Platinum rated drivers, those drivers who have held an F1 Super Licence, have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a professional category or won a major championship, are not permitted to take part in the MLMC.
Also, since the first season in 2016, the Michelin Le Mans Cup only permits Bronze rated drivers to take part in qualifying, with the exception of one of the two Road to Le Mans qualifying sessions.
So, what is the criteria for a Bronze driver? A Bronze rating is defined by the FIA as follows:
- Any driver who was over 30 years old when his/her first licence was issued, and who has little or no single-seater experience.
- Any driver over 30, previously categorised as Silver, but with no significant results (titles, pole positions or race wins) and whose performance has been shown to be that of a Bronze driver in a monitored series.
- Any driver under 30 years old with a licence issued for the first time during the same year as their first categorisation.
A Silver Rating is described by the FIA as any driver satisfying at least one or more of the following criteria:
- Driver aged under 30 and not satisfying the criteria of categories Platinum and Gold;
- Driver who has finished in 1st place in the general classification of regional or major national championships or international series, or has won a major endurance race;
- Driver who has won a non-professional drivers' series* (Ferrari Challenge, Maserati Trophy, Lamborghini Supertrophy, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge) or a regional, national or international single-make lower category series organised by a Manufacturer (not including Series which are restricted only to Bronze drivers);
- Has competed competitively in high-level international karting competitions;
- Is a driver whose average lap time has been consistently as fast or faster over the majority of the season than the average lap time of Silver drivers competing in the same event of the season (if this time factor was not taken into account, he would be categorised as Bronze);
- Is a driver who is actively involved in coaching and instructing;
- Driver whose performances and achievements, despite not being covered by one of the definitions above, may be considered as Silver by the FIA.
A Gold Rating is described by the FIA as any driver satisfying at least one or more of the following criteria:
- Satisfies one criterion from platinum;
- Has finished in the top 3 in the general classification of a secondary international single-seater series * (A1 GP, GP3, Renault V6, Superleague, Eurocup FR2.0, Firestone Indy Lights);
- Has won the general classification of a regional or national single-seater series * (F3, FR2.0, Atlantic Championship up to and including 2009, Euro V8 Series);
- Has competed in the FIA F2, GP2, GP3, FIA F3 or Super Formula series since 2012 and has finished on the podium on three or more occasions in one calendar season.
- Has finished in the top 3 in the general classification of the Porsche Supercup / DTM / Super GT (GT500 or GT300) / Stock Car Brasil (2016 onwards)
- Has won a major national Porsche Carrera Cup, TC Europe, TC2000 or the BTCC;
- Has finished in the top 3 in the general classification of the International V8 Supercars Championship;
- Has won a major GT series* (FIA GT, Blancpain GT Series (Pro), FIA GT1 World Championship, FIA GT3 European Championship, ADAC GT Masters, British GT Championship, Blancpain GT Series Asia, GT Asia) or category of a major Sportscar series* (ILMC, ELMS, ALMS, Asian Le Mans Series, WEC, IMSA Sportscar Championship) with driver(s) of a lower or the same categorisation; GT4 and LMP3 categories are not included.s
- Is a driver whose average lap time has been consistently as fast or faster over the majority of the season than the average lap time of Gold drivers competing in the same event of the season (if this time factor was not taken into account, he would be categorised as Silver);
- Is a driver whose main professional activity is based around motor sport, and whose performances and achievements, despite not being covered by one of the definitions above, may be considered as Gold by the FIA.
When a driver reaches a certain age their driver rating will be reduced, with some exceptions for active factory drivers and other criteria.
- The driver categorisation of a driver over 50 years old will be reduced by one grade for the season following his/her 50th birthday;
- The driver categorisation of a driver over 55 will be reduced by an additional grade for the season following his/her 55th birthday;
- A driver over 60 will be categorised Bronze for the season following his/her 60th birthday;