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Changes to La Sarthe

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#1 XJ13

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 19:52

I´m trying to figure out how the track changes affected track times. What I´m interested in is how much slower a 1967 car would go in 1968 etc., and less in how a 2009 car would fare in 1957 and vice versa as the last is less meaningful, the car being built to race the contemporary track, no a past or future one. Official, or driver statements have been hard to find and comparing times is difficult without intimate knowledge of changes to cars and the abilities of drivers.

If you have suitable input or information, please post and I´ll update the list (and if anybody allready has such a list, then: :)

Changes to the Le Mans track and how they affected track times:

Year KM Changes Effect on lap time
1923 1 17,262
1929- 2 16,340
1932- 3 13,492
1950 - new "non-skid" pavement
1956- 4 13,461 modified pit straight and Dunlop curve (Dunlop-curve faster) (if anything, faster?)
1968- 5 13,469 new Ford chicane before pits +9-12s claimed by drivers
1972- 6 13,640 new bendy sections past White House, +one more chicane at Ford (+c17s +/-, from comparing times) other suggestions?
1979- 7 13,626 Tetre Rouge corner re-profiled (faster, but more complex) (slightly faster?)
1986- 8 13,528 Mulsanne corner altered (slightly faster?)
1987- 9 13,535 Dunlop chicanes (new chicane before Dunlop bridge) (+c4s +/-, from comparing times) other suggestions?
1988- - M Straight resurfaced, much smoother, less bumpy =higher max speeds slightly faster
1990- 10 13,600 Mulsanne chicanes, new slower pit entrance (+c14s +/-, from comparing times) other suggestions?
1997- 11 13,605 Dunlop chicane layout slightly altered (reprofiled) (stated to be slightly slower)
2001- - lower "Mercedes hump"
2002- 12 13,650 New bends between Dunlop bridge and the Esses (must be slower)
2007- 13 13,629 Dunlop chicane tightened estimated to raise lap times by 1,5s

Someone behind the Olympia Charger webpage computed that cars were slowed by 7,9% (prototypes) and 7,7% (GT cars) from 1972 track to 2002 track.

Someone calculated that 2006 cars on the 1956-68 track would have done a 2,43 best lap, and run 66-6700km during 24 hours.

I´ve gleaned at the Le Mans Classic 2008 lap times, a speculative source as car state and driver temperament makes a big difference. Most 1949-67 cars are more than 1 minute slower (anything from 30s to 1m34s) than originally, heavier cars being most affected.

(Sorry, the spaces disappeared when posted, making a mess of the post. Hope you can see the meaning behind it...)

Edited by XJ13, 07 May 2010 - 20:22.