Road to Le Mans will be part of five of the six rounds of the 2016 European Le Mans Series
As announced on 13th November 2015, a support race for LM P3s in the ACO Series and GT3s in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup will take place at the 84th Le Mans 24 Hours on 18-19 June 2016. The first running of this race called Road to Le Mans organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest with the collaboration of Le Mans Endurance Management (promoter of the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup Series), will be held in the late morning of Saturday 18th June on the legendary 13,629-km Sarthe circuit. Here are the details.
Road to Le Mans, the second round of the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup reserved for cars from the GT3 category, will be part of five of the six rounds of the 2016 European Le Mans Series, and a curtain-raiser to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
For the LM P3s, prototypes that enable teams and drivers to access the first step of the endurance pyramid created by the ACO, it is a single event and won’t count for any championship. Only prototypes racing in the ACO Series (ELMS and Asian Le Mans) will be allowed to start.
The ACO reserves itself the right to invite other GT3s and LM P3s to compete in this new supporting race to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Entries for the Road to Le Mans will open on Monday 18th March and close on Friday 15th April. A selection committee will meet after entries have closed to draw up the list of cars allowed to start Road to Le Mans.
Full season entrants competing in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup will be given automatic entries. For the others (LM P3s and invitations) the entry fee will be 12 000 euros (+ tax if applicable). The number of cars allowed to start will be confirmed on 25th March.
Schedule and Format
The start of this race (50 to 60 minutes maximum, confirmation on 25th March) will be given on Saturday 18th June at 11h10. Beforehand, scrutineering and administrative checks will take place on Tuesday 14th June from 4 p.m to 6 p.m and Wednesday 15th June from 9 a.m to midday. Two 1-hour free practice sessions will be held on Wednesday 15th June from 8.30 p.m to 9.30 p.m, and Thursday 16th June from 2.30 p.m to 3.30 p.m followed by a 30-minute qualifying session on Thursday from 6 p.m to 6.30 p.m.
The format of the race foreseen for one or two drivers* will impose a minimum driving time of 20mn per driver, and a pit stop (minimum time fixed by the regulations) within a given time window.
For safety reasons slow zones will be used, but the system will be different to that of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Eight to ten zones will be in place with signalisation and control of the average speeds.
For this new event Shell will be the official fuel supplier, and in compliance with the regulations refuelling will be forbidden during the practice sessions and the race.
There will be no limit on tyres. A single slick specification will be available for each category and Michelin will be the sole supplier.
The whole field will have a paddock and a dedicated hospitality unit on the Maison Blanche circuit.
Road to Le Mans reinforces the determination of the ACO to consolidate the development of the endurance nursery and to highlight the promotional categories in this branch of the sport.
Reminder: the support race programme for the Le Mans 24 Hours will be completed by the Ferrari Challenge.
*Rules concerning the driver line-ups
2 drivers: Bronze/Bronze or Bronze/Silver or Bronze/Gold
1 driver: (not allowed for Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup competitors): Bronze
2 drivers: Bronze/Silver or Bronze/Bronze
1 driver: Bronze