Motorsport - Le Mans 24 Hours underway under sunny skies

Drivers take the start at the 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in Le Mans, western France, on June 14, 2014. 54 cars with162 drivers are participating in the race on June 14 and 15. AFP PHOTO / JEAN FRANCOIS MONIER (AFP Photo/JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER)

- The Le Mans 24 Hours, the most celebrated endurace race in the calendar, got underway on Saturday under sunny skies and with 54 cars on the starting grid.

The 82nd version of the legendary race, over a road circuit in western France, was sent on its way by former Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso.

The field was led from the front by the Toyota TS040 hybrid car driven by a team headed by Alexander Wurz of Germany, ahead of the Porsche 919 hybrid of Switzerland's Neel Jani.

On the second row of the grid was a second Toyota, driven by Nicolas Lapierre of Switzerland, just ahead of a Porsche which featured another former Formula One ace, Mark Webber of Australia, returning to the race for the first tinme in 15 years.