Le Mans organiser the ACO has pledged to support the victims of the Japanese tsunami.
ACO president Jean-Claude Plassart announced at Le Mans today that the starting flag for this year's edition of the 24 Hours, which has been signed by all the drivers due to start, will be donated to the Japanese Automotive Club.
"We will present it to them so they can auction it, and the money raised will be used to help the victims of the tsunami," he said. "We hope to help our Japanese friends in this difficult time."
As part of the celebration of Japanese involvement in the race, 20 years on from Mazda's only outright victory by a Japanese marque, the 25th Spirit of Le Mans Trophy was presented to engineering professor Yoshima Hayashi at the Le Mans press conference this morning.
Hayashi was involved in Nissan's successful sportscar programme in the 1990s and also was behind the 2008 Tokai University Le Mans entry, which was designed to teach students through motorsport.