Le Mans 24H comes to town

The 24 Hours of Le Mans paddock descended on the city of Le Mans, France on Tuesday for a full day of "pesage", the administrative and technical checks for every car and driver otherwise known as scrutineering. As the actual race is held several...

The 24 Hours of Le Mans paddock descended on the city of Le Mans, France on Tuesday for a full day of "pesage", the administrative and technical checks for every car and driver otherwise known as scrutineering.

As the actual race is held several miles south of the city, in and around various villages including Arnage and Mulsanne, this is a rare opportunity for residents and tourists to see the cars and drivers in the host town itself as the scrutineering is carried out in a car park called Quinconce des Jacobins, which is situated in front of the Cathedrale St Julien to the north of the city centre.

The event completely opens up the cars and drivers to public and press alike, with every driver mobbed by fans for autographs and by media for interviews, and every car fully exposed both to the lenses of every camera and the rulers of the officials. The openness leads to a thoroughly enjoyable day attended by thousands of members of the public and hundreds of the media.

The day follows a familiar pattern as team lorries arrive and unload their cars, the cars are then pushed into a public display area for half an hour, after which they enter the scrutineering "conveyer belt" where checks are carried out in a series of tents, then each car (or team) is assembled for a photo call with all drivers and mechanics, and then the drivers conduct television interviews and the public interviews.

This particular event saw two notable arrivals onto the 2007 Le Mans scene. The first was local hero and Team Peugeot 908 driver Sebastien Bourdais, fresh from the Champ Car race in Portland on Sunday. The second was Team Audi Sport North America driver Tom Kristensen, who yesterday announced he had received the all clear from doctors and his team to return to racing and participate in this year's race.

All cars passed scrutineering, and the only car to be withdrawn was the #10 Arena International Motorsport Zytek 07S, due to be driven by Stefan Johansson, Hayanari Shimoda and Tom Chilton, because the car was not ready. Stefan Johansson will now move to the #13 Courage Competition AER LC70, replacing reserve driver Seiji Ara.

After completing the necessary administrative, technical and media requirements, the teams gradually returned to the circuit in preparation for the first qualifying session, which is due to start on Wednesday evening.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Tom Kristensen , Seiji Ara , Tom Chilton , Hayanari Shimoda