It all began at the end of May when the ACO’s sporting module was decked out in the colours of a partner.
Then lorries, cranes and different types of construction equipment invaded the circuit. Here and there ephemeral structures emerged from the ground, each one more imposing than the other. The grey walls of the garages were covered in lacquered panels, necessary to protect the technology of the cars, which arrived at Le Mans hidden under white covers.
This frantic activity, a bit like an ant hill, in fact, is followed every day by more than 130 000 fans on the 24-Hours Facebook page. As is the case every year all over the world, a host of people can’t wait for the party to begin at last.
And it starts tomorrow!
The test day kicks off a hectic fortnight, which will come to a climax on 23rd June with the huge crowd of supporters flocking to the track under the podium. Between now and then laughter and tears will follow each other in rapid succession! Thousands of stories, whether of great or little import, will be written between the centre of Le Mans and the Mulsanne corner at the southern extremity of the circuit.
Starting with tomorrow the 56 garages on the pit lane will be the theatre of joys and disappointments. There is always something at stake at the test day. It is THE day that plunges teams into a state of doubt or panic or, on the contrary, gives them the impetus and the confidence to reach for the heights. In short, it sets the tone.
This year there are many questions: will Audi or Toyota come out on top psychologically speaking in LM P1? Which of the 24 LM P2s prototypes will find the best setup as they are all potential category winners? Will the new Vipers, back in GTE Pro after a 10-year absence, be able to match the pace of the Ferraris, Porsches, Corvettes and Aston Martins?
The 56 cars have passed scrutineering and can take to the track. On the eve of battle they are lined up opposite the podium in an almost religious silence.
Tomorrow for eight hours (09h00-13h00 and 14h00-18h00) all these fabulous machines will be unleashed on the Le Man circuit for the dress rehearsal two weeks before the race that will mark the 90th anniversary of the event on 22-23 June. In the Temple of endurance the annual pilgrimage can begin!