Le Mans 2023 starts tomorrow in Le Mans town centre

Thursday, June 01, 2023


The centenary event of the twenty-four hours of Le Mans kicks off in earnest tomorrow with the first of the official ‘hands on’ events starting within the Le Mans town centre and the first of a two day Le Pesage process within the Place de La Republique.

With the official test day on Sunday, this event will perhaps be the closest that many of the attending crowds will get to the cars and drivers (except maybe for those undertaking the pre-event pit walks and autograph sessions) as all sixty-two runners get a very public checking over whilst the car’s drivers get a grilling from the events resident commentator, Bruno Vanderstick.

All bar one of the five Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE entries will get their turn within the town centre tomorrow (Friday) with all five attending that function within the following format.

Friday 2nd June

11:30Hrs #25 ORT with TF Sport AMR – Ahmad Al Harty / Michael Dinan / Charlie Eastwood

11:40Hrs #72 TF Sport prepared Project 24 AMR – Max Robin / Arnold Robin / Valentin Hasse-clot.

12:00hrs #777 D’Station Racing – Satoshi Hoshino / Tomonobu Fujii / Casper Stevenson

15:50Hrs 55 GMB Motorsport – Jens Moller / Gustav Birch / Marco Sorenson

Sat 3rd June

#98 Northwest AMR (Heart of Racing) – Ian James / Alex Riberas / Daniel Mancinelli

At least this time around, there is no IMSA clash this weekend that would otherwise detain any North American based drivers from this Le Pesage as it did last year when some only arrived in the nick of time to complete their mandatory laps on Sunday.

Sunday will see two three-hour sessions available to the teams during which the mandatory laps and daytime lap times must be completed by all event rookie drivers. What is also come into effect for the first time will be the Le Mans 24 specific Balance of Performance requirement which is independent of the ongoing World Endurance Championship success related BoP as is presently used within the GTE Am class.

For the two ELMS running entries from both TF Sport (#72) and GMB Motorsport (#55), this will be their second real opportunity for track time for all drivers as both cars were eliminated on the first lap of the first race of the ELMS in Barcelona five weeks ago with their subsequent round at Imola in-between that and Le Mans also being postponed.

BoP details released by the ACO reveal a significant difference in criteria for the aging Vantage GTE platform for its final run out at the Circuit de La Sarthe compared to that of its last WEC run out at Spa Francorchamps a month ago. The base weight sees a hefty increase from 1245kg in WEC to 1262kg, a big increase in fuel capacity from 89 litres in WEC to 97 litres but with also a large increase in turbo boost pressure across the range compared to that of WEC so that will take most if not all the drivers sometime within their cars to understand quite how that affects their driving.

After Test Day, comes pit walks and dual autograph sessions both in pit lane and in Le Mans itself (for not the entire driver grid apparently) as well as the pit stop challenge for the teams to earn some more kudos from their drivers this time around which the TF Sport crew for their #33 car won last year.

Then on Wednesday, comes the first of the track action ahead of next weekend’s race date!

Photo credits - A Lofthouse / ELMS / Social Media / LM24
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