Held annually since 1923 in France, the prestigious automobile race began behind a Safety Car, as heavy rain fell as the cars were lining up on the grid. To acclimate themselves to the falling water, drivers were allowed to take a few laps around the 8.5-mile woodland track before Pitt threw the green flag.
Rain has been a problem in the week leading up to Saturday’s running. Thursday’s qualifying 3 was interrupted mid-race due to the adverse driving conditions.
Despite the weather, the stars shined on the event, which is often called the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency.”
Devoted racer Patrick Dempsey was there, serving as the prestigious race’s 2016 Ambassador.
Last year, Dempsey’s team had a strong second-place finish in the race, giving the event an unanticipated burst of star-power.
Pitt and Dempsey weren’t the only celebs in attendance. Chinese action hero Jackie Chan joined them, after rolling in on Friday. Chan, whose own onscreen racing credentials go as far back as 1984’s Cannonball Run 2, is part owner of the BAXI DC Racing team.
Keanu Reeves was also in on the action, flying into Paris on Wednesday from Switzerland. Reeves, who was invited by French tire giant Michelin, used the track this weekend to introduce his Arch Motorcycle brand to French riders. British action star Jason Statham was also at the event.
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There was one other star at the track – the Bugatti Chiron. The world’s most luxurious, most expensive production car made an honorary tour of the classic. The cost of that ultra luxury vehicle? Slightly above $2.5 million. Careful where you park!
• Reporting by PETER MIKELBANK