After celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours behind the scenes on Friday 31st May, this weekend sees the serious side of things get under way on the track with the test day. The count-down to the Le Mans High Season is starting to speed up with less than three weeks to go to the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours on 22-23 June. Read what follows to find out all you need to know about this very special day on 9th June.
What is the aim of the test day?
The aim of the test day is to enable the teams to come and test their cars on the Le Mans 24-Hours circuit, and also to allow some teams, which will not be taking part in the event, to discover this exceptional layout. The teams can set up house inside the circuit without having to move again as the various key moments of the week follow one another in succession with scrutineering on 16-17 June, official practice on 19-20 June and the race on 22-23 June.
Who has to take part in the test day?
- The new cars (Lotus and Viper) with one model minimum,
- Teams that have never raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours,
- Drivers who have never raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours or who are not on the list of confirmed drivers automatically allowed to take part in official practice for the Le Mans 24 Hours since 2008. Each of the drivers in question must cover at least 10 laps of the track during the day. The ACO reserves itself the right to refuse a driver if it judges that his performance or aptitudes are not up to standard.
Who can take part in the test day?
- The entrants for the Le Mans 24 Hours
- Manufacturers’ cars that are undergoing development after their entry has been accepted,
-Entrants in the Continental Le Mans Series: American Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series and the European Le Mans Series.
What type of cars can take part in the test day?
- The two prototype (LM P1 and LM P2), and two GTE (LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am) categories racing in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours to which they have been invited in compliance with the supplementary regulations of the Le Mans 24 Hours,
- The LM P1s, LM P2s, LM GTE Pros and LM GTE Ams not invited to the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours but complying with the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship regulations.
- The prototypes belonging to the Formula Le Mans category (which are not eligible for the Le Mans 24 Hours),
- Innovative cars (2 max.). None will be present this year.
On which circuit?
The 13,629-km circuit specially installed for the day. The roads will be closed to traffic at 04h00 in the morning and will reopen soon after 18h00 - after the end of testing. This circuit is not only unique in the world; it is difficult for the teams to simulate its very special characteristics on other tracks or virtually on computers. This is why it’s so important for the teams to know where they stand in relation to their rivals before 22-23 June.
Scrutineering and admin. checks will take place on Friday 7th June (09h30-18h00) and Saturday 8th June (08h30-12h50) inside the Le Mans circuit near the paddock. Testing will be held from 09h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 18h00 on Sunday 9th June 2013. These sessions are free.
Who will be the stars?
After the first two rounds of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship a lot of question marks hang over the potential of the two main victory contenders: Audi the reigning champion won at Silverstone and Spa this year and Toyota, the challenger, which is dreaming of victory at Le Mans after three second places in 1992, 94 and 99. Note that the German make has entered a fourth R18 e tron quattro for the test day. Its mission will be to test the Michelin tyres adapted to the regulations that will come into force in 2014. It will also be interesting to see where the privateer petrol-engined cars, Rebellion Racing and Strakka Racing, stand.
In LM P2, the teams racing in the World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series will go head-to-head in the presence of squads from the American Le Mans and Asian Le Mans Series. All the Le Mans Championships will be at this rendezvous with very different cars. Will Oreca and Morgan again be in the thick of the battle up front? Will Lotus and Alpine spring a surprise? Will the Zyteks lead again?
In LM GTE Pro the Ferraris will try to steal the show from an impressive field of works cars consisting of Corvettes, the in-form Aston Martins, Porsches and Vipers.
In LM GTE Am all eyes will be focused on Patrick Dempsey making his Le Mans comeback, and on the top teams in the category: the Larbre Competition Corvettes, the Aston Martins and the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsches.
In addition, there are two Formula Le Mans.
Exceptional price: 17 euros for the test day ticket. Free for young people born after 10th June 1997.
Free access for general enclosure ticket holders for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Note that the enclosures at the Mulsanne and Arnage corners are open to the public.
Access to the circuit is open from Friday 7th June.
ACO Le Mans