Thursday 16 June 2016

ACO press conference highlights

The headline from the press conference of most interest to race fans is the announcement of the date of the 24 hours in 2017 - 17-18 June.

© ACO/Dominique Breugnot

ACO chief executive Frédéric Lénart presented a number of innovations this year to benefit visitors to the 24 hours including the new social network portal 'my ACO', the French air force exhibit, the 'virtual room' experience and the 'On Site' phone app. He also mentioned the new Safer barriers at Porsche Curves and the modified spectator area at Arnage.

FIA Technical Delegate; Bernard Niclot and  Technical Director Vincent Beaumesnil presented the roadmap for changes to regulations for 2017, 2018 and beyond. 

Aero changes:
* In P1 front splitter height increased by 15mm & rear diffuser size reduced by 50mm
* In P1 non hybrid - rear wing & chord increased in size & front bodywork increased in width + minimum weight to be 830kgs + single fuel flow meter + no limit on number of engines or cubic capacity

* 10 megajoule class will be introduced 
* 3 ERS (energy recovery) systems will be allowed 
* DRS may be introduced
* 80mm increase in roof height to help taller drivers
* New side crush structure introduced & stricter crash tests
* Allocated amount of fuel decreased by 8%

Alex Wurz has been appointed Grand Marshal for 2016 in the footsteps of Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen. He spoke of his history with Joest Racing and his debut win in 1996. He was asked to make predictions for this year,"It is going to be interesting, each manufacturer has issues, no one is confident. Pressure on drivers is high and errors are a factor... but the real winners are the fans"

Jacques Nicolet  was awarded the Spirit of Le Mans trophy for 2016. He was presented with the award by Miss 24 hours Cécile Fourrier and gave an emotional acceptance speech in which he described the prize as the "Légion d'honneur of endurance racing".

Dave Davies.