Porsche in testing and the known quantity of the 919 Hybrid should tell over the full 24 hours. The #1 needs maximum points to start WEC title recovery and I think they'll get them, ahead of the sister #2 car and the #7 Audi.
JK: I have a hunch it will be Audi that comes away with win number 14 under its belt this Sunday, and the #7 line-up can always be relied upon to get the job done. I'll plump for the #5 Toyota and the #8 Audi to round out the podium on a weekend for Porsche to forget.
VK: While there are serious question marks over reliability, at least one LMP1 should survive at a reasonably high pace – and I expect that to be the #7 Audi. For the other spots, it could be a kickstart to Porsche's #1 crew's title defense with a runner-up spot, whereas the very reliable Rebellion R-One sounds a decent outside shot for a podium – let's say with the more experienced #12 crew.
BD: It's always very hard to predict, especially this year with unpredictable weather and reliability being a major unknown. I'll go for a win by the #8 Audi from the #1 Porsche - and a Rebellion on the podium!
BV: It's likely to be amazingly tight and very tough for everyone. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few high-profile retirements. Let's go for a win for the #1 Porsche from the #5 Toyota and the #8 Audi.
EJ: This is a tough one. Based on what we saw in Silverstone and Spa, Porsche seems to have the most reliable car of the three LMP1 factory teams - giving them, of course, the best chance of the overall victory. So my guess for the top three is: Porsche #1, Porsche #2, and Audi #8.
FC: All three manufacturers seem bullish about reliability despite the problems that marred the last race at Spa. Therefore I’m predicting a victory for the world champions in the #1 Porsche, followed by the #7 Audi and the #5 Toyota.
GS: I'm going for the #2 Porsche from the #5 Toyota and the #12 Rebellion. Why no Audi on the podium? Because reliability is too important and at the moment Audi hasn't showed this. Porsche took risks before Le Mans, but here they'll be conservative. And when you have only two cars, this is the most important thing.
VERDICT: Porsche swings it over Audi 6-3, with the #1 car our choice. No votes for Toyota...
Who will take class honours in LMP2 and GTE?
CB: There's a lot of speed and experience in the lead G-Drive car, I think Ford will pull off the fairytale in GTE Pro with the #69 entry, and as long as Paul Dalla Lana is in top form, I think the #98 Aston Martin will triumph in GTE Am.
SS: In LMP2, the #26 G-Drive will just pip KCMG in what will be little more than an Oreca benefit. It's almost impossible to predict GTE Pro due to psychological warfare but I can see Corvette achieving back-to-back wins, perhaps this time with the #63 car after Jan Magnussen's crash last year. On a similar note, I'd love the #98 Aston Martin to win the Am class after Dalla Lana's heartbreak last year.
JK: It's hard to see past Oreca for the win in LMP2 unless the weather is terrible, and while the #26 G-Drive will be well in the mix, I fancy Thiriet by TDS to spring an upset. GTE Pro is nearly impossible to call, but I can see Ferrari wrestling back the crown and the #51 car is overdue some luck. As for GTE-Am, the KCMG Porsche is my pick.
VK: In LMP2, Orecas are expected to run amok, and the #26 G-Drive entry is looking like a plausible winner. If there's any justice in the world, the #51 Ferrari should take GTE Pro win. And, even with one of its regulars injured, the #50 Larbre Corvette looks in a good shape to top the Am class.
BD: The LMP2 battle should be absolutely crazy - G-Drive, Alpine and RGR Sport by Morand are serious contenders. But what about a surprise with a team like Thiriet by TDS Racing? In GTE Pro, I could see a win by a works Corvette, with an AF Corse-run Ferrari taking the honours in LMGTE Am.
BV: Signatech Alpine has done quite well in the first two rounds of the season, so they could win Le Mans, but this class is going to be tighter than ever, as Spa-Francorchamps showed. I'd expect AF Corse and Ferrari to have a slight edge in GTE Pro, so I'll go for the #71, while in GTE Am the #98 Aston Martin is always a safe bet.
EJ: It seems 2016 might be the year of the former Manor F1 drivers, with Alexander Rossi winning the Indy 500 and Will Stevens in with a decent chance of LMP2 victory with the #26 G-Drive car. In GTE Pro, Ford might have to settle for second or third with Corvette looking mighty strong again, while Ferrari will probably top a fierce GTE Am battle.
FC: LMP2 will be an absolute joy to watch. On paper the #26 G-Drive Oreca will be the combination to beat, but what a story it would be if Pipo Derani would continue his incredible winning streak in the ESM Ligier? In GTE Pro I expect a victory for the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, followed by the #92 factory Porsche, and in GTE Am the #98 Aston Martin will avenge last year’s heartbreak.
GS: It's hard to call LMP2, which has so many cars and drivers on the same level. If it's wet, perhaps the #43 RGR Morand Ligier can repeat its Silverstone win. Ferrari has the edge on pace in GTE Pro, but doubts remain over the reliability of its engine and turbo - so I'll go with Corvette, beating Ford. The #98 Aston Martin is a reliable bet for GTE Am.
VERDICT: The #26 G-Drive Oreca is our pick for LMP2, but we're evenly split 4-4 on Ferrari v Corvette in GTE Pro. The #98 Aston Martin is easily our GTE Am favourite.
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