Changes to run off areas and kerbing on the track as well as new safety procedures will be implemented for the first time at the race in June.
As is the case before every Le Mans 24 Hours race major safety improvements have been carried out. This year they concern the circuit itself, the evolution of procedures on board the cars, as well as those before and during the race.
Modifications to the circuit
Length unchanged at 13,629 km.
- Pits straight: resurfaced
- Virage de la Chapelle: the link between the Bugatti circuit and the Le Mans 24 Hours layouthas been resurfaced.
- Forest Esses: new kerbing installed and the hard shoulders stabilised.
- Tertre Rouge corner: the safety on the exit from Tertre Rouge has been improved as the installation of the metallic guardrail. Two rows of tyres have been added in front of the guardrail.
- Les Hunaudières straight: protection of the residents’ houses completed, improved safety on the exit from the two chicanes thanks to the addition of two rows of tyres.
- Porsche corner: extra safety measures in the first Porsche corner with the addition of two rows of tyres.
- Corvette corner: creation of a new runoff area consisting of a gravel trap measuring 188m long with a total surface of 4700m2 at the back of which two rows of tyres have been installed in front of the protective wall. The layout of the corner remains unchanged.
- Ford corner: stabilisation of the hard shoulders.
- Lighting improved in the first chicane and at the entry to the Porsche and Ford corners. New optics will provide as dense a light beam that is, however, more diffuse to reduce contrasts.
All the cars will be fitted with the new Marshalling telemetry system. Thus, the drivers will be in permanent contact with the officials and three types of information will be posted in the car:
1. The overall management of the race by Race Control,
2. Coloured diodes, which will inform the drivers of the areas under the yellow flag, when they should let a quicker car past (blue flag equivalent), etc.
3. Indicating a slow zone.
Introduction of what is called a slow zone procedure to reduce the impact of safety cars on the track. In the case of an incident and/or intervention of the marshals and/or the technical and medical services the aim is to neutralise only a part of the circuit. In this zone the cars can not overtake or exceed 60 km/h. Outside this zone racing will continue as normal. If necessary, the slow zone may be preceded by a short period of neutralisation of the whole circuit by the safety cars.
A half day’s training on a simulator will be obligatory for drivers who have never raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours, or who have not done so for the last five years (all the events since 2009) or longer. It will take place in Saint Pierre du Pernay (Essonne) at the headquarters of the AOtech Company, which has developed a simulator agreed by the ACO. It will help the drivers to get to grips with the specific conditions prevailing in the race; they can also use it to memorise the different zones where flags an d lights are situated. The simulator will be installed in Le Mans in 2015. This training does not dispense the drivers who have never raced in the Le Mans 24 hours from their obligations on the test day (June 1st), during which they must cover at least 10 laps. The ACO reserves the right to refuse a driver if his performance or skills are judged insufficient.