24 Hours of Le Mans competitors will qualify under a new ‘Hyperpole’ format in 2020; a change that the ACO says is “designed to encourage sheer speed and some spectacular track action”.
Qualifying will now take place across two stages, opening on Wednesday with a 45-minute session from 11:15pm to 12:00am. The fastest six cars in each class will go on to compete in the Hyperpole session on Thursday between 9:00pm and 9:30pm, which will determine the top six grid positions for each class.
Hyperpole competitors will not be permitted to return to their garage during the session, although they will have free choice of tires from within their tire allocation. Cars that do not make it into the Hyperpole session will line up in order of their times from Wednesday.
The other significant change is the structure of the grid order itself, with the cars set to line up in category order: LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am.
“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,” said ACO president Pierre Fillon.
“Adrenalin, suspense and concentration will be at a max for every team out there. It will be a thrilling prelude to the ensuing 24-hour battle on our iconic track. Le Mans will once again be a celebration of racing that goes on for several days, and not just a weekend.”
Under the previous format, cars qualifying took place across three two-hour sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.