The 82nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours will take place on the 14th – 15th June. However, before taking part in Le Mans 2014, the teams are invited to come and experience their cars on the famous circuit this Sunday during the Le Mans Test Day.
What is the test day?
The Le Mans test day provides an opportunity for free practice to allow the entrants the chance to come and test their cars on the same track as they will race the Le Mans 24 Hours 2014. The teams can set up in the paddock, within the circuit, without having to move again before the Le Mans weeks starts with scrutineering on 8th & 9th June followed by free practice and then qualifying on 11th & 12th June and then of course the race itself on 14th & 15th June.
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Who has to take part in the test day?
Cars new to Le Mans and teams that have never raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours must attend the test day. This is also the case for new drivers (or for those who are not on the list of confirmed drivers automatically allowed having raced at Le Mans since 2009). Each new driver must cover at least 10 laps during the day and officially the ACO reserves the right to refuse an entry if the driver’s performances or skills are not up to the standard required.
Which cars can take part in the test day?
The two prototype categories in the Le Mans 24 Hours (LMP1 and LMP2) and the two GTE categories (LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am) that will be racing in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours. In addition, the Le Mans prototypes and GTE cars, which are racing in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, but are not the Le Mans 24 Hours can also attend the test day.
Formula Le Mans prototypes are allowed to take to the track on test day, although none have entered this year & finally up to 2 different Innovative cars can also attend the test day. This year the Nissan ZEOD will make its first appearance in public on the track during Sunday morning.
Which circuit will they use?
The full 13.629km layout used for the Le Mans 24 Hours will also be used for the test day. The public roads used will be closed to traffic from 04:00hrs on Sunday morning (1st June) and will reopen just after 18:00hrs once practice has concluded.
When does this happen?
Scrutineering and administrative checks for test day will take place on Friday 30th May (between 09:30hrs & 18:00hrs) and again on Saturday 31st May (09:00hrs – 12:20hrs) at the circuit near to the paddock. The free practice will take place on the 1st June from 09:00hrs – 13:00hrs and 14:00hrs -18:00hrs.
Who will be the stars?
There are many new cars that have never raced at Le Mans before. The new regulations for LMP1 means that all the cars will be present. Perhaps the Porsche 919 Hybrids will be the main attraction, as Porsche prototypes have not competed at Le Mans for 16 years. Audi and Toyota will also attract a lot of attentions with their new cars. The test day will be the ideal moment to see how the cars perform against one another on the unique Le Mans circuit. The new Rebellion R-Ones will also make their Sarthe debut this Sunday.
In LMP2, the teams entered in the world endurance championship and the European Le Mans Series will do battle with those racing in the Asian Le Mans Series adding some spice to the proceedings. Ligier is making its Le Mans comeback, which will tug the heartstrings of the French fans, in view of the battle with Alpine. The Morgans managed to dominate last year. Can the do so again? How will Sébastien Loeb Racing fare? There are a lot of questions to answer.
In the LMGTE Pro class the eagerly-awaited new Corvette C7s will make their European debut at Le Mans and will come up against the FIA WEC contenders like Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche.
In LMGTE Am the focus will be on all the talented and famous amateurs who have the courage to tackle Le Mans. Fabien Barthez, Patrick Depmsey and David Halliday will be among a field of drivers with some great names like Eric Hélary, Emmanuel Collard and Pedro Lamy.
Finally, nobody wants to miss the maiden outing in public of the Nissan ZEOD RC. This incredible machine is entered in the context of the 56th garage. It is a revolutionary car, which will have to prove itself before the Le Mans 24 Hours.
You can follow all the Le Mans Test Day action this Sunday live on Radio Le Mans.