Some outlets are perfectly content covering the greatest race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with stock and wire service images. And... well we do that too, I’m not gonna lie, but this year we had to send one of our own ace shooters over there to go the extra mile. Here’s his report from Thursday’s day of qualifying.

(Full Disclosure: Kurt’s on a press trip with Porsche Great Britain. Jalopnik paid for his airfare from Austin to Europe, but Porsche supplied a car, lodging and access to their garage and team during the race.) 

Qualifying has wrapped and to no one’s great surprise, Toyota Gazoo Racing secured pole and a second-place start in the top LMP1 class. They damn well better, considering they’re the only automaker team in that class.

For the sports cars, the Porsche 911 RSRs took the one and two spots with a Ford GT right behind them. As you’ll see in all the photos below, Porsche’s treating this race as a big deal as it falls with its 70th birthday celebrations, even if it no longer has a prototype to race in the top class.

Even so, it should be a fun way to kill 24 straight hours this weekend. Bask in Kurt’s photos for now and stay tuned for more dispatches from the track.

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One of these days I need to figure out why the staff and contributors are always out doing the fun things while I’m stuck behind a desk approving invoices, editing stories, dealing with HR and playing travel agent.