Le Mans update: Track adds pit space for future ‘innovative’ entry

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It’s not just talk over at Le Mans.

The track is adding more space in its pit lane, which will allow for an extra reserve car this year but, more notably, will be used in 2011 for a special “innovative” entry.

Here’s the somewhat tortured translation up at the Le Mans site:

The Le Mans 24-Hours organizers have been thinking about increasing the capacity of the pits of their big circuit (13,629 Km), the longest in Europe. The FIA regulations allow the Le Mans circuit to accept more cars on the track provided that there are more pits.

Thus, the ACO and the ‘Syndicat Mixte du circuit des 24 heures’ have begun building a 56th pit. It will be located in the space available between the pit building and the extension added in 2008, and will be ready on 4th June 2010.

It wiil give a reserve the opportunity to race in 2010, and the following year the new pit will enable the ACO to invite a team presenting a specific and innovative project in addition to the usual 55 entries for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

RACE PERFORMANCE: 1ST RESERVE AFTER THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE RESERVE SPYKER
The Spyker Squadron team (N°86) has decided to withdraw from its position as first reserve.

Faced with the lack of a reserve, l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest held a meeting of its Selection Committee to choose a new reserve among the 84 entries it received. The Committee has nominated a new reserve:

Faced with the lack of a reserve, l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest held a meeting of its Selection Committee to choose a new reserve among the 84 entries it received. The Committee has nominated a new reserve:

Team Race Performance (N°28) that has entered a Radical Judd SR9 in the LM P2 category for the following drivers: Pierre Bruneau / Marc Rostan / Ralph Meichtry.

This reserve can take the place of any withdrawal whatever the category.

Should a new need arise, the ACO will hold another meeting of the Selection Committee to nominate a second reserve.

Even without another withdrawal, the reserve car is almost certain to start the 78thLe Mans 24 Hours on 12th-13thJune.

Now, if I’m reading this right, this strikes me as a very interesting tactic. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is essentially creating an entry spot for a special 56th entry to the race. So that creates an attractive target for teams working on hybrid/hydrogen/Red Bull-powered cars.

I suppose the invited “56th” team will be from the usual ranks of racing, but I wonder if someone outside of the usual suspects might put an eye on that spot. Imagine the press for doing so. This creates a great prize for innovative design and technology.

Too bad Bernie can’t offer the same for the new of 2011.

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