Automobile Club de l’Ouest has released the time table for this years 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The time table for the 2020 edition had some quite significant changes anyway, compared to previous years, with the new Hyperpole concept being introduced, where the drivers only have a few laps to set a time, in of the previous years where they typically has had 6 hours or more to put in their best lap.
Sunday and Monday, prior to the race, will have the scrutineering at the circuit itself. The Tuesday will be like usual, with an autograph session from 17.00-18.30, before the real activities on the asphalt starts on the Wednesday.
FP1 will start at 13.00 and run for five hours, with FP2 following at 20.00-23.00. All rookie drivers, and those who haven’t competed in the race during the last five years, are demanded to do at least 10 laps. From 23.15 to 00.00 will be reserved for qualifying.
Thursday will start out with another Free Practice from 17.00-18.00, with the Hyperpole being run from 20.00 to 20.30. The Thursday ends with three hours of free running from 21.00 to 00.00. All drivers will have to do a minimum of 8 laps during the “dark” sessions, whereas the previous demand was 5. This is due to the extra hours of running in the dark during the race, where the race will have just shy of 5 hours more in the dark. Some of the drivers haven’t done any race laps in the dark at all in previous years, but left that to the more experienced drivers. With just under 12 hours of night time running this year, all drivers will have to drive in the dark at some point, since no driver can do more than 4 hours within a 6-hour period.
Friday will have the free pitwalk for all the spectators, while the drivers parade is planned in the city centre from 17.00.
It will be an early start Saturday morning, with Warm Up starting 8.15, but will only have 15 minutes of running, which is a reduction by 30 minutes compared to normal. That makes it basically impossible to get all three drivers in the car during the Warm Up, unless you are an LMP1 team, doing only outlaps and coming straight back into the pits again. So only fine tuning of the car can be done this year, or bedding in the brakes – and if you hit any issues, you really have a problem!
The cars will go on track at 12.15, with the start of the race being 14.30.
The details regarding the support categories will be released on a later date, but we already know that the Road To Le Mans race with LMP3 and GT3 cars will be one of them. We are still waiting to see what else will race there, but there is just room for another single race during the Warm Up, and the 24 hours cars going on track.