The relationship between Formula 1 drivers and Le Mans is long and complicated. Taken purely from the perspective of those two entities, it’s a story of star-crossed lovers through decades. A glorious and heroic tail tainted by tragedy and heartbreak.

There was a time between the 1950s and ’60s when the big factory team programmes spanned all disciplines. The recognised aces of their time would slot into whichever car or category needed them to inject fearless, barely contained velocity. The very best drivers in the world, indeed often world champions, weren’t just drawn to the majesty of this perennial, unrelenting contest of speed endurance, they were required.

By the late 70s, that trend had faded as F1’s biggest stars began to focus solely on the individualistic nature of their craft, and the top teams introduced prohibitive contracts to protect their precious talent from the often lethal business of racing through the night at 220mph.

So, through the 1980s, Le Mans became the domain of those seeking to make a name, or those who had already done so but still wanted to compete at a prestigiously high level.

But throughout the decades, there has always been another kind of F1 driver that never stopped calling on La Sarthe… specifically, the under-rated, lesser stars. Those guys have not achieved the reward their talent deserves in F1 and are thus not yet tied to it exclusively.