Circuit de la Sarthe
8.469 miles / 13.629 km
2.600 miles / 4.185 km
Maison Blanche Circuit 1
Maison Blanche Circuit 2
Maison Blanche Circuit 3
Maison Blanche Circuit 4
Maison Blanche Circuit 5
The Circuit de La Sarthe at Le Mans has become one of the classic courses in use around the world, thanks in large part to the 24 hour endurance race, which has seen it become world famous. It is an unusual venue in that it is part street circuit and part permanent motorsport facility. Orginally the full course was all public road but over the years the circuit has evolved. While there have been many improvements in safety over the years, the circuit's essential character remains. Today Le Mans is in fact two courses; the famed 24 hour course, which still incorporates significant (but reducing) sections of public road, and the smaller purpose-built Bugatti circuit.
The long course only hosts two events, the Le Mans 24 Hours itself and the Le Mans Classic which is only held every other year (on even numbered years).
The most recent alterations to the layout occurred in 2007, when Tertre Rouge was once again altered to provide increased run-off, at the same time creating a more flowing curve onto the Mulsanne Straight. Meanwhile, Garage Vert corner on the Bugatti Circuit was re-profiled for a second time, creating a straighter exit towards Chemin aux Boeufs. The barriers on the exit of Tertre Rouge were re-sited following the fatal accident of Allan Simonensen during the 2013 24 Hours.
An ongoing programme of safety upgrades has also seen the asphalting of grass verges alongside the track from Mulsanne Corner to the Porsche Curves, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the sort of accident which befell Mike Rockenfeller in 2011. In addition, run-off at the the Porsche Curves themselves has been extended by 30 metres ahead of the 2015 race.
Meanwhile, changes to the layout of the local roads around the Indianapolis area will make that section permanent racetrack from 2016 onwards. The D140 will be diverted to the left where the road kinks to the right at Indianapolis and will join the D139 at a new roundabout just south of the Arnage corner. The original roads will thus be retained as permanent track with an unchanged layout but spectator access to the enclosure between Indianapolis and Arnage will be greatly enhanced.
We've teamed with MoTeC to provide a reference trace file for Le Mans, using F3-type data (or the closest representative car type).
A data outing is available to download for each of the major circuit variations. Fine tune your own setup before you even set off for the circuit!
You'll need MoTeC's i2 or similar data analysis software to open these files.
Address: Automobile Club de l'Ouest, Circuit des 24 Heures, 72019 Le Mans, Cedex 2, France
PH: +33 2 43 40 24 24
Circuit type: Temporary closed road course
Le Mans is one of two hubs of the French motorsport industry and as such is extremely well equipped for modern competition cars and teams. A number constructors including Ligier have factories inside the circuit on the 'Technoparc' while many other major teams including DAMS are located in the immediate area. As a result almost every service a professional team may require is available on site or very nearby.
The pit and paddock are extremely large, with large 55 garages for competition cars (likely to be expanded in future). An integral fuel supply system is built into the garages, all the expected facilities are present.
During major events having the correct pass is essential, even paddock scooters can require a vehicle pass.
The size of the venue should not be underestimated, from the main entrance to the race control building is a significant distance (over 2km) and can take some time during events.
The Bugatti circuit is generally open and available for testing year round, but heavy snow is not unknown in winter, hot summers are common, and rain is frequent year round.
Next door to the circuit there is a small airport, this is available for teams to conduct straightline testing.
The pit complex is linked to the main grandstand complex opposite by a series of tunnels accessed from either the pit wall or gaps between certain garages.
There are a number of large supermarkets around the circuit - the nearest is at Mulsanne right next to the famous corner on the 24 hours circuit. It can be hard to access this area from the paddock during major events. There is another very large supermarket on the road between the circuit and the city centre.
The nearest tram stops to the race control building are a 25-40 minute walk depending if certain gates are open. However during the 24 Hours this is a very good way to access the circuit.
There are very few restaraunts local to the circuit so if the team does not have its own catering it may be worth considering the many affordable options in the city centre.
Driving from the city centre to the circuit takes 10-15 minutes and is very well signposted. Traffic is only a major issue on the morning of the 24 hours race itself (and even then not a major issue).
There are a large number options for food in the City Centre, Le Mans Legend Cafe is a famous example and frequented by many drivers and teams. On the surrounding streets there are many other options however.
The Irish Pub 'Mulligans' is a famous haunt for team members. Post race parties (and some pre race parties) have been known to go on to 2am.
There is an abundance of accomodation in Le Mans, a large city with a major university, there are hotels in the city centre, with the Ibis Budget a very good option as it shares a secure car park and bar with the Mercure directly next door.
The hotels around the railway station tend to be of a lower standard on the city side, with the exception of the one in the new development adjacent to the 'Gare' and those on the far side. The 'upmarket' hotels in Le Mans are not worth the significant additional expenditure on the whole, and the mid to low range chain hotels are the best bet.
There are some low end hotels such as Formel 1, and Premiere Classe in the area around the University. These are a very good option for those on a budget, and provide good access to both the circuit and the city centre via both road and tram.
The Circuit de la Sarthe is located on the edge of the town of Le Mans, in Maine, westenr France. The nearest international airport is Tours Val de Loire Airport, around an hours drive to the south-east. Paris and its international airports is 150 miles to the north, approximately a 2.5 hours drive.
Most spectators attending Le Mans for any events travel by road. Le Mans is easily accessible via motorway from Calais (5hrs) or Caen/Le Havre/St Malo/Cherbourg (3hrs) if arriving from Britain by Ferry. If travelling from elsewhere in France, the town is easily accessed via the E50, E402, E501 and E502 motorways. For those without a car (perhaps flying in to Paris from abroad) then it is possible to get to Le Mans either from Paris airport or Montparnasse station via the train. Once in Le Mans itself, travel to the circuit is easy thanks to the regular tram service.
Those wishing to travel from Britain via a more scenic route might find the following an enjoyable trip: Getting to Le Mans (Daily Telegraph article)