Mark Webber believes Fabien Barthez’s participation in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans race is an indicator of the event’s increased profile.
World Cup and Champions League-winning goalkeeper Barthez will compete against ex-Formula 1 driver Webber in the famed endurance race at the Circuit de la Sarthe in June.
While Webber will be competing for Porsche – who go into the race in search of an 18th victory – Barthez is to drive for the Panis-Barthez Competition team he has formed with another ex-F1 driver in Olivier Panis.
And Webber feels that the presence of Barthez, six-time Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Hoy and a host of other F1 competitors at Le Mans shows the strength of the event.
“It’s good, it’s a big race, it’s very, very popular, there’s more and more profile coming to the race,” Webber told Omnisport.
“We saw last year obviously with Nico Hulkenberg coming across and other Formula One drivers looking at the race in the future, so it’s a big event, a strong race and of course one of the biggest car races in the world.”
Webber will be searching for his maiden win at Le Mans having finished second in 2015.
“It’s going to be an interesting race obviously,” he added. “Toyota have really, really geared their car up around competing strongly so they’ve got high top speeds on the short tracks so they’ll be very strong there, Audi as well you can never discount them.
“But Porsche we have the most wins out of any manufacturer, we want to go from 17 victories to 18 victories at the race there this year.”
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