Initially scheduled to conclude the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will serve as the penultimate round of a calendar reshaped by the health crisis
After the postponement of its traditional date in mid-June, the event is now being held this week. And for this unique situation, a unique programme, as this year’s fortnight of activity will have the feel of a proper sprint!
Today, the n°36 Alpine A470 will be inspected by the FIA and ACO stewards as will all the competitors during administrative and technical scrutineering.
What follows will be even more intense as the Test Day has been replaced by four free-practice sessions. During these eleven hours of track time, the trio of drivers will be able to readapt to the “Le Mans” aerodynamic kit, which influences the handling of the prototypes in fast curves such as Indianapolis or the Porsche corners.
Two three-hour sessions will precede qualifying, which is just 45-minutes in duration this year. This will be followed by two more hours of practice Thursday night and one hour Friday morning to fine tune the car, its settings, pit stops, as well as analysing the different Michelin tyre compounds before the Hyperpole.
With a shortened qualifying, and one that will involve all the competitors, traffic management therefore promises to be crucial in order to aim for a place in the Hyperpole session. Introduced this year, it will pit the top six from LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am against each other in an exercise of pure speed to determine the top six positions in each category on the starting grid.
Saturday morning, a 15-minute warm-up session will be held before the start at 14h30. Other new challenges will then await the Philippe Sinault led team, even though they are accustomed to the subtleties of the Circuit de la Sarthe, a non-permanent course, 13.626 km long and famous for its Mulsanne straight.
While the traditional preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans requires a complete overhaul of the Alpine A470 while adapting it to the specificities of the circuit, Les Bleus underwent a real race against time to rebuild the car after the spectacular accident at Spa-Francorchamps only a month ago.
After having overcome this hurdle with brilliance, the Signatech Alpine Elf team is now ready for this daunting event for both men and machine. And it will be all the more so this year with a compact programme and new parameters to be discovered in real time!
Supported by a team ready for any eventuality and never shrinking in the face of a challenge, André, Thomas and Pierre will also have to race without the enthusiasm of a passionate public that has always shown immense support for Signatech Alpine Elf. Despite the absence of the fans, all three, however, have just one target: to reward the work done in recent weeks by achieving an historic triple in the LMP2 category before aiming for new heights next year!