«The Club Arnage Guide to the 24 hours of Le Mans 2015 Every input was pure reflex - things were coming at me everywhere I looked. For about 50 ...»
Qualifying/Grid Position The regulations for 2015 regarding qualification have changed. A couple of times in recent years, a team (usually a French-entered one) has been allowed to race in spite of the team's woeful inability to get their car around the circuit during practice/qualifying in anything close to a qualifying time. 2 drivers from each crew must set at least one timed lap during qualifying. The average of the 2 best laps determines the grid position. The starting grid will be established firstly by those teams that completed the mandatory 2 laps (minimum of 1 lap by 2 drivers), followed by teams that completed only one mandatory lap, and finally by teams that were unable to set a time. The word 'mandatory' used here is taken directly from the wording in the published regulations, but it will be obvious that it is used here in a different sense in that a team will be
Other New Rules Someone has obviously upset the ACO in the recent past - a new rule forbids the starting of an engine during the National Anthem.
Any person working on the pit apron - with the exception of the wheel-change crew - must now wear full fire protection clothing including fire-proof overalls, gloves, balaclava, goggles, long underwear, shoes and helmet - this includes the guy with the long pole and the car number on the end, windscreen cleaners and datalog collectors. For the 4 wheel changers the gloves, balaclava and goggles element of the dress code are recommended rather than mandatory.
The start The starting grid will be in a staggered 2 x 2 formation. After one lap behind the pace car there will be a “flying” or “rolling” start.
In P1 and GTE Pro, the start driver must be nominated at scrutineering. In P2 and GTE AM, the driver who set the fastest time in qualifying must start the race.
If a car can’t make it to the starting grid, it is allowed to start from the pits. It has a maximum of 1 hour after the actual start to do so, after which the car will be excluded from the race.
Pit stops The engine must be switched off at the start of the pit stop; once the pit stop is finished it must be re-started without any additional device or outside assistance During refuelling no one is allowed to work on the car (except for driver changes and windscreen/rear-view mirrors cleaning), and the car cannot be jacked up. An exception to this is in P1 - if the fuel-flow meter is defective, another mechanic can change the meter at the same time.
Cars must be electrically earthed before the refuelling equipment is connected Fuel tanks must always be filled to the top ie no more ‘splash & dash’ scenarios For tyre changes, a maximum of any 2 mechanics (from a maximum of 4 designated) and one only air gun is allowed, and all equipment and wheels must be taken from/returned to the garage whilst the car is stopped in the pit lane.
A third person is allowed only to retrieve data from the ACO Data Logger.
For other repairs in the pit lane a maximum of 4 mechanics are allowed to work on the car. The car may be pushed back into its garage where more people can work on it Speed limit within the pit lane is 60 km/h Reverse gear cannot be used in the pit lane - if necessary, the car must be pushed by no more than 4 people It is strictly forbidden to spin the wheels when leaving the pits!! Penalty for this in 2012 was a 3 minutes Stop-and-Go.
Safety Car/SLOW ZONES When it is decreed necessary by the race director, safety cars are deployed. There are three safety cars located around the circuit, and when directed, they are deployed immediately ie they do not wait for a particular car (eg race leader), and all usual safety car rules apply – the main one being no overtaking.
There is nothing new in this procedure, but obviously the experiences of the past few years, where many hours of the race were conducted under safety car rules, has forced a new concept to be adopted – Slow Zones.
The circuit is divided into 21 numbered zones corresponding to the Post Marshal number at the entrance of the zone, the start of each zone corresponding to a main signaler post. When a particular zone of the circuit is deemed to be a Slow Zone due to on-track activity (medical, Armco repairs), then the previous zone becomes a slowing down zone. The start of this zone will be indicated by a large yellow sign (1.2m x.6m) saying NEXT SLOW. Drivers must slow down in this zone to a maximum of 80kph, and overtaking is prohibited. The start of the Slow Zone itself is indicated by the same sized yellow board with SLOW and an encircled 80. There is a maximum speed of 80kph in the Slow Zone and again, overtaking is not allowed.
The end of the Slow Zone is situated at the start of the next physical zone, and is indicated by a green light and green flags. If necessary, the Slow Zone can be lengthened to include more than one physical zone.
In 2015, the Maximum speed limit in the Slow Zones has been increased to 80kph from the 60kph speed when the system was introduced in 2014.
Time penalties If you have been a naughty boy (or girl) the race marshals will show you the black flag and give you a timed “Stop/Go” or drive-through penalty. When this happens, you can do a maximum of 4 more laps before coming into the pit lane for your penalty. These penalties cannot be combined with a pit stop.
Penalties can not be taken when the safety cars are deployed, or when a 'Slow Zone' has been activated.
Withdrawal The pit curtain must be lowered during the race when the team declares a withdrawal of his car. So if the garage door is down, the car is out!
Fuel All teams have to use the fuel provided by the race organizer End of race / classification Le Mans is an endurance race! You’ll only be classified if you have covered at least 70 % of the race distance of the winner in your class and if you pass the chequered flag at the end of race. Leading the race for 23 hours and 55 minutes and retiring e.g. with a blown engine 5 minutes prior to race end won’t get you on the podium or even classified, even if you have done already more laps than the subsequent winner.
At 75% of race distance, all cars must have travelled a minimum of 50% of the leading car's distance It is forbidden to stop on the circuit to wait for the chequered flag, and the last lap must be covered in 6 minutes or less At the end of the race, all cars with the exception of the overall winner must go to the Parc Fermé, and they may be checked. The winning car is parked beneath the podium for the duration of the trophy presentations and afterwards pushed to the Parc Fermé.
Entry fees and price money 2015: The entry fee for each car is €11,500 for the Test Day. For the race, the fee is €50,000, with a nonrefundable deposit of €4,600 to be paid in January. This deposit is payable (AND non-refundable!) for all cars, including those ones on the Reserve list, whether they race or not. Fees shown are exclusive of VAT.
Prize money: €40,000 (1st), €25,000 (2nd), €20,000 (3rd), €15,000 (4th), €12,000 (5th), then €10,000 for each class winner. Keep in mind that a set of tyres for an LMP2 car is about €2,000 and you know that this prize money doesn't really save your day as a team owner.
For the teams, certain restrictions for their driver squad apply:
LMP1: Only drivers rated as “platinum”, “gold” or “silver” are allowed.
LMP2: There must be at least one Gentlemen Driver (“silver” or “bronze”) in the driver squad.
GTE PRO: No restrictions for the driver line up GTE AM: For the amateur GT class entries, only one “platinum” or “gold” driver is allowed per car.
The drivers have to take care themselves about their rating. They have to send a request for categorization together with their race driver cv and credentials at least 15 days prior to each race to the A.C.O. – together with a juicy administrative fee of €450! In case of a last minute driver change, e.g. at the beginning of a race weekend, the race stewards will categorize a driver.
Platinum These are all internationally well-known professional race drivers below 55 years of age who meet at least one of the
Holder of a Formula 1 super license Has won the Le Mans race outright Have previously driven for a manufacturer team and have been paid for this Have finished a Formula 3000, CART/Champcar, IRL or GP2 championship within the top 10 positions Have finished an international top Formula 3 series or other top Formula series (e.g. Renault World Series) within the top 6 positions Do not meet the above criteria but are seen as a professional race driver by the sporting committee Gold These drivers have been active in national or international series on a semi-professional bases and meet at least one
of the following criteria:
Fulfill a criteria of the “Platinum“ category, but are between 55 and 59 years old Top 3 position in second class international formula series, e.g. A1GP, Formula Renault) Top 3 position in a national formula series season Winner in an entry formula series, e.g. Formula Ford, Formula BMW Top 3 position in the Porsche Supercup Winner of an international manufacturer championship (Porsche, SEAT, Renault, Peugeot) Do not meet the above criteria but are seen as “Gold” race driver by the sporting committee Silver
All race drivers who meet at least one of the follwing criteria:
Below 30 years of age and not rated as „platinum“ or „gold“ 60 years of age or above and fulfill one of the criteria for “platinum” drivers The driver has scored a race win in an international series or national championship together with a professional driver Has won a non-professional race series, e.g. Ferrari Challenge, Maserati Trofeo Do not meet the above criteria but are seen as “silver” race driver by the sporting committee Bronze Amateur driver. Any driver holding an International B license without a significant record of achievement in motor sport.
Update – since we don’t have a current map:
The campsites “Karting Nord”, “Pincenardieres” and “Dairon” are no longer existing.
There is a new campsite called “Epinettes” next to Camping Houx We need someone who can draw a new map for next year’s guide!
33 The Club Arnage Guide to the 24 hours of Le Mans 2015 Where to watch Over the last couple of years there have been some noticeable changes to the spectator areas at Le Mans. These include better provision for disabled access, installation of more big screens and the raising of embankments to provide panoramic views of the track. For the most part these changes should be applauded as they have increased the accessibility of the event for the majority. On the down side the character and charm of the circuit has been sacrificed to some extent. However, out on the public road sections of the course there are still some fantastic opportunities for the plucky race fan to see the action in its purist form. Read on to discover the intricacies of this famous circuit and be prepared to do some walking!
Navigation: The General Enclosure is easily accessible on foot. It stretches from the exit of the Porsche Curves to the exit of Tertre Rouge, approx 2.5 km. There are pedestrian crossing points at the start of the pit straight (outside the media centre), the end of the pit straight (adjacent to the main entrance), after the Dunlop chicane and in between the Esses and Tertre Rouge. Access to the further reaches of the circuit requires a bit more planning. The enclosures at Arnage and Mulsanne are accessible by car and there is limited parking at both (see the relevant sections below for directions). Alternatively, a free shuttle bus (Navette) runs during the race - see Transport in Le Mans chapter for more details.
11 giant screens will be installed for the 2014 edition of the race, giving the spectator the opportunity to watch live action, whilst keeping up to date with what’s going on on
other parts of the track:
On the straight line of the pits, opposite the grandstands, On the straight line of the pits, next to the Welcome, Opposite the Dunlop Grandstand, Outside the Tertre Rouge bend, Inside the Mulsanne bend, Inside the Arnage bend, At the breaking point of the Raccordement At the level of the starting line In the village by the Audi clock Grandstands: These are referred to as tribunes at Le Mans. They are situated at the exit of the Ford Chicane, opposite and above the pitlane, at the exit of the Dunlop Chicane and The Esses outfield. It is worth noting that access to the tribunes is not restricted during Wednesday and Thursday’s qualifying sessions; the separate tribune tickets become valid from Saturday morning. A grandstand seat will provide a guaranteed good view of the start and finish of the race and a place in the shade to regroup on Sunday morning, especially useful considering the temperature regularly gets into the 30s through June. However, if you prefer to sample the circuit in its entirety a seat in a tribune may not represent good value for money for you.
Dunlop Chicane: The Dunlop Chicane, within very easy reach of the ACO village, was modified for the 2006 season to bring the track speeds down. However, the new tighter leftright chicane still provides many thrills and spills, arguably more than before the modification. Position yourself on the infield 50 yards down the hill from the entry to the chicane for a clear insight into the undulations and racing line of this section of track. Watch the drivers attempting to keep their braking tidy during the fast righthanded approach, all under the backdrop of the famous Dunlop Bridge. Another prime spot is on the outfield at the chicane exit (in front of the Dunlop tribune) where many a driver will be caught out getting on the power too early.