Sunday 12 June 2016

PESAGE... A second bite of the cherry !

Following on from Kristof’s opening blog about Pesage here are a few other thoughts. Pesage literally translates as ‘weighing’ which is certainly part of the process but in most places around the World, like the UK for example, it is better known as ‘scrutineering’. Maybe just as important as the scrutineering bit is the idea that this tradition brings the cars right into the centre of Le Mans city getting them very close indeed to the fans, much closer than they will ever see them at the circuit and of course it is free. 

Sadly day one of Pesage has been messed up by the weather and Le Place de la République  is looking a little empty with many fewer fans than we normally see. Pity it has been raining pretty hard on and off all day! Today is Sunday so hopefully things will cheer up tomorrow.

The process is taken very seriously, just as it should be, but the cars have already been rigourously ‘scrutineered’ for technical matters and of course safety, even before the cars set out onto circuit for testing. Also the LMP1 cars go through further scrutiny again on Tuesday but that is back at the Circuit. So we are involved in a bit of ‘show business’ and a great show it is too. We can’t recall a car failing scrutineering , no doubt it has happened at some point but we have no record of it !

Another bonus for the spectators is the fact that Le Mans’ excellent tram service brings you right into the square. Us ‘Brits’ do wonder why we abandoned the tram idea in city centres years ago but at least they are now creeping back.

Pesage is also a chance for spectators and fans to get a good look at the drivers. Apart of course from The Driver’s Parade on Friday afternoon, all they normally see are Les Pilotes  ‘suited, booted’ and wearing a crash helmet. It maybe also gives ‘Rookie’ drivers their first real sense of quite what they have got involved in. The derivation of the word Rookie is unclear but it might go back to around 1890 when military newcomers were called ‘recruits’ and this evolved into ‘rookie’..

The timetable for scrutineering has slightly been changed, both Alpines now closing off on Monday. Download the new schedule here.

Jock Simpson