Picture © JEP/ LMC
LMC - 27/04/2020 - Sophie LIGER
In Michelin Le Mans Cup, the qualifying sessions are made by class: 15 minutes for the GT3 and 15 minutes for the LMP3. Unlike in European Le Mans Series, only the Bronze drivers can take part in qualifying sessions. The only exception is at the Road To Le Mans event where there are two qualifying sessions, one for each race and only the second one is reserved for Bronze drivers.
After qualifying, the teams have to declare which driver will take the start of the race. There are no restrictions concerning the categorisation. A Bronze, a Silver or a Gold driver can take the start of every race, including Road To Le Mans.
In Michelin Le Mans Cup, unlike Formula 1 for example, we have “rolling starts”. Before the gridwalk, all the cars go out of the pits, do one lap and then go to their grid position. The pits stay open for about 5 minutes in case any car need to go back. Once the pits are closed all cars should be on the grid. Once the gridwalk is done and all the fans and team members are evacuated the cars start their engines and the formation lap can begin.
During this formation lap, the drivers take the opportunity to keep their tyres warm for the start by weaving side-to-side, but they need to stay in grid position. Once the start line is getting closer the race directors ask to the drivers to fill in the gaps between all the cars in order to have a perfect line of cars for the start. Once the lights are green and the cars have passed the starting line, the 2 hours race begins, and the drivers can start passing each other.
It’s now well-known that in Motorsport, either in Endurance, Formula 1 or Moto GP we spray champagne on the podium. This tradition of spraying champagne by the drivers standing on the podium and also on the fans and team members at the bottom, started in Le Mans in 1967.
That year, Dan Gurney, with his teammate A.J Foyt, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of a Ford GT40. They made history by offering to Ford its second overall win in a row at Le Mans. During the podium, Gurney took his bottle of champagne and decided to open it and spray it all over the podium but also on Henry Ford II (CEO of the Ford Motor Company), Carol Shelby (Team Owner) and their wives that were at the bottom of the podium. The fans and everybody around loved it and it became a tradition that is now followed in all the Motorsport industry.
At the beginning of every season, when they are completing their entry form, the teams can choose their numbers. The priority is given to the teams that were already in the championship the previous year. If the number they want is already taken, the organiser proposes a list of available numbers from which the team can choose.
Unlike in ELMS or in WEC, there are no restrictions according to the category, the teams can choose any number they wish up to 99.
In Motorsport, the car in pole position is the first placed car at the start of a race, or the first placed car of its class after the qualifying sessions. However, this term does not come from the motorsport industry but from the horseracing world. In horseracing, for a race with a mass start, the number 1 horse, which means that he is in first position for the start, is placed inside the track, next to the inside pole. And this is how the term “Pole Position” was born.
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