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Giancarlo Fisichella on the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Giancarlo Fisichella claims the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the "most important" event in motorsport. The likes of Fabian Barthez and Chris Hoy will race in it.

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Giancarlo Fisichella claims the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the "most important" event in motorsport.

Speaking ahead of the 84th edition of the famous race, the two-time winner – competing in France for Risi Competizione in a Ferrari 488 GTE – said Le Mans is where the greatest go to prove themselves.

"It is really a special race, the most important in motorsport as a single event," the ex-Formula One driver told Omnisport. "For all teams it is the most important, even more important than the whole [World Endurance] Championship.

"It is a wonderful track and the best drivers want to be here."

In a field boasting a host of star drivers, there are also some familiar faces who made their names in other sporting domains.

Former France and Manchester United goalkeeper Fabian Barthez is part of an all-French trio racing in a Ligier JS P2-Nissan, while six-time Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy will compete in a Nissan-powered LMP2.

Hoy, 40, is the first summer Olympics champion to race at the event, while he won the LMP3 class of the 2015 European Le Mans Series.

But Fisichella revealed that he would opt for a more proven driver if given a free pick for a new team-mate, adding: "I would like [Fernando] Alonso to join my team because I had a wonderful relation with him.

"I know he wants to race at Le Mans and I am sure he will do it at some point. I would be happy for him to be here."

The Porsche Team locked out the front of the grid in qualifying, having claimed the top two spots in the 2015 race.

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