Feeling the heat at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Photo: WEC/Adrenal Media

Feeling the heat at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Traditionally, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is held in June to make the most of the long days and short nights. However, long days can also equate to very hot days.

Trackside temperatures have soared at several of the past 87 races held at Le Mans. In 1939, 1949 and 1975, the thermometer topped 27°C. In 1979, the temperature peaked at 32°C on the Saturday afternoon before heavy storms broke during the night. More recently, drivers had to face extremely high temperatures during the 2005 and 2017 editions. 

In 2006, the ACO recommended installing a natural or forced ventilation and/or air conditioning system which became mandatory a year later. Since then, driving conditions have improved and drivers dread hot weather a little less.

The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held on 19-20 September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, the pit crews and drivers will face different conditions to those usually expected in June. 

Porsche GT Team driver Kevin Estre has said: “It is likely that the temperatures will be cooler, and we might get some rain. The night will be longer too. We’re hoping it won’t be too cold at night so we can keep our tyres at the right temperature. If it’s only 10°C, it will be difficult. It’s a challenge and we’ll have to find the right solutions to be quick.”

A very hot Sam Bird from AF Corse Ferrari in 2017

With thanks to the ACO