Regular visitors to Le Mans will be in for a few surprises when they arrive at the track. The ‘Inner Paddock’ remains much the same as before (with the exception of the nine brand new permanent garages that have been constructed at the exit end of the pit lane, allowing the number of competitors allowed to take part to climb to 55.) It is in the ‘outer paddock’ and hospitality area where the most dramatic changes have taken place. The whole zone has almost doubled in size, has been re-landscaped and is now perfectly level with a new asphalt surface.
Photo : Bruno FOUQUE - ACO/Nikon
The ‘Village’ has also expanded and improved with several new shops and displays. In the central square of the village is the new Audi Tower. This is a very modern, highly technical 13 metre monument in glass and aluminium with a clock at the top of it and a TV screen at the base. It is designed to celebrate the close relationship between Audi, (with their six victories to date), and the ACO.
Out on the circuit there have been major changes at the Tertre Rouge corner. The banks have been built up to give spectators a better view of the circuit. There will be a giant TV screen in place. The corner itself has been redesigned to allow greater speeds but increased safety. This in turn will mean a faster entry to ‘Les Hunaudières’ (Mulsanne) straight. There is also a larger run-off area. These changes mean that the circuit is now twenty one metres shorter. This is only the 14th time the circuit has been modified since 1924.