Keep these weekends free!
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest's 2009 season is going to be an intense one full of exciting events for 2, 4 and 6-wheel vehicles on the Bugatti track as well as on the big Le Mans 24-Hours circuit. Get out your diaries now -- weekends like these are not to be missed!
28th-29th March -- French Promosport Cups
An innovation in 2009: the season will kick off with the French Promosport Cups instead of the French Superbike Championship (put back till September). The meeting will include races for 125, 600 and 1000 cc motorbikes as well as the Honda Junior Cup, the Promo 500 Cup and the Makes Cup.
18th-19th April -- The Le Mans 24 Hours for Motorcycles
The 32nd Le Mans 24 Hours for Motorcycles is on the FIM Endurance World Championship Calendar, and will be a top-level event thanks to works involvement via professional teams. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team based at Le Mans will be defending its title. 66 motorcycles are accepted for practice and 56 will start the race at 15h00.
22nd-23rd April -- Le Mans Series tests
Another 2009 innovation: All the teams will be welcome to the Le Mans Bugatti circuit between the first and second rounds of the 2009 Le Mans Series for two days' testing.
16th-17th May -- The French Motorcycle Grand Prix
The French Motorcycle Grand Prix will again be held on the Bugatti circuit, and in 2009 there will a French World Champion racing in front of his home crowd. Mike di Meglio won the 125 cc World Championship before the end of the 2008 season. His presence will attract the interest of French motorbike fans for the 125 and 250 cc championships and of course the highlight of the weekend, the top category Moto GP.
31st May -- The Le Mans 24-Hours test day
This will be shakedown day for the 55 entrants invited by the ACO to take part in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours. They will have the 13,629-km track all to themselves for 7 hours. So there will be no time to lose to prepare for the most mythic endurance race in the world, which will take place 2 weeks later. A third 2009 innovation: the test will be accompanied by a race to the delight of the spectators (30 000 people in 2008!).
13th-14th June -- The Le Mans 24 Hours
The 77th running of the greatest endurance race in the world is the first one under a new set of ACO regulations, which will come into force progressively between now and 2011. Its basic guidelines concern the future of the event in terms of sporting equality, safety, cost reduction and sustainable development. More than ever the Le Mans 24 Hours will be in tune with the concerns of its era. The sport will win and the on-track action will again live up to the spectators' expectations. The attendance record to be beaten is 258 500 (2008). In addition, a round of the Le Mans Formula, the new feeder formula championship created by the ACO and Oreca, will be held as a curtain-raiser to the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.
4th-5th July -- LM Story
Every odd year LM Story is back on the calendar with races on the Bugatti circuit for the delight of lovers of historic racing. In 2007, 350 cars took to the track for 17 races divided up into 9 groups. Clubs of historic vehicle collectors of all makes and types will be part of the 2009 programme as well as a large assortment of Alpines.
18th-19th July --World Series by Renault
The big Renault festival will be back on the Bugatti circuit to underline the make's involvement in motor racing. There will be F1 demonstrations, Megane Trophy, Clio Cup and Formula Renault 2.0 races plus parades of cars from the Renault Heritage Collection as well as lots of boutiques in the Village. Everything will be done to make the meeting as exciting and entertaining as possible and in addition, circuit access is free for the spectators!
29th-30th August -- Le Mans 24 Hours for Karts
This is the blue riband event of the kart season. The 24th event on the Alain Prost circuit will attract a full field of entries (39 in 2008). The race will start at 16h00 on Saturday. Free access for all by withdrawing your invitation from the partners of the 24 Hours for Karts as well as the ACO boutique and the Sarthe Motorcar Museum.
5th-6th September -- The French Superbike and World Sidecar Championships
The French Superbike Championship is the no.1 speed championship in the country, and always provides breathtaking races in 600 and 1000 cc categories as well as giving future stars the opportunity to show off their skills. In addition to supporting races (125 ccs) the French round of the Sidecar World Championship will be held on the Bugatti circuit.*
19th-20th September-- The Le Mans 24 Hours for Trucks
Trucks of 5 tons and 1000 bhp will race on the Bugatti circuit. Monstrous to behold when stationary these huge machines show their agility on the track. They provide incredible races in a popular festive ambience (merry-go-rounds, accessory stalls, parade of decorated trucks, free concert etc). In addition to the usual programme, the 250 cc karts will reach speeds of up to 250 km/h (!) as they did in 2008. For the first time Le Mans will host the new Racecar Series whose cars are directly inspired from NASCAR (the premier American motor racing championship) both in terms of engines and looks (450 bhp V8s with that inimitable sound).
4th October --An international event to be designated
11th October -- Move Planet Day
Tests of ecological cars (tests, demonstrations etc) on the new Maison-Blanche circuit.
24th-25th October -- Inter-teams days
This is THE weekend for all those who throughout the year show their passion for rallying, hill climbing and track racing. But here on the Bugatti circuit they have to prove their talent. More than 200 drivers are expected in single-seaters, open 2-seaters, touring and GT cars. The majority are licence holders of one of the ASA ACO clubs and benefit from free entry. It's the same for the spectators: tickets and car parks are also free.