The Automobile Club de l’Ouest always listens attentively to the manufacturers’ needs, and so in agreement with teams that may be invited to the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, the Club, remaining faithful to its firmly-held objective to reduce costs, has taken the decision to cancel the test day scheduled for 31st May 2009, and to rethink the format of the Le Mans Series events.
Photo : -
The Le Mans 24-Hours race has always been in tune with the times and when motor racing shows signs of disquiet linked to the economic situation, it is the ACO’s duty to take preventive measures while respecting the sporting regulations.
Thus, in keeping with the cost reductions already begun with the 2009 ACO regulations, and the new orientations in 2011, the test day originally scheduled for 31st May 2009 has been cancelled.
On the other hand, all the entrants invited by the ACO will have to take part in free practice on Wednesday before Thursday’s qualifying session on 11th June to be allowed to start on Saturday 13th June at 15h00.
This decision represents considerable savings for all the entrants, who must be ready at the circuit on Monday 8th June (scrutineering).
Following the same train of thought the 2009 Le Mans Series races will be a day shorter so the entrants will be at the circuit 3 days instead of 4, scrutineering included. These measures will favour the participation of entrants in the Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series events from the start of the season to prepare for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
This decision is nothing exceptional in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours as the test day has not always been on the ACO calendar.
The test day before the race week itself was held for the first time in 1959 as preliminary practice and continued until 1974. It was suspended because of the first petrol crisis.
It was reinstated for 1986 and 1987, and then cancelled again before being part of the event in 1993.
According to the years this session took place in March, April or May and since 2005 in June.
It lasted one two or three days and was called practice day, preliminary practice, pre-qualifying and test day since 2005.