Zinedine Zidane will give the starting signal for the Le Mans 24 Hours. LE MANS on X

French football legend Zinedine Zidane will give the official starting signal for the 92nd edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours on 15 June at 16:00 French time, the organisers of the world's most prestigious endurance race have announced.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an annual endurance race held in June at the Circuit de la Sarthe near Le Mans, France. This year, the race will feature French football legend Zinedine Zidane, star of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, which France hosted and won for the first time.

"Zinedine Zidane, considered one of France's greatest sportsmen and one of the best footballers in the history of the game, has been named the official starter of the 92nd Le Mans 24 Hours," said the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) in a statement.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup runner-up, who lost to Italy 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time, joins a prestigious list of guests who have kicked off the endurance race, including Spain's Rafael Nadal in 2018, Steve McQueen in 1971 and LeBron James last year.

"The 24 Hours of Le Mans is unique. It's an iconic race for everyone who loves motorsport, for people all over the world," said the son of Algerian parents, born 51 years ago in La Castellane, Marseille, France.

"It is a source of immense pride for France. My mind is filled with images of the race, the legendary riders, the incredible stories... even if they are images from television or film scenes".

"Being there will be a new experience for me and, as you would expect, I'm extremely honoured," added the former player for Juventus in Italy and Real Madrid in Spain, among other top European clubs.

ACO president Pierre Fillon described Zidane as "an icon, a sportsman whose talent has inspired generations of fans", before adding: "We couldn't have hoped for a more prestigious starter.

The 24-hour race will start on 15 June at 16:00 and finish the following day at the same time. It will take place in the north-west of Le Mans and will be contested by 62 cars. This year will also be special thanks to the return of some renowned manufacturers in the Hypercar class: Alpine, BMW, Cadillac, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Peugeot, Porsche and Toyota.

Throughout history, there have been 91 editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first took place in 1923 with a total of over 30 cars entered.

The most recent edition took place in 2023 and was won by Ferrari (after a 58-year drought) with the trio of Italians Antonio Giovinazzi and Alessandro Pier Guidi and Briton James Calado, beating Toyota (winner for the previous 5 years)