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ACO Evaluating Le Mans Entry Procedure, Grid Expansion

Entry selection changes, additional garages possible for 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

The ACO is considering making adjustments to its entry criteria for the 24 Hours of Le Mans after facing the “most difficult” selection processes in recent history.

The changes could also include an increase in the overall grid for the French endurance classic, potentially in time for the centenary edition in 2023.

The number of entry requests for this year’s race, which featured a number of high-profile teams on the reserve list, has prompted organizers to look at potential revised methods according to ACO President Pierre Fillon.

“We had 75 entries and only 60 garages,” Fillon said. “We had 46 [automatic] invitations with WEC and so on.

“For sure, it would be very difficult for us to eliminate 15 teams because they all deserve to be at the start of the race. It was very difficult and we are for sure very sad they were not on the line.”

When asked by Sportscar365 on the prospects of reducing the number of automatic invites in the future, Fillon indicated that changes may be considered.

A total of 15 possible auto invites are currently up for grabs between the various ACO series, along with any full-season FIA World Endurance Championship team, leaving limited space for invited entrants.  

“This is a good question and for sure we are thinking of how we can maybe improve the system of invitations. Maybe we have to have more garages,” Fillon said.

Plans for an all-new pit complex, to be built in phases, could result in an expansion of the grid in the years to come.

The most recent expansion to 60 cars came in 2016, with the construction of four additional garages at pit out.

“For sure [the new pit complex] will be finished for the centenary of the 24 Hours,” Fillon said.

“We have to manage the work step by step. We are working well with local authorities and have a solution. But it will be the ACO that finances it.”

Beaumesnil: This Year the “Most Difficult” Entry Selection Yet

ACO sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil, a longtime member on the selection committee, admitted this year’s process was the toughest one yet in his time with the organization.

The ACO had come under fire for placing United Autosports’ second Ligier JS P217 Gibson and an all-female-crewed LMP2 entry from Meyer Shank Racing on the reserve list.

“Every year something happens different, you cannot always anticipate what will happen but for sure we will take experience of what happens,” Beaumesnil said.

“[Myself] and the ACO have been doing that for 12 years now and it was by far the most difficult selection committee we’ve ever had, for sure.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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