Hollywood actor Brad Pitt has got the 24 Hours Le Mans classic endurance race underway in difficult weather conditions.

Pitt, who was the official starter, stood in the middle of the track Saturday and held a French flag as the race began in pouring rain with the 60 cars forced to start behind the safety car.

One of the Porsche's 919 hybrid cars — driven by Neel Jani — was leading the field ahead of teammate Timo Bernhard and Mike Conway, who drives a Toyota.