Alpine pushing on with A424 development
After an initial shakedown in August, Alpine and Signatech have been busy making adjustments to the A424 at the Aragon racetrack.Read the article
24h Le Mans
The 13.629 km (8.469 miles) covered by today
Hopes are high as every driver crosses the start line on the Saturday at 3 p.m. However, only those who manage to overcome all the hazards inherent in such a long race will experience the joy of being shown the chequered flag 24 hours later.
The famous Dunlop Bridge, which straddles the curve of the same name, is synonymous with Le Mans. The Dunlop Curve has been altered over the course of the 82 editions of the race, but still offers spectators a stunning view.
After negotiating the Dunlop Curve, the cars drop down to the Forest Esses section, created in the 1930s, before entering Tertre Rouge. At night, the drivers are plunged into darkness from this point.
Tertre Rouge can be extremely challenging especially as a fast exit from this right-hander is essential to maximise speed coming into the long Mulsanne Straight.
Although the Mulsanne Straight - known by the French as the Ligne Droite des Hunaudières - has not been totally “straight” since 1990 when two chicanes were introduced, it still gives drivers a moment’s respite before tackling the most technical part of the circuit.
Previously unchanged since 1986 when a right-hand kink was created to avoid a new roundabout, Mulsanne has seen its grass verges asphalted this year. It offers a spectacular vantage point, especially at night when brake discs can be seen glowing in the dark.
The cars reach top speed between Mulsanne and Indianopolis, an S-bend that is quick to sanction any errors in the approach to Arnage.
This is the slowest part of the circuit with a right-angled corner leading into a recently redesigned straight. Here too, brakes spark like a thousand stars in the night sky as the drivers try desperately to accelerate away as quickly as possible.
Many drivers’ favourite part of the track. The most intrepid attempt to drive almost flat-out through here. Changes have been made to the kerbs in this section for the 83rd Edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours with larger runoff areas.
The layout of this near-straight between the Porsche Curves and the connecting corner dates back to the 1970s when the old Maison Blanche road was abandoned.
This is in fact a series of two chicanes. The first dates back to the late sixties and is a direct consequence of the duel between Ford and Ferrari, while the second was added in the early seventies. This corner feeds into the Pit Straight and we’re off for another lap!
To be continued...
Cécile Bonardel / ACO - Translation by David Goward
PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY 14 JUNE, THE RACE. Cars drive under the Dunlop Bridge before approaching the Forest Esses.