The Le Mans week is just about to get under way! This year will be one to remember, perhaps more so than any other because of the quality of the field and the entertainment on hand for the crowd’s enjoyment.
On Sunday 7th July at 14h30 the Dome S103 making its Sarthe debut will be the first car to run the gauntlet of the men in white at scrutineering on Place de la République in the town centre of Le Mans launching the 2015 festivities.
Since 2012, scrutineering and administrative checks, commonly called Le Pesage (The weigh in) as in the early days of motor sport, take place on Place de la République in the town centre. Fifty-six cars and 168 drivers will follow one another and file past the eagle eyes of the scrutineers who will decide whether or not the machines comply with the regulations, and if the men are fit to drive them.
Innovation and the title holders will be highlighted when scrutineering kicks off as after the no. 42 Dome come the 2014 winners in the LM P2 and LM P1 categories. The Jota Sport and Audi Sport teams have lost none of their competitive edge and will arrive with their latest weapons, a Gibson 015S-Nissan (the new name of the Zytek victorious in 2014), and the up-dated 2015 version of the nos 7, 8 and 9 Audi R18 e-tron quattros.
Scrutineering takes place in three phases. The first is the passage of the car on a horizontal platform equipped with lasers to measure its main dimensions (width, length, overhangs, wheelbase, height of the wing and the fin, dimensions of the holes over the wheels, etc). This platform is also mounted on scales to weigh the cars.
When the car goes through the second post it is placed on a hoist to enable the officials to check the underneath (dimensions of the front and rear diffusers, dimensions and shape of the plank which guarantees minimum ground clearance and enhanced aerodynamic safety, etc).
At the final one, the bodywork is partially removed for the inspection of the safety equipment (extinguishers, belts, circuit breakers, indicators, safety measures for the hybrids’ electrics, etc) the fuel tank and the engine oil recuperation tank. The affixing of the stickers is also checked here, and the timekeepers verify that the transponder is working properly as well as the lights indicating the car’s position in its category out on the track. The data acquisition system in each car is scrupulously tested as is the marshalling system inaugurated in 2014, which tells the drivers in the cars about what’s going on on the circuit and the actions by the track marshals via a special black box.
Around 50 minutes per car
As in 2014, the LM P1s complying with the new technical regulations will be the object of a particularly thorough inspection. Checking the engines is no longer the no. 1 priority: this is now to make sure that the new regulations dealing with safety are respected. In all, the various operations take around 50 minutes per car.
Drivers are also weighed!
While this is going on the drivers in their driver suits go though administrative checks during which their licences, helmets, driver suits and all their equipment, which must comply with the FIA standards, are inspected. They are also weighed so that their weight can be deducted from that of the car during the checks carried out later on during qualifying. This year, an average minimum weight of 80 kilos is applied per driver so as not to put bigger people at a disadvantage. If the weight of the driver line-up is below this average figure additional ballast is added to the car. This measure is carried out by the teams and checked at the circuit after qualifying or during the race. This ballast must also take into account the weight loss of the drivers due to dehydration during the event.
The spectators see everything
They then have to take part in various communications operations (individual photos, team photos with the cars, press interviews, etc). And they also sign autographs for the general public who flock to scrutineering. The way the zone is laid out enables the spectators to see what’s going on. There is also a mini-village of exhibitors not far away from the café terraces on the square creating an even warmer ambience in the sunlight – if the weather men have got their forecasts right!
Scrutineering will take place on Sunday 8th June between 14h30 and 19h00, and three of the four categories of cars will be represented with LM P1s, LM P2s and LM GTE Ams. Among the new cars are the two Oreca 05-Nissans in LM P2, the three Nissan GTR LM-Nismos in LM P1 as well as the two Rebellion R-Ones with their new engines. G-Drive Racing, the favourite in the baby prototype category with their Ligier JS P2s, will also be scrutineered. In GTE Am the first Corvette C7.R entrusted to a private team, Larbre Competition, will share the billing with actor Patrick Depmsey’s Porsche 911 RSR as the latter is now a full-time driver. Once again the American star will attract a large following.
The stars in the LM GTE Pro category, Corvette, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche will go though scrutineering on Monday 9th June from 10h00 till 18h00. The LM P1 Porsches and Toyotas will also top the bill in another day full of excitement shared with the public.