Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest, who created and have organized the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1923, really botched some critical decisions at last weekends Le Mans, and clearly made the wrong decision

Example one: With less than five minutes remaining in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 5 Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 car was leading the second place No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid by 69 seconds. But suddenly the car had no power, with turbo failure appearing to be the cause. It crossed the start/finish line on what would have been its last lap, and stopped on the track near the pit wall.

Then the ACO made a post-race decision to deem the stricken No. 5 Toyota “unclassified” in the final results—because it “completed the final lap too slowly”? This decision is an insult to Toyota. It is an insult to drivers Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi, and Anthony Davidson who drove like champions. The ACO told the drivers of the No. 8 Audi to stand on the third step of the podium, despite having completed 11 less laps than the Toyota.

The ACO’s decision regarding the overall finishing order brings its rulebook into question, not to mention the decision making process and the individuals who make those decisions.

Second example: The decision made on race morning that denied Gunnar Jeannette, 8 times Le mans racer, a chance to race. Jeannette was the reserve driver for the WeatherTech GTE-Am team. He was called into service on Saturday morning after Cooper MacNeil became sick on Friday night and was too ill to drive. He participated in the Le Mans pre-test two weekends before this year’s event, when he completed 20 laps. But there was the ACO on Saturday morning, decreeing Jeannette ineligible to race because he did not drive the mandatory 10 laps during the Wednesday or Thursday practice sessions. So the ACO basically said its pre-test counts for nothing. And more importantly, the FIA decided safety was irrelevant for Marc Miller and Leh Keen—the two WeatherTech drivers forced to drive the entire 24 hours themselves. Common sense tells you a two-driver team will face more challenges than a three-driver team. The FIA loves to promote its “Road Safety” program. Well, that message just went out the window; now we should view it as nothing but a meaningless public-relations campaign.

From the article Political Decisions at Le Mans Could Lead to Sports-Car Explosion: Ford GT win signifies powder keg with a short fuse
By Rick Dole (excellent writer and photographer)

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