May 13, 2016 / 4:31 PM / 3 years ago

Brad Pitt to wave Le Mans 24 Hours start flag

Cast member Brad Pitt poses on the red carpet at the premiere of "The Big Short" in New York November 23, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - Hollywood actor Brad Pitt will be the honorary starter for the Le Mans 24 Hours sports car race in June, organizers of the endurance classic said on Friday.

The June 18-19 race will also be marking the 50th anniversary of Ford’s first victory at the Sarthe circuit in western France.

Pitt and fellow A-lister Tom Cruise have been linked for several years to a movie project, “Go Like Hell”, about the 1960s sports car rivalry between Ford and Ferrari.

Ford, who swept the top three places at the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours and won the next three editions of the race, are returning with their new GT car.

Their executive chairman Bill Ford lowered the French flag to start the race last year while NASCAR president Jim France did the honors in 2013.

The late Steve McQueen waved the flag in 1971, the year he starred in the movie “Le Mans”.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Catherine Evans

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