Place de la Republique Scrutineering A resounding succes

 Teams, spectators, organisers… no one had anything but good to say about the operational success of the “Pesage” [Scrutineering] which took place at the Place de la Republique for the first time since the event began in 1923. Drivers and cars are now all ready for the track on Wednesday. Instead of the Places des Jacobins, which is unavailable because of construction works being undertaken there, scrutineering – the traditional opening of the great 24 Hours of Le Mans week – was this year set up in the Place de la Republique. This is close to Rue du Porc-Epic (which became Rue Victor Bonhommet) where it used to be held pre-war…

And one can only feel satisfied to see the spectators’ enjoyment of this popular event, held on the 10th and 11th June, in a place surrounded by majestic facades of buildings some of which date from the 14th Century. “It’s a bit like Monaco,” interjects Bruno Vandestick, the 24 Hours of Le Mans commentator. “The residents drink their coffee on their balconies while admiring the cars which file through under their feet. It’s magical isn’t it?”

« Magical »

It’s true that the “technical checks”, essential prelude to any race, add another level to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Here, there’s nowhere to hide: as serious as it is, the event remains public and held in a light, relaxed atmosphere. “The cars are checked under a tent but, by leaning in a bit, you get to see the engine,” said Bastien, 12, who came out of school at a gallop in order to find his place in the front row. After the impressive armada of four Audis yesterday, Bastien saw the two official Toyotas pass through this evening. But, more than the potential winners, it is the futuristic Nissan DeltaWing which took his eye. For this technological laboratory, the first challenge consisted of finding a way through the maze of people on the narrow path into the control area. “Don’t be fooled by appearances,” assured Marino Franchitti, one of the drivers of this strange machine. “Despite its long nose, the car turns well…and it’s going to show us how this week!” We have been warned.

Return to the Track

At 1730 hrs on Friday, the 168 drivers in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will once again be back at the Place de la Republique for the start of the Drivers’ Parade. Before then, they will be at the track on Wednesday and Thursday for the free practice and qualifying sessions which will determine the start for the 80th running of the race which will take place at 1500 hrs on Saturday, 16th June. The participants are ready, the spectators present, the weather is looking better for the end of the week. Let’s go racing!

Practical information The 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours80th event3rd round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship

Dates: 16-17 June 2012

General enclosure ticket: 69 eurosFree for young people born after 17th June 1996 accompanied by an adult.

Wednesday 13th June: Free practice from 16h00 till 20h00, qualifying from 22h00 till midnight.

Thursday 14th June: qualifying from 19h00 till 21h00 and from 22h00 till midnight.

Start of the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours: Saturday 16th June 2012 at 15h00.

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