Sunday 9 June 2019

Le Mans: 'Pesage' day one.

Under unexpectedly clear blue sky, the first cars of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2019 began made the slow lap of the place de La République during the process of driver sign-on and scrutineering that is known in French as 'pesage' (literally 'weighing').

The #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca was the first to go through scrutineering on Sunday

In years gone by there was a risk that some cars may fall foul of the scrutineer's inspection but these days with Test Day only two weeks before the race, and consequently the cars having all been recently inspected, the chance of failure is very low. The worst we can expect is a rookie driver or two turning up with incomplete documentation, but even those problems will most likely be ironed out before the cars hit the track for the first free practice session on Wednesday afternoon.

The spectacle of 'pesage' is mainly for the local people of Le Mans.  Only the most intrepid race fans turn up a full week before the race.  That said, the party atmosphere in the square is well worth experiencing of you can make it. It is free to attend and you get as close to the cars at any time during the run-up to the 24 Hours. The traditional location in the city used to be the square in front of the cathedral, but in the last few years scrutineering has been in the nearby Place de la République.

While we were walking through from the underground parking to the square, Tony Light noticed with moderate alarm that the bronze hand-prints of winning drivers that have decorated the pedestrian streets in the area for decades were (mostly) missing and the scars filled with tarmac. It appears that the streets are in the process of re-paving and the bronze plates have been removed for safe-keeping (phew).

Despite the sky clouding over at about 3pm, the proceedings remained dry for the entire event, y with the sun peeking through the clouds late in the afternoon.  The rain that had been forecasted for the day apparently waited until late at night to fall down over Le Mans.

© Craig Robertson -

14 teams, with a total of 22 cars went through scrutineering today, including a few of the "big" teams in the paddock.  Last year's overall winners Toyota and LMGTE Pro winners were popular, but one of the more exciting novelties of the day was the "art car" livery on both Rebellion Racing LMP1's.

Calim Bouhadra, CEO of Rebellion Racing gave us an insight on the rather colourful designs on both the R13's: “We have immediately liked the true contemporary artist flair of RocketByz. When we get started talking about our Le Mans collaboration, everything was going fast and very strong between us, as we share this Rebel DNA with RocketByz. It is so exciting and challenging to introduce our art car and all our new artistic branding in the motorsport playground and make it happen during the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. I hope we will talk about REBELLION Racing not only for this fantastic artistic collaboration but also for our race results.”

“This bright sense of “having great time” is where we found out our synergy with REBELLION. Why fit when you are born to stand out is a description that is spot on in regard to RocketByz as well as Rebellion. Making no compromises in creating and designing unique and limited art is the common underlying force that puts the extra in this extraordinary partnership. Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.” explains Tomboy, the artist who created the livery on the cars.

Amongst the other teams presenting their cars today were Racing Team Nederland, in their final race with the Dallara LMP2 before switching to the Oreca 07 next season and Corvette celebrating its 20th anniversary at La Sarthe with many more come as Doug Fehan said "as long as we keep getting this kind of support of the people in Le Mans, we'll keep coming back"

Kessel Racing was also present with both Ferrari's in their special Le Mans livery, including the #83 FIA Women in Motorsport all female line-up, as was Villorba Corse who will be running their Dallara in the FIA WEC as from September on.  Local team Graff headed the French teams who went through scrutineering today, followed by Larbre Competition, Panis-Barthez Competition and IDEC Sport.

© Craig Robertson -

Part 2 of Scrutineering is set for Monday, including the likes of SMP Racing, AF Corse, BMW, Aston Martin, Dragonspeed and Dempsey-Proton Racing.  First car in will be the ARC Bratislava Ligier at 10 am. The whole day of scrutineering will be streamed live on the ACO youtube channel or below:

Text: Dave Davies & Kristof Vermeulen
Pictures: Kristof Vermeulen, JellyBaby.Media and Craig Robertson

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