The ACO will introduce a new two-stage qualifying format for the 24 Hours of Le Mans that will result in a total of six cars battling for each class pole position, beginning with next year’s race.
The knockout style format will feature a 45-minute qualifying session on Wednesday evening where 24 cars, the six best in each class, will advance to the ‘Hyperpole’ on Thursday.
The Hyperpole session, set for 9 p.m. on Thursday, will last for 30 minutes, with the single fastest lap from each car determining the front-end of the grid.
Competitors will not be allowed to return to their garages during the session but will have a free choice of tires within the limit of their tire allocation for qualifying and the race.
“With this new qualifying format and the Hyperpole showdown for the fastest 24 competitors – six from each of the four classes – we are guaranteeing two exciting sessions for both drivers and spectators, where all the focus will be on sheer speed in a quest for the perfect lap,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.
“Adrenalin, suspense and concentration will be at a max for every team out there.
“It will be a thrilling prelude to the ensuing 24-hour battle on our iconic 13 km track. Le Mans will once again be a celebration of racing that goes on for several days, and not just a weekend.”
It marks a significant change in the previous qualifying format, which had featured three two-hour qualifying sessions spread over the two days of track activity that has now largely been turned into free practice sessions.
The revised schedule can be found below:
3:30-8 p.m.- Free Practice
10-11 p.m. – Free Practice 2
11:15 p.m.-12 a.m. – Qualifying
5-7 p.m.- Free Practice 3
9-9:30 p.m. – Hyperpole
10 p.m.-12 a.m.- Free Practice 4