The condition of the crash barriers during the Le Mans 24 hours was outside of safety limits set by the FIA, RCI Pro can reveal. At the fastest point of the circuit, the approach to the first chicane the gap between the ground and the bottom of the barriers clearly exceeds the limit set by the FIA. In standards applied to all motor racing circuits the FIA regulations state that ‘The maximum spacing between the bottom rail and the ground and between the upper rails should be 4 cm’ the gaps currently present on the approaches to the first chicane and the second chicane clearly exceed that amount and are more than marginal in other areas around the circuit, in some cases the gaps have been observed to be at least double or even triple that amount. It is a situation that one leading works team driver claims are “far from ideal, but they have been like that for years.”
Meanwhile work to improve the facilities and safety at Le Mans is well underway with a revamped and enlarged pit complex due to be constructed in time for the 2016 24 Hours race. In the run up to the 2015 race a substantial amount of work was carried out on run off areas and improvements to the barriers at some corners. This work included creation of wider run-off zones between Mulsanne and the first Porsche corner plus the installation of four additional rumble strips on this section, enlargement of the gravel trap on the outside of the first Porsche corner, new coating on the right-hand side of the track in the Porsche curves, the track has been resurfaced on the entry to the Dunlop chicane and the Museum corner. Water-blasting has taken place from the link corner to the La Chapelle corner whilebarriers were installed to protect the houses between the Mulsanne and Indianapolis corners.
Additionally a set of Geobrugg barriers have been installed beyond the barriers at the start of each of thirty-five new zones defined around the circuit, each of these new constructions feature a light signal for the drivers.
Although major changes to the circuit itself are not planned pressure has come on the 13.629km venue due to the rapidly rising speeds of the LMP1 class. As the only venue on the World Endurance Championship calendar that does not meet FIA Category 1 standards Le Mans is something of an oddity in modern racing.