New September date could make Le Mans "very fast"

This year’s Le Mans 24 Hours could be one of the fastest in recent history due to cooler conditions prevailing in France during September, according to Goodyear’s Motorsport Director Ben Crawley.

New September date could make Le Mans "very fast"

The 88th running of the French classic has been moved from its original June slot to September 19-20 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ACO President Pierre Fillon is willing to push back the event further until October or November if the situation so demands.

In either case, ambient and track temperatures would be significantly lower than in June, while a larger chunk of the race would take place under limited visibility at night.

Moreover, 2020 marks the final year of the LMP1 class in its current guise, before slower LM Hypercars make up the new top category of the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2021.

Goodyear, which supplies tyres to JOTA and Jackie Chan DC Racing outfit in the LMP2 class of WEC as well as some of the ELMS teams that will take part at Le Mans, expects lap times to come down significantly because of the rescheduled date.

“There could be temperature differences September vs June, whether that is sort of single-digit temperature [difference] or up to 30 degree plus in terms of ambient temperature,” Crawley told the official WEC podcast. “And that’s before you convert that into a track temperature. 

“You might, say, expect in September that we would see some general cooler temperatures and probably for longer in terms of those periods; perhaps some more night time hours.

“I think what we could see [is] one of the faster or quicker Le Mans in recent history because typically with cooler temperatures comes an expectation of drivers and teams being able to opt for a greater balance, or focus on some of the softer specification tyres that we would have. 

“[With] the cooler conditions, the potential for tyres to perform to the absolute maximum, you could be looking at potentially fewer pitstops or shorter pitstops, not requiring tyres being changed as often as they would ordinarily and obviously using softer tyres, the expectations [are] of a faster speed."

“So from that point of view it could be a very fast September Le Mans.” 

Listen to the latest episode of the WEC Talk podcast featuring Crawley, Thiim and Porsche's director of GT Factory Motorsports Pascal Zurlinden on Spotify here.

 

Factory Aston Martin driver Nicki Thiim expects Le Mans to be a “completely different race” this year, and warned that rainfall during extended night hours could make things tricky for the drivers.

“I was talking with my father [DTM champion Kurt] about it yesterday if it gets pushed that far back it’s gonna be a completely different race to what we are used to seeing in summer,” Thiim told the same WEC podcast.

“I must say that the darkness for us, the issue is more like temperatures gonna be different and some change of weather could maybe come into play. 

“It’s going to rain at a certain point. Obviously rain in the dark is not the easiest condition to drive in but it’s the same for everyone. 

“If we get those really really cold conditions on top of that, that’s where the whole team has to come together and figure out a plan how to get the best balance and performance out of it.”

shares
comments
Insight: What’s the future for the Le Mans 24h and WEC?

Previous article

Insight: What’s the future for the Le Mans 24h and WEC?

Next article

The ingrained failure motorsport must fix to avoid 'turf wars'

The ingrained failure motorsport must fix to avoid 'turf wars'
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021