Thu 20 Jan 2022 09:05:33 CET

FIXME Chapter Editor:Lorry has done the 2016 update, smokie has done the proof reading.

Sporting regulations

The full regulations (see cover everything from what can be done where and when, the penalties for infringement, to what patches must be worn by drivers and mechanics on their worksuits. These rules now cover all races in the WEC Championship, with differences for Le Mans. Although the regulations look rather comprehensive and strict, the organizers often leave themselves the option to decide differently because of “force majeure”, a term which can be found many times in the sporting regulations. The following list is just a summary of some of the rules.

Race Numbers

  • All race numbers displayed on the car (side and front) must be in the ‘class’ colours ie LMP1 – red, LMP2 – blue, GTE-PRO – green , GTE-AM – orange and Innovative - Black. The actual numbers are in white on a background of these colours, with the official stickers above and below. They must also be lit so that they are visible in the dark. The entrants nationality flag moves to the front of the car for 2016.

In-car Cameras

  • All competitors have to accept and facilitate the setting up in their cars of a system of technical means enabling the production, the storing, the selection, the compression and the transmission of a video signal or any other signal via satellite.
  • Any other camera can only be used on the test day and the free practice session on Wednesday.


  • Drivers are placed into one of 4 categories - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze depending on their experience and ability. See separate section in this guide for details
  • To be accepted, a driver must be on the ACOs list of confirmed drivers. If they are not, they can take part in the Test Day or take an ACO-organized half-day training course to gain a certificate of competence.
  • A maximum of 3 drivers is allowed for each car. Drivers are not allowed to change to another car during the race, even within the same team
  • All drivers have to do a minimum of 5 laps during night time qualifying sessions, at least one of which must be a complete lap (ie must cross start/finish line).
  • A driver is only allowed to drive a maximum of 4 hours within a 6 hours time frame (minus pit stop time)
  • New for 2016: All drivers must drive for a minimum of 6 hours.


  • There is a limit on the number of dry-weather tyres that can be used during race week:
& Qual

* Extra 2 sets allowed for new tyre manufacturer.

There is no limit on the number of wets or intermediates.

Tyre-warmers can only be used in the area behind the pit garage - they are a definite no-no in the pits or on the pit apron.

Test Day

  • The Test Day on Sunday 5 June is mandatory for all Teams and new Drivers.
  • Up to 10 reserve cars and a second Innovation car will also be invited.

Qualifying/Grid Position

  • The rules have changed again this year, and the French idiosyncrasies appear to have gone, although there are still waivers and dispensations. The grid is arranged in a 2 x 2 formation in order of the best times achieved by the fastest driver of each team during the qualifying practices. If a driver has not completed his mandatory 5 night laps, a waiver can be granted, but the car will start at the back of the grid.

The start

  • The starting grid will be in a staggered 2 x 2 formation. After one lap behind the pace car there will be a “flying” or “rolling” start.
  • If a car can’t make it to the starting grid, it is allowed to start from the pits. It has a maximum of 1 hour after the actual start to do so, after which the car will be excluded from the race.

Pit stops

  • The engine must be switched off at the start of the pit stop; once the pit stop is finished it must be re-started without any additional device or outside assistance
  • During refuelling no one is allowed to work on the car (except for driver changes and windscreen/rear-view mirrors cleaning), and the car cannot be jacked up. An exception to this is in P1 - if the fuel-flow meter is defective, another mechanic can change the meter at the same time.
  • Cars must be electrically earthed before the refuelling equipment is connected
  • Fuel tanks must always be filled to the top ie no more ‘splash & dash’ scenarios
  • For tyre changes, a maximum of any 2 mechanics (from a maximum of 4 designated) and one only air gun is allowed, and all equipment and wheels must be taken from/returned to the garage whilst the car is stopped in the pit lane.
  • A third person is allowed only to retrieve data from the ACO Data Logger.
  • For other repairs in the pit lane a maximum of 4 mechanics are allowed to work on the car. The car may be pushed back into its garage where more people can work on it
  • Speed limit within the pit lane is 60 km/h
  • Reverse gear cannot be used in the pit lane - if necessary, the car must be pushed by no more than 4 people
  • It is strictly forbidden to spin the wheels when leaving the pits!! Penalty for this in 2012 was a 3 minutes Stop-and-Go.
  • Any person working on the pit apron - with the exception of the wheel-change crew - must now wear full fire protection clothing including fire-proof overalls, gloves, balaclava, goggles, long underwear, shoes and helmet - this includes the guy with the long pole and the car number on the end, windscreen cleaners and datalog collectors. For the 4 wheel changers the gloves, balaclava and goggles element of the dress code are recommended rather than mandatory.

Safety Car/Slow Zones

  • When it is decreed necessary by the race director, safety cars are deployed. There are three safety cars located around the circuit, and when directed, they are deployed immediately ie they do not wait for a particular car (eg race leader), and all usual safety car rules apply – the main one being no overtaking. There is nothing new in this procedure, but obviously the experiences of the past few years, where many hours of the race were conducted under safety car rules, has forced a new concept to be adopted – Slow Zones.
  • The circuit is divided into 35 numbered zones corresponding to the Post Marshal number at the entrance of the zone, the start of each zone corresponding to a main signaler post. When a particular zone of the circuit is deemed to be a Slow Zone due to on-track activity (medical, Armco repairs), then the previous zone becomes a slowing down zone. The start of this zone will be indicated by a large yellow sign (1.2m x .6m) saying NEXT SLOW. Drivers must slow down in this zone to a maximum of 80kph, and overtaking is prohibited. The start of the Slow Zone itself is indicated by the same sized yellow board with SLOW and an encircled 80. There is a maximum speed of 80kph in the Slow Zone and again, overtaking is not allowed. The end of the Slow Zone is situated at the start of the next physical zone, and is indicated by a green light and green flags. If necessary, the Slow Zone can be lengthened to include more than one physical zone.
  • The Maximum speed limit in the Slow Zones remains at the 2015 speed of 80kph, from the 60kph speed when the system was introduced in 2014.

En route

  • If a car stops on the race track and the driver leaves it and walks further than 10 metres away from his car then the car will be excluded from the race. No outside assistance is allowed; only the driver can carry out repairs using tools and spares carried aboard. Supplying with fuel, water, oil, etc., is prohibited on and along the track
  • Drivers are not allowed to push their cars
  • Headlights must be on at all times, on the track and whilst in motion in the pit lane
  • One of the silliest rules and difficult to enforce at night time: cars are not allowed to cross the white lines marking the race track or use the kerbs


  • Chassis, engine, gearbox casing and the differential casing cannot be changed during the race, although a second engine can be used for practice.
  • Reserve cars are not permitted, so if a car is totalled during practice or warm up, it is out!

Time penalties

  • If you have been a naughty boy (or girl) the race marshals will show you the black flag and give you a timed “Stop/Go” or drive-through penalty. When this happens, you can do a maximum of 4 more laps before coming into the pit lane for your penalty. These penalties cannot be combined with a pit stop.
  • Penalties can not be taken when the safety cars are deployed, or when a 'Slow Zone' has been activated.


  • The pit curtain must be lowered during the race when the team declares a withdrawal of his car. So if the garage door is down, the car is out!


  • All teams have to use the fuel provided by the race organizer

End of race / classification

  • Le Mans is an endurance race! You’ll only be classified if you have covered at least 70 % of the race distance of the winner in your class and if you pass the chequered flag at the end of race. Leading the race for 23 hours and 55 minutes and retiring e.g. with a blown engine 5 minutes prior to race end won’t get you on the podium or even classified, even if you have done already more laps than the subsequent winner.
  • At 75% of race distance, all cars must have travelled a minimum of 50% of the leading car's distance
  • It is forbidden to stop on the circuit to wait for the chequered flag, and the last lap must be covered in 6 minutes or less
  • At the end of the race, all cars with the exception of the overall winner must go to the Parc Fermé, and they may be checked. The winning car is parked beneath the podium for the duration of the trophy presentations and afterwards pushed to the Parc Fermé.

Entry fees and prize money

  • 2016: The entry fee for each car is €67,500, with €30,000 due in January for automatically selected cars, or a non-refundable deposit of €4,600 for entries seeking selection. Fees shown are exclusive of VAT.
  • Prize money: €40,000 (1st), €25,000 (2nd), €20,000 (3rd), €15,000 (4th), €12,000 (5th), then €10,000 for each class winner. Keep in mind that a set of tyres for an LMP2 car is about €2,000 and you know that this prize money doesn't really save your day as a team owner.
ca_guide/regulations.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/02 08:08 by werner

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