The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA have agreed to make a change to the quaifying format for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, changing it to a two session event rather than the three it usually has.
In the past, qualifying for Le Mans has been determined over three 90-minute sessions, with the fastest lap set by cars in any of these sessions assigning where they start on the grid.
In an attempt to entice more high-speed action, the 2020 rendition of the event will see the introduction of the new ‘Hyperpole’ format. This will see all cars take to the track on Wednesday evening of the event for a 45-minute qualifying session, from which the top six cars in each class will win themselves a place in Thursday’s ‘Hyperpole’.
Following a similar format to FIA Formula E‘s Super Pole, the top six cars in each class will all head out on track Thursday evening to battle against each other for the top six places in class. Any cars not making it into ‘Hyperpole’ will be assigned seventh and lower as their starting place on the grid pending on how they performed in Wednesday’s qualifying session.
This will not reduce the number of track sessions available to teams throughout the week, as the ACO and FIA have added additional practice sessions around the new qualifying format.
“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.” President of the ACO Pierre Fillon said. “Le Mans will once again be a celebration of racing that goes on for several days, and not just a weekend.”
The Wednesday/Thursday schedule of the 24 Hours of Le Mans week will look like this:
Wednesday 10 June 2020
- 15:30–20:00: Free Practice
- 22:00–23:00: Free Practice
- 23:15–24:00: Qualifying
Thursday 11 June 2020
- 17:00–19:00: Free Practice
- 21:00–21:30: Hyperpole
- 22:00–24:00: Free Practice