Michelin have revealed plans to build a 25-metre tall “ranking tower” beside the pit-lane exit on the main straight of the Circuit de la Sarthe for endurance fans to enjoy provisional rankings throughout the race.
Over the 90 years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans a number of different systems have been used to display the positions including in 1923 a large board that was lit up at night by acetylene gas lights, this was developed in 1925 when sponsors took advantage of the opportunity to display brand names alongside race positions.
This system continued in to the 1930’s and up to the outbreak of World War 2, the leaderboard returned at the end of the 1940’s but was located behind the pits.
During the 1950’s a tubular frame provided a prime position for the scoreboard before making way for various systems including a three-sided board which displayed the race order with thousands of light bulbs. Perhaps the most adventurous of leaderboards came with an airship-mounted system floating above the circuit.
In 1991 the new pit complex signaled the arrival of trackside screens which provided regular updates throughout the 24 hours.
Olivier Vialle of Michelin commented: “The erection of the Michelin Ranking Tower at Le Mans has given us a chance to provide a permanent landmark for one of endurance racings most emblematic locations where our tyres have won every edition of the Le Mans 24 since 1998. It is also our way of celebrating the legendary race’s 90th anniversary. Last but not least, this new icon in Michelin’s colours symbolises the aim we share with the ACO to promote a form of motorsport that genuinely serves to enhance mobility.”