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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

WEC’s tyre hotter ban could also be lifted at Le Mans once more in 2024

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WEC boss Frederic Lequien has revealed that the prohibition on pre-heating tyres within the pits earlier than they’re placed on the automotive is underneath evaluation on security grounds for the double-points spherical of the sequence in June.

It follows the reversal of the ban launched for environmental causes firstly of 2023 season on a one-off foundation for Le Mans this yr after a spate of accidents involving vehicles leaving the pits on chilly tyres on the earlier spherical of the sequence at Spa in April.

“For the second the choice will not be taken for Le Mans,” Lequien mentioned.

“We have to focus on many times to verify it’s doable.”

Lequien defined that there have been a number of components why tyre heaters is likely to be allowed for Le Mans, regardless of the ban being in place for the remainder of the eight-race WEC schedule.

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“Le Mans could be very particular due to the differentials in temperature [between day and night], additionally the totally different classes and likewise the variations in driver talent,” he mentioned.

“If you exit the pitlane at three within the evening and the temperatures are fairly low, it’s doable, however the drivers have to adapt to this, and for this we’d like time.”

He additionally identified that the Le Mans grid subsequent yr will incorporate three lessons quite than the 2 of the remainder of the schedule when LMP2 returns following its removing from the complete championship.

It will exacerbate issues brought on by the pace differentials between the lessons, which might be additional elevated when a automotive leaving the pits on tyres that have not been pre-heated is approached by a automotive already in control on heat rubber.

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

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Lequien burdened that there have been no plans to reintroduce the pre-heating of tyres for different rounds of the championship.

“I can inform you for the remainder of the season, we’ll take away the tyre heaters, no query,” he mentioned.

The sporting laws for the 2024 WEC have already been revealed, which forbid the ”use of any thermal or warmth retention system”.

Due to the precise nature of Le Mans and the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, the 24 Hours has its personal set of supplementary laws protecting sporting issues.

These have but to be revealed for 2024 and are sometimes launched in November or December.

The brand new rule on tyre heating proved controversial from the outset firstly of 2023, with drivers stating the hazards of leaving the pits on chilly rubber.

It was implicated in James Calado’s accident within the new Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercar through the pre-season Prologue take a look at at Sebring in March.

The British driver questioned the rule change, making prescient feedback about what may occur when the WEC arrived in Spa in April.

“Are you able to think about popping out of the pits at Spa and heading into Eau Rouge when it is 5deg C?” he mentioned.

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Photograph by: Porsche

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Brendon Hartley crashed his Toyota GR010 HYBRID LMH at Raidillon on his out lap in qualifying for the Belgian occasion after which Antonio Fuoco went off straight out of the pits in his Ferrari 499P on chilly tyres through the race.

It was introduced in Might that the tyre heaters, sometimes ovens positioned behind every workforce’s pit, would be allowed for the centenary running of Le Mans.

Race organiser the Vehicle Membership de l’Ouest said that it needed to make sure that “drivers of all expertise ranges will be capable of compete within the most secure doable atmosphere no matter observe circumstances and temperatures”.

It added that the transfer would give the rubber suppliers (Michelin and Goodyear), groups and drivers “worthwhile time to develop higher understanding of easy methods to carry chilly tyres as much as temperature forward of the rest of the 2023 WEC season”.

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