The ACO today revealed the entry list for the 80th edition of the 24 Heures Du Mans. The biggest surprise are the two Pescarolo entries, The Pescarolo 03 is actually based on the ill-fated Aston Martin AMR-One while the second car is an updated Dome S102.5. No enough of talking, check out the full list and news below. 2012 LE MANS 24 HOURS Imagination to the fore! Imagination and passion will be the predominant themes of the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours. With the arrival in force of hybrid engines, the healthy state of the prototypes, a dream GT field, and an avant-garde car, the blue riband event of the new FIA World Endurance Championship promises to be an absolutely thrilling race. The three biggest motor car manufacturers in the world will all be at Le Mans in June 2012. General Motors, back again in the no. 1 spot in 2011, has entered its Corvettes under its own name and is aiming to score another victory in the GT category; VAG, now in second place behind the American company, will be defending its 2011 success with Audi while Toyota, also in the top 3, is back at Le Mans after a 12-year break with a revolutionary prototype. The greatest names in the world of the motor car are still attracted by the lure of Le Mans as much as ever. To the above-mentioned trio can be added famous manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche, Lotus, Aston Martin, Honda (via its American arm Honda Performance Development) Nissan (as engine supplier) and the much-loved Morgan, a niche make, also making its official comeback. These heavy hitters in the car industry will have to do battle against private teams without which Le Mans wouldn’t be Le Mans: they will again be taking to the track while cocking a snoop at statistics. The magnetic attraction of the greatest endurance event in the world will give rise to an another absolutely awesome event in 2012 – the 80th - as proved by the list of 56 entries (15 LM P1s, 18 LM P2s, 9 LM GTE Pros, 13 LM GTE AMs and the car in the 56th pit) announced on 2nd February 2012. Jean-Claude Plassart, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “In 2012, the Le Mans 24 Hours will, more than ever before, pursue its vocation as a test bed for the most daring innovators and visionary manufacturers. Thus, Audi and Toyota will cross swords with hybrid-powered cars, the new challenge of the eightieth race. Among the fifty-six entries the three major manufacturers in the world (GM, VAG and Toyota) will all be represented by works cars: proof that the values of endurance which combine technology, sporting spirit, passion, openess and popularity are flourishing as never before!” The selection process of the entrants chosen for the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours was spread out over several major rendezvous. At the end of the 2011 season on 13th November with the Zhuhai 6 Hours (CHI), those invited were already known taking into account their 2011 results in the Le Mans 24 Hours (4 invitations), at the end of the ALMS (4 invitations) and LMS (9 invitations) Championships, the Petit Le Mans (4 invitations) and the Michelin Green X Challenge (4 invitations). Entries opened on 19th December when all teams that were potential candidates could send in their forms to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. Closing date for entries was midnight 31th January 2012. The list was finalized on 1st February 2012 with 15 LM P1s, 18 LM P2s, 9 LM GTE Pros, 13 LM GTE AMs and the car in the 56th pit. It was made public on 2nd February 2012. Vincent Beaumesnil, the ACO Sports Manager: “Once again the field for the 2012 Le Mans 24 hours is of an exceptional level. All fifty-six cars selected are top-class quality contenders from a technical and sporting point of view. This year the predominance of LM P1 and LM P2 prototypes should be underlined, in particular the latter. The regulations, which cap costs in this category, have resulted in a raft of entries from manufacturers and private teams in almost equal measure. Like the ILMC in 2011, the FIA World Endurance Championship is a real driving force behind the entries for the Le Mans 24 Hours. To race in the world championship, first of all you have to compete at Le Mans! The homogeneity of the field already points to an 80th Le Mans 24 Hours that will be more exciting than ever.” Note that two lists of reserves for a total of nine cars have been drawn up: one in LM P (five cars) and one in LM GT (four cars). THE MAJOR TRENDS IN 2012 Since 1923, the Le Mans 24-Hours race has been the most grueling test bed for motor car manufacturers. This is even more the case this year with the accent on hybrid prototypes, as two major manufacturers have entered two each. More than ever the Le Mans 24 Hours is in step with the times. The hybrid is the main talking point Four hybrid-powered LM P1 prototypes will start the Le Mans 24 Hours. These four cars are the fruit of the work carried out by two of the three biggest motor car manufacturers in the world. What’s at stake between Audi and Toyota can be easily summed up – which one will be the first to win the Le Mans 24 Hours with a hybrid engine? The Japanese giant has taken up the gauntlet thrown down by last year’s race winner and will enter two completely new cars, the TS 030 Hybrids. Audi with two victories on the trot in the Sarthe behind it is also working flat out on this new technology, and has asked for two entries for its R18 with this type of engine. Nonetheless, the German make has also entered two updated versions of the R18 that won in 2011. The battle that is looming between Audi and Toyota perpetuates the great Sarthe tradition of pitiless duels over 24 Hours. However, the Swiss team Hope Racing will go down in history as having entered the first hybrid-powered prototype in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The team is back again this year but on the reserve list. Outsiders better armed than ever by the Japanese giants Ambitious teams also have the right equipment to get involved in the forthcoming duel thanks to the major Japanese manufacturers. The two new Honda Performance Development ARX 03as entered by the JRM and Strakka Racing outfits can set the battle ablaze at the head of the pack. In 2011, on its maiden outing a car like this finished second overall in the Sebring 12 Hours battling throughout the race with the diesel-engined Audi and Peugeot prototypes. These two cars have the potential to fight at the front thanks to their very experienced drivers like David Brabham, a former Le Mans 24 Hours winner, their in-depth knowledge of the sport and an engine with plenty of power. With Toyota back with works cars after a 12-year break and also supporting Rebellion Racing as an engine supplier (but with normal motors), the return of the quick Dyson Racing squad with Mazda power (among its drivers, Guy Smith, winner in 2003), Honda’s growing involvement with two very competitive cars plus Nissan’s increased support of Signatech in LM P2, the Japanese manufacturers have again shown their attachment to the Le Mans 24 Hours. Pescarolo sees double! Henri Pescarolo’s team was back in 2011 with one car, and this year Henri has entered two prototypes in the top category. Since 1996, except for 2010, this team has always been among the front-runners whether with Courage chassis, its own design or a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. Last year Pescarolo looked on course for an excellent result until a sudden rain storm sent the car off the road when sixth place beckoned for the resurrected French team. Pescarolo will be present with two cars for the 2012 event, the brand-new Pescarolo 03-H Judd and a Judd-powered Dome on behalf of the eponymous Japanese manufacturer. This car is an updated version of the one seen at Le Mans in 2008. Finally, Oak Racing has entered an LM P1, an evolution of the Pescarolo chassis. The car finished the 2011 season on a high note and cannot be discounted due to its skilled driver line-up. The three biggest motor manufacturers in the world at the start Thanks to the LM P and GTE categories the 24-Hours regulations provide the ideal opening to enable the major motor car manufacturers to find just the right balance between their sporting and commercial aims. Thus, Audi, Toyota and Morgan - also making its comeback – have given priority to the prototype categories, while Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin have entered the LM GTE categories on a works basis through satellite teams. This year the three biggest car manufacturers (end of 2011) in the world will do battle: GM with Corvette, VAG with Audi, and Toyota. Note that the fourth-largest company Renault-Nissan is the official engine supplier for the Signatech-Nissan. LM P2, the best-subscribed category Eighteen prototypes have been selected in LM P2, seven more than in 2011! The regulations capping the costs* and guaranteeing a level playing field have attracted a large number of private teams or those backed directly by manufacturers like Nissan with Signatech. The latter won the 2011 ILMC and has entered two Oreca O3s. Greaves Motorsport, last year’s winner in the Sarthe, has not one but two Zytek Z11s with Judd power. Also entered is Level 5 Motorsports, which put on a stunning performance in the ILMC in 2011, plus new outfits like Gulf Racing Middle East (raced in LM GTE Am last year) with a couple of Lola B12s, Lotus, which has also entered a Lola with an in-house engine, etc. The LM P2 category plays its role as the perfect link between the different Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours as several of the teams entered (Greaves, Boutsen, Ginion Racing, Level 5) are also competing in the ELMS or the ALMS. There are six different chassis and four different types of engine in this category, which has never been so well supported. *To reduce costs the sales price of a complete new car, without engine, must not exceed 345 00 euros. Morgan is back Fifty years after the 1962 victory of a Morgan Plus 4 Super Sport in the 1601-2000 cc category (total distance covered: 3629,288 km at an average speed of 151,220 km/h) the British manufacturer, the Morgan Motor Company, is back in the Sarthe with a works entry thanks to its partnership with French team, OAK Racing. The 2012 LM P2 OAK-Pescarolos have become the Morgan LM P2s, which will be built by the construction department of OAK Racing, Onroak Automotive, based at Le Mans. This partnership opens up the door for the future Morgans to be a step ahead of their rivals in terms of cutting-edge technology with carbon fibre and state-of-the-art aerodynamics, the preponderant aspects of the LM P2s. Two cars will race in the Le Mans 24 Hours with Judd power. LM GTE: on-going success Since last year the GTE categories at Le Mans have been combined into a single group with the LM GTEs divided into two classes: LM GTE Pro – with professional drivers – and LM GTE Am (cars from the previous season with only one professional on board). Last year Corvette won in the Sarthe after a titanic battle with Ferrari and BMW. General Motors – recently back in the no. 1 spot in terms of the total volume of cars produced – is determined to repeat this feat with its two works C6 ZR1s in GTE Pro and two more semi-works entries in GTE Am run by Larbre Competition. Ferrari, which dominated the ILMC season in LM GTE Pro thanks to its new F458 Italia, is again giving its official backing to AF Corse in its new assault on Le Mans. The Italian team has entered four cars (two in Pro and two in Am). Taking on these two is Aston Martin with a brace of works Vantages (one in Pro and one in Am) after its disappointing 2011 season with its LM P1. Porsche too will be out to beat the afore-mentioned with its satellite teams and works drivers whose aim will be to restore their 911 RSRs to their former glory. 56th pit: the Delta Wing confirmed The American Delta Wing project will occupy the 56th pit on the Le Mans circuit pit lane. Traditionally speaking increases in performances in racing are usually achieved by upping the power of the engines and aero downforce, while the Delta Wing’s design’s aim is to reduce all forms of consumption (fuel, oil, tyres) but without cutting performance. This car has a long plunging nose and is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine putting out 300 bhp at 8000 rpm, and the downforce is generated by the underbody only. The Delta Wing has been designed to achieve a very low weight (475 kg) without additional wings. This car in the LM P1 category will run outside the overall classification, but it must comply with all the guarantees of safety required by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to be accepted for qualifying. Note that the Green GT, one of the three candidate projects for the 56th pit, can run its hydrogen-powered car at the test day on 3rd June 2012. THE 2012 INNOVATIONS A quick round-up of the main changes, evolution of the regulations, agenda, infrastructures, etc for the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours. Regulations For 2012 the safety of all the prototypes has been improved, and the equivalences between the different types of engines in the LM P1 cars entered for the Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American Le Mans Series and European Le Mans Series Championships have been readjusted. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA gave an undertaking after the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours concerning the technical regulations and have been working in three particular areas: 1. The equivalences between diesel and petrol engines In this context, the ACO and the FIA carried out a wide-ranging study to analyze the performances of the cars, and then to decide on the appropriate measures to be taken. A number of tools were used in the context of this survey: readings by timing systems specially installed at Spa-Francorchamps and at Le Mans, some of which the teams entered for the Spa-Francorchamps 1000 km (7th May 2011) and the Le Mans 24 Hours (11-12 June 2011) were unaware of, the information provided by the data loggers installed on the cars and all the times recorded on the different circuits. In addition, the engineers were contacted and asked to provide under guaranteed secrecy all the technical information about their engine. Finally, all these data and analyses were restudied, interpreted and validated to calculate the new equivalences. Results All the refuelling equipment will have the same flow. No modifications will be made to the petrol engines in 2012. The performance of the diesel engines will be pegged back by around 7% by decreasing the size of the air restrictors and the supercharger pressure. The diameter of the restrictors will be reduced from 47.4 mm to 45.8 mm for engines that have a single restrictor, and from 33.5 mm to 32.4 mm for those engines that have two. In addition, the supercharger pressure of the turbos will be reduced from 3 000 to 2 800 milibars. The fuel tank capacity of diesel-engined LM P1 cars will be reduced by 5 litres (65 to 60 litres). 2. Safety Following the accidents in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours, the ACO and the FIA have had fresh discussions, and have carried out new tests to improve the safety of the cars, the first priority of the FIA-ACO regulations. The following measures will come into force for the 2012 season. Generalization of the dorsal element on the engine cover, the shark’s fin, will become mandatory on all LM P1and LM P2 prototypes, and openings will be made above the front and rear wheels. To improve rearward visibility (with the exception of the LM P1s), the size of the rearview mirrors will be increased, and they must be equipped with a night mode plus an electrical adjustment system that enables the driver in the cockpit to alter the rearview mirrors to suit his needs. The camera system at the rear will be mandatory on LM GTE cars and authorized on all the others. 3. Hybrid engines Energy can be released to the front wheels but only above 120 km/h. Safety measures concerning the specific braking requirements for hybrid engines have also been defined. Race control Daniel Poissenot will be the Clerk of the Course of the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours for the twelfth time in succession. Eduardo Freitas, Clerk of the Course for all the FIA World Endurance Championship races, will occupy the same post at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Test Day After two years’ interruption in 2009 and 2010, the 2011 test day took place on 24th April, six weeks before the start of the 79th Le Mans 24 Hours. The choice of an earlier date was due to the introduction of new technical regulations. This year it is being held nearer the event itself – on 3rd June 2012. This will enable the teams to set up house inside the Le Mans circuit, and they will not have to dismantle their installations before the blue riband event of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. Participation in the test day - free practice, in fact - is not obligatory except for drivers, teams and/or cars that have never raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours before. It is open to 76 cars maximum, and this means that teams not entered for Le Mans like the Formula Le Mans outfits (the FLMs are not allowed to take part in the 24 Hours), will be able to run on this legendary track just for sheer pleasure! Sébastien Loeb Racing should be present in this category and he 8-time Rally World Champion will probably be at the wheel. Scrutineering and admin checks will take place on Friday 1st June between 09h00 and 18h00 and on Saturday from 09h00 to 15h00 inside the circuit. Free practice will be held on Sunday 3rd June from 09h00 to 13h00 and then from 14h00 to 18h00.. The Le Mans 24-Hours week’s agenda Scrutineering: again on Sunday Given the huge popular success of scrutineering on Sunday, an innovation introduced in 2010 and repeated in 2011, scrutineering and admin checks will start on Sunday 10th June at 14h30 and finish at 19h00. On the second day (Monday 11th June) they will take place between 10h00 and 18h00. Drivers’ autograph signing session Tuesday 12th June at 17h00. Evening practice As in 2011, the practice timetable is as follows: Wednesday 13th June: Free practice from 16h00 till 20h00, qualifying from 22h00 till midnight. Thursday 14th June: qualifying from 19h00 till 21h00 and from 22h00 till midnight. Drivers’ Parade The Drivers’ Parade is now a permanent feature of the Le Mans 24-Hours week. It will again take place in the Le Mans town centre on Friday 15th June between 18h00 and 19h00.. Curtain raisers - Group C As in 2010, there will be a race for the fabulous Group C prototypes, and the spectators will see cars in action that shone in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the 80s/early 90s. Two years ago victory went to Justin Law in a Jaguar XJR9 after a thrilling battle with Gareth Evans in his Nissan R88C. Motor Racing Legends is again organizing the event in partnership with Group C Racing, and the 2012 race will see thirty of the leading endurance cars of the 80s doing battle including Sauber-Mercedes, Porsche 962s, Jaguar XJR9s, Spices, a March-Chevrolet, Ford C100s etc. As always this race will be a huge success with the crowd. Aston Martin After Porsche in 2010 and Ferrari in 2011 it is the turn of Aston Martin, another emblematic make of the Le Mans 24 Hours, to come and race on the big circuit. In the event for the marvellous cars from Abingdon GT3S and GT4s, Vantage GT4s and N24s will go head-to-head as will the DBR9 GT3s and the new Vantage GT3s, which will be homologated in 2012. Qualifying practice on Thursday and Friday and a 45-minute race on the big Le Mans 24-Hours circuit provide a full action-packed supporting programme. Start of the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday 16th June 2012 at 15h00. The circuit environment Resurfacing the Hunaudières straight Between 18th July and 5th August 2011 the Hunaudières straight was resurfaced over 5,4 km between the Tertre Rouge and Mulsanne corners, except for a short section around the Mulsanne hump. The work was carried out by the Colas Company after a tender put out by the ‘Syndicat Mixte du Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans’ under the supervision of the Sarthe General Council. The surface, which dated from 1988, was removed to a depth of 4 cm and then resurfaced with a warm coating called coating 3E* (environmental, economical in energy) and laid at temperatures 40 to 45° lower than normal coatings. This reduction in temperature led to energy savings of between 15 and 25% and a reduction of 20% in greenhouse gasses. This new coating has been specially designed for the circuit to provide enhanced grip. In addition, the resurfacing follows the circuit layout and there is no break at the chicanes as was previously the case. As well as this work, the kerbs in the chicanes were entirely redone and they are now flush with the new surface. A gravel trap at Arnage The famous Arnage corner will have a new run-off area, a gravel trap of almost 550m2 on the outside of the bend. However, this tricky right-angled slow corner will not be modified in order to preserve the unique layout of the Le Mans 24-Hours circuit.