Day three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it was the one with the least action on track. After the mammoth 11 hours of track action on Thursday, Friday’s 90 minutes felt tame by comparison. And yet, the day seemed no less busy.
Traditionally, Friday is always a bit of an off day at Le Mans for drivers, with no track action, some media events and, of course, the traditional drivers’ parade in the center of town. That was all different this year, with the condensed schedule and restrictions eliminating the usual schedule.
It can be argued that Le Mans is not the same without the drivers’ parade, and it is a fair argument to make. It is, however, difficult to argue that it should take place under the current restrictions.
That being said, the Friday did provide something new in the form of the new-for-2020 Hyperpole qualifying session. The top six cars in each session fiercely battled over pole position, in a new format that seemed popular with both drivers and pundits alike.
The other reason it felt very busy was a considerable number of very exciting announcements that make the future of the sport look very bright.
ACO and IMSA both presented the final regulations for the LMDh category, and there was Hypercar news from both Peugeot Sport and ByKolles. To add to that, there was news with regards to the 2021 calendar. WEC CEO Gerard Neveu presented a consensed, six-race format with some familiar and well-liked venues.
Overall, it was positive day at Le Mans, a good news day that the sport badly needed after a challenging 2020. LMDh is looking firm, and with two additional names joining Hypercar, it seems like endurance racing is heading in a good direction.
Tomorrow is the big day: the 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bring it on.