The great strength of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2011 begins coming Sunday. 54 cars will participate in this unique testing day, scheduled a month and a half before the 11th and 12th June. Here's everything you need to know about this Test Day.
What is the aim of the test day? The aim of this test day is to enable entrants to come and test their cars on the big Le Mans 24-Hours circuit. As many of them that will race on 11-12 June are new following the introduction of the new technical regulations, it was necessary to organize this very special day again, sufficiently early before the race so that the teams can modify their cars afterwards if necessary.
Why so early before the 24 Hours? The Le Mans test day was not held in 2009 and 2010 for economic reasons. This year it will take place on 24th April. From 2005 to 2008, it was organized shortly before the race week. Not since 2004 has it been held in April. When it was at the end of May, it gave the teams the opportunity to fine-tune the setups shortly before the race itself. Organized in April, it will be very useful for validating the final technical choices.
The new Audi R18
Who takes part? The test day is not obligatory except for drivers, teams and cars that have never raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the past, or in the case of drivers, those who haven’t taken part in the event for three years. This test session is also open to cars other than those selected for the Le Mans 24 Hours provided they comply with the regulations governing the event, as well as the Formula Le Mans cars, a monotype formula aimed at promoting endurance. Fifty-five cars will take part in the test day including 24 of the 26 entries in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Some of the American entries will not be present on 24th April, as they took part in a round of the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach in California a week before the test day. Please note that the driver line-ups for the test day do not have to be the ones for the Le Mans 24 Hours. Teams must send in the names of the drivers selected to the ACO by 12th May 2011 at the latest.
Which circuit? The session will be held on the 13,629-km layout. The roads open to normal traffic will be closed at 03 h 30 on Sunday 24th April, and opened immediately after the end of the session. This circuit is not only unique in the world, but it is also difficult for teams to simulate its very special characteristics on other tracks or on computers. Hence, the importance of getting to grips with it before June’s race.
When? Scrutineering and admin checks will take place on Friday 22nd (09h30-18h00) and Saturday 23rd April (09h00-13h45) inside the Le Mans circuit. On Sunday 24th April, the free session will be split up into two parts: 09h00-13h00 and 14h00-18h00.
Who will be the stars? As the new regulations have spawned a number of new machines, the manufacturers will run cars at Le Mans, which, if they have been tested elsewhere, have never crossed swords on the track. These include the Audi R18, the Peugeot 908 and the Aston Martin AMR-ONE in the prototype category, as well as the eagerly-awaited Lotus Evora GTE in LM GTE Pro. Peugeot has finally decided against running its 908 Hybrid4, but there will be two hybrid prototypes tackling the Le Mans track on 24th April: the Oreca Swiss HY Tech-Hybrid entered for the 24 Hours, as well as in the ILMC, and the Zytech 09H Hybrid of the Italian team, Mik Corse.
How to see it? The test day is open to the public. Price: 10 euros for the test day, free for youth born after April 24th 1995.
Promotion: Spectators who have a general enclosure ticket for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours, have free access to the circuit on the test day.
Spectators purchasing a 10-euro ticket for the test day (at the circuit only) can buy a general enclosure ticket between 25-29 April on www.lemans.org for the 2011 Le Mans week for the price of 57 euros instead of 67 euros.
Please note that access to the circuit is possible from Friday April 22. The ticket purchased on Friday and Saturday is valid on Sunday.
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