The Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans,[1] also known as Circuit de la Sarthe[2] (after the 1906 French Grand Prix triangle circuit) located in Le Mans, Sarthe, France, is a semi-permanent motorsport race course, chiefly known as the venue for the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race. Comprising private, race-specific sections of track in addition to public roads which remain accessible most of the year, its present configuration is 13.626 km (8.467 mi) long, making it one of the longest circuits in the world. The capacity of the race stadium, where the short Bugatti Circuit is situated, is 100,000. The Musée des 24 Heures du Mans is a motorsport museum located at the main entrance of the venue.

Up to 85% of the lap time is spent on full throttle, putting immense stress on engine and drivetrain components. Additionally, the times spent reaching maximum speed also mean tremendous wear on the brakes and suspension as cars must slow from over 322 km/h (200 mph) to around 100 km/h (62 mph) for the sharp corner at the village of Mulsanne.

Track modifications

The road racing track, which was a triangle from Le Mans down south to Mulsanne, northwest to Arnage, and back north to Le Mans, has undergone many modifications over the years, with CIRCUIT N°15 being in use since 2018. Even with the modifications put in place over the years, the Sarthe circuit is still known for being very fast, with prototype cars achieving average lap speeds in excess of 240 km/h (150 mph).

In the 1920s, the cars drove from the present pits on Rue de Laigné straight into the city, and after a sharp right-hand corner near the river Huisne Pontlieue bridge (a hairpin permanently removed from the circuit in 1929), before exiting the city again on the rather straight section now named Avenue Georges Durand after the race's founder. Then 17.261 km (10.725 mi) long and unpaved, a bypass within the city shortened the track in 1929, but the city was only bypassed completely in 1932, when the section from the pits via the Dunlop Bridge and the Esses to Tertre Rouge was added. This classic configuration was 13.492 km (8.384 mi) long and remained almost unaltered even after the 1955 tragedy. Its frighteningly narrow pit straight was further narrowed to make room for the pits and was part of the road itself, without the road becoming wider around the pits, and no separation. The pit straight then was about 12 ft (3.7 m) wide, further widened in 1956 after the tragedy, but the race track and pits were not separated for another 15 years.

Dunlop Bridge in 1977

Car speeds increased dramatically in the 1960s, pushing the limits of the "classic circuit" and sparking criticism of the track as being unsafe after several trials related fatalities occurred. In 1965, a smaller, but permanent, Bugatti Circuit was added which shares the pit lane facilities and the first corner (including the famous Dunlop bridge) with the full "Le Mans" circuit. For the 1968 race, the Ford chicane was added before the pits to slow down the cars. The circuit was fitted with Armco for the 1969 race. The "Maison Blanche" kink was particularly harrowing, claiming many cars over the years (including three Ferrari 512 variants) and several lives, including the legendary John Woolfe in 1969 behind the wheel of a 917 Porsche. The circuit has been modified ten more times — 1971, a year when prototypes were averaging over 240 km/h (150 mph), was the last year the classic circuit was used. That year, Armco was added to the pit straight to separate the track from the pits. In 1972, the race track was considerably revamped, at a cost of 300 million francs, with modification of the pit area and the first and final straights, the addition of the quick Porsche curves bypassing "Maison Blanche", the signalling area was moved to the exit of the slow Mulsanne corner, and the track was resurfaced.

The esses after the Dunlop Bridge

In 1979, due to the construction of a new public road, the profile of "Tertre Rouge" had to be changed. This redesign led to a faster double-apex corner and saw the removal of the second Dunlop Bridge. In 1986, construction of a new roundabout at the Mulsanne corner demanded the addition a new portion of track in order to avoid the roundabout. This created a right hand kink prior to Mulsanne corner. In 1987, a chicane was added to the very fast Dunlop curve, where cars would go under the Dunlop bridge at 180 mph (290 km/h). Now they would be slowed to 110 mph (180 km/h).

Part of the Mulsanne Straight

Le Mans was most famous for its 6 km (3.7 mi) long straight, called Ligne Droite des Hunaudières, a part of the route départementale (for the Sarthe département) D338 (formerly Route Nationale N138). As the Hunaudières leads to the village of Mulsanne, it is often called the Mulsanne Straight in English, even though the proper Route du Mulsanne is the one from or to Arnage.

After exiting the Tertre Rouge corner, cars spent almost half of the lap at full throttle, before braking for Mulsanne Corner. The Porsche 917 long tail, used from 1969 to 1971, had reached 362 km/h (225 mph).[3] After engine size was limited, the top speed dropped until powerful turbo engines were allowed, like in the 1978 Porsche 935, which was clocked at 367 km/h (228 mph).[4] Speeds on the straight by the Group C prototypes reached over 400 km/h (250 mph) during the late 1980s. At the beginning of the 1988 24 Hours of Le Mans race, Roger Dorchy driving for Welter Racing in a "Project 400" car, which sacrificed reliability for speed, was clocked by radar travelling at 407 km/h (253 mph). Jean-Louis Lafosse and Jo Gartner would ultimately suffer from fatal high speed accidents in 1981 and 1986, respectively, leading to concerns with the growing speeds on the 3.7 mi (6.0 km) straight.

As the combination of high speed and high downforce caused tyre and engine failures, two roughly equally spaced chicanes were consequently added to the Mulsanne Straight before the 1990 race to limit the maximum achievable speed.[5] The chicanes were also added because the FIA decreed it would no longer sanction a circuit which had a straight longer than 2 km (1.2 mi), [6] which is roughly the length of the Döttinger Höhe straight at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The fastest qualifying lap average speed though only dropped from 249.826 to 243.329 km/h (155.235 to 151.198 mph) in 1992. In 1994, the Dunlop chicane was tightened.

In 2002, the run to the Esses was reconfigured in the wake of renovations to the Bugatti Circuit. The Le Mans circuit was changed between the Dunlop Bridge and Esses, with the straight now becoming a set of fast sweeping turns. This layout allowed for a better transition from the Le Mans circuit to the Bugatti circuit. This layout change would also require the track's infamous carnival to be relocated near the Porsche curves, and in 2006, the ACO redeveloped the area between the Dunlop Curve and Tertre Rouge, moving the Dunlop Chicane in even tighter to create more run-off area, while also turning the area after the Dunlop Chicane into an even larger set of fast, sweeping turns, known as the Esses en route to Tertre Rouge. As part of the development, a new extended pit lane exit was created for the Bugatti Circuit. This second pit exit re-enters the track just beyond the Dunlop Chicane and before the Dunlop Bridge.

Following the fatal crash of Danish driver Allan Simonsen at the 2013 race at the exit of Tertre Rouge into D338, Tertre Rouge was re-profiled again. The radius will be moved in approximately 200 m (220 yd) for safety reasons with new tyre barriers at the exit.[7] The current version of the track has been in use since 2018.

Layout evolution of Circuit de la Sarthe

Lap records

Years Record year Distance record Average race speed Lap record (in race) Driver – car Lap record (qualifying) Driver – car
Circuit N°1 – 17.262 km (10.726 mi)
1923–1928 1928 2,669.27 km (1,658.61 mi)
Bentley 4½ Litre
111.219 km/h (69.108 mph) 8:07 (127.604 km/h (79.289 mph))
in 1928
H.Birkin
Bentley 4½ Litre
Circuit N°2 – 16.340 km (10.153 mi)
1929–1931 1931 3,017.654 km (1,875.083 mi)
Alfa Romeo 8C
125.735 km/h (78.128 mph) 6:48 (144.362 km/h (89.702 mph))
in 1930
H.Birkin
Bentley Blower
Circuit N°3 – 13.492 km (8.384 mi)
1932–1955 1955 4,135.38 km (2,569.61 mi)
Jaguar D
172.308 km/h (107.067 mph) 4:06.6 (196.963 km/h (122.387 mph))
in 1955
M.Hawthorn
Jaguar D
Circuit N°4 – 13.461 km (8.364 mi)
1956–1967 1967 5,232.9 km (3,251.6 mi)
Ford Mk IV
218.038 km/h (135.483 mph) 3:23.6 (238.014 km/h (147.895 mph))
in 1967
M.Andretti & D.Hulme
Ford Mk IV
3:24.04 (236.082 km/h (146.695 mph))
in 1967
B.McLaren
Ford Mk IV
Circuit N°5 – 13.469 km (8.369 mi)
1968–1971 1971 5,335.31 km (3,315.21 mi)
Porsche 917
222.304 km/h (138.133 mph) 3:18.4 (244.397 km/h (151.861 mph))
in 1971
J.Oliver
Porsche 917
3:13.9 (250.069 km/h (155.386 mph))
in 1971
P. Rodríguez
Porsche 917
Circuit N°6 – 13.640 km (8.476 mi)
1972–1978 1978 5,044.53 km (3,134.53 mi)
Alpine-Renault A442 B
210.189 km/h (130.605 mph) 3:34.2 (229.244 km/h (142.446 mph))
in 1978
J.P.Jabouille
Alpine-Renault A443
3:27.6 (236.531 km/h (146.974 mph))
in 1978
J.Ickx
Porsche 936
Circuit N°7 – 13.626 km (8.467 mi)
1979–1985 1985 5,088.51 km (3,161.854 mi)
Porsche 956
212.021 km/h (131.744 mph) 3:25.1 (239.169 km/h (148.613 mph))
in 1985
J.Mass
Porsche 962
3:14.8 (251.815 km/h (156.471 mph))
in 1985
H.Stuck
Porsche 962
Circuit N°8 – 13.528 km (8.406 mi)
1986 1986 4,972.73 km (3,089.91 mi)
Porsche 962 C
207.197 km/h (128.746 mph) 3:23.3 (239.551 km/h (148.850 mph))
in 1986
K.Ludwig
Porsche 956
3:15.99 (243.486 km/h (151.295 mph))
in 1986
J.Mass
Porsche 962 C
Circuit N°9 – 13.535 km (8.410 mi)
1987–1989 1988 5,332.79 km (3,313.64 mi)
Jaguar XJR9
221.665 km/h (137.736 mph) 3:21.27 (242.093 km/h (150.430 mph))
in 1989
A.Ferté
Jaguar XJR9
3:15.04 (249.826 km/h (155.235 mph))
in 1989
J.L.Schlesser
Sauber Mercedes C9
Circuit N°10 – 13.600 km (8.451 mi)
1990–1996 1993 5,100 km (3,200 mi)
Peugeot 905
213.358 km/h (132.575 mph) 3:27.47 (235.986 km/h (146.635 mph))
in 1993
E.Irvine
Toyota TS010
3:21.209 (243.329 km/h (151.198 mph))
in 1992
Ph.Alliot
Peugeot 905
Circuit N°11 – 13.605 km (8.454 mi)
1997–2001 2000 5,007.98 km (3,111.81 mi)
Audi R8
208.666 km/h (129.659 mph) 3:35.032 (227.771 km/h (141.530 mph))
in 1999
U.Katayama
Toyota GT-One
3:29.93 (233.306 km/h (144.970 mph))
in 1999
M.Brundle
Toyota GT-One
Circuit N°12 – 13.650 km (8.482 mi)
2002–2005 2004 5,169.97 km (3,212.47 mi)
Audi R8
215.415 km/h (133.853 mph) 3:33.483 (230.182 km/h (143.028 mph))
in 2002
T.Kristensen
Audi R8
3:29.905 (234.106 km/h (145.467 mph))
in 2002
R.Capello
Audi R8
Circuit N°13 – 13.650 km (8.482 mi)
2006 2006 5,187 km (3,223 mi)
Audi R10 TDI
215.409 km/h (133.849 mph) 3:31.211 (232.658 km/h (144.567 mph))
in 2006
T.Kristensen
Audi R10 TDI
3:30.466 (233.482 km/h (145.079 mph))
in 2006
R.Capello
Audi R10 TDI
Circuit N°14 – 13.629 km (8.469 mi)
2007–2017 2010 5,410.71 km (3,362.06 mi)
Audi R15 TDI plus
225.228 km/h (139.950 mph) 3:17.475 (248.459 km/h (154.385 mph))
in 2015
A.Lotterer
Audi R18 e-tron quattro
3:14.791 (251.882 km/h (156.512 mph))
in 2017
K. Kobayashi
Toyota TS050 Hybrid
Circuit N°15 - 13.626 km (8.467 mi)
Since 2018 2018 5,286.88 km (3,285.11 mi)
Toyota TS050 Hybrid
220.015 km/h (136.711 mph) 3:17.297 (248.6 km/h (154.5 mph)
in 2019
M. Conway
Toyota TS050 Hybrid
3:15.267 (251.21 km/h (156.09 mph)
in 2020
K. Kobayashi
Toyota TS050 Hybrid

Fastest race laps of Circuit de la Sarthe

The official fastest race lap records at the Circuit de la Sarthe for different classes are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.626 km (2018–present)
LMP1 3:17.297[8] Mike Conway Toyota TS050 Hybrid 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP2 3:27.200[9] Nathanaël Berthon Oreca 07 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMH 3:27.607[10] Brendon Hartley Toyota GR010 Hybrid 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP3 3:46.374[11] Laurents Hörr Duqueine M30 D-08 2021 Road to Le Mans
LM GTE 3:47.501[10] Alexander Sims Chevrolet Corvette C8.R 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans
GT3 3:54.340[12] Charles Weerts Audi R8 LMS Evo 2021 Road to Le Mans
Ferrari Challenge 4:00.189[13] Adam Carroll Ferrari 488 Challenge 2019 Le Mans Ferrari Challenge Europe round
JS P4 4:05.688[14] Gillian Henrion Ligier JS P4 2022 Le Mans Ligier European Series round
JS2 R 4:18.803[14] Hugo Rosati Ligier JS2 R 2022 Le Mans Ligier European Series round
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.629 km (2007–2017)
LMP1 3:17.475[15] André Lotterer Audi R18 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP2 3:28.632[16] Ho-Pin Tung Oreca 07 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP3 3:50.576[17] Yann Ehrlacher Norma M30 2017 Road to Le Mans
LM GTE 3:50.950[16] Daniel Serra Aston Martin Vantage GT2 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans
GT3 3:56.040[18] Benjamin Barker Porsche 911 (991) GT3 R 2017 Road to Le Mans
Ferrari Challenge 4:05.134[19] Jeff Segal Ferrari 458 Challenge 2013 Le Mans Ferrari Challenge Europe round
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.650 km (2006)
LMP1 3:31.211[20] Tom Kristensen Audi R10 TDI 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.650 km (2002–2005)
LMP1 (LMP900) 3:33.483[21] Tom Kristensen Audi R8 2002 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMGTP 3:35.529[22] Johnny Herbert Bentley Speed 8 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP675 3:37.221[21] Mark Blundell MG-Lola EX257 2002 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP2 3:47.601[23] Warren Hughes MG-Lola EX264 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans
GT1 (GTS) 3:51.422[23] Darren Turner Aston Martin DBR9 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans
GT2 4:06.306[24] Sascha Maassen Porsche 911 (996) GT3 RSR 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.605 km (1997–2001)
LMGTP 3:35.032[25] Ukyo Katayama Toyota GT-One 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP900 3:37.359[26] Allan McNish Audi R8 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans
WSC 3:45.068[27] Tom Kristensen Porsche WSC-95 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP675 3:52.156[26] Jean-Christophe Boullion Reynard 2KQ 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans
GT1 (GTS) 3:58.862[26] Ron Fellows Chevrolet Corvette C5-R 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.600 km (1990–1996)
Group C1 3:27.470[28] Eddie Irvine Toyota TS010 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans
WSC 3:46.958[29] Eric van de Poele Ferrari 333 SP 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans
IMSA GTP 3:47.330[30] Volker Weidler Mazda 787B 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans
LMP2 3:51.410[31] Patrick Gonin WR LM94 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group C2 3:58.270[30] Charles Zwolsman Spice SE90C 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.535 km (1987–1989)
Group C1 3:21.270[32] Alain Ferté Jaguar XJR-9 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans
IMSA GTP 3:28.520[32] Takashi Yorino Mazda 787B 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group C2 3:41.730[32] Nick Adams Spice SE89C 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.528 km (1986)
Group C1 3:23.300[33] Klaus Ludwig Porsche 956B 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.626 km (1979–1985)
Group C1 3:25.100[34] Jochen Mass Porsche 962C 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group 6 3:34.000[35] Hurley Haywood Porsche 936/81 1981 24 Hours of Le Mans
IMSA GTP 3:36.600[34] Bob Tullius Jaguar XJR-5 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group C2 3:47.700[34] David Leslie Ecosse C285 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group B 4:02.300[34] Harald Grohs BMW M1 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans
IMSA GTO 4:13.300[36] Jean-Marie Alméras Porsche 930 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.640 km (1972–1978)
Group 6 3:34.200[37] Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault Alpine A443 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group 5 3:39.600[38] François Cevert Matra-Simca MS670B 1973 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group 3 3:53.800[39] Chris Craft Lola T380 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.469 km (1968–1971)
Group 5 3:18.400[40] Jackie Oliver Porsche 917L 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans
Group 6 3:38.100[41] Rolf Stommelen Porsche 908 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.461 km (1956–1967)
Group 4 3:23.600[42] Mario Andretti[a]
Denny Hulme[a]
Ford GT40 Mk IV[a] 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 13.492 km (1932–1955)
Sports prototype 4:06.600[43] Mike Hawthorn Jaguar D-Type 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 16.340 km (1929–1932)
Sports prototype 6:48.000[44] Henry Birkin Bentley Blower 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans
Circuit de la Sarthe: 17.262 km (1923–1928)
Sports prototype 8:07.000[45] Henry Birkin Bentley 4½ Litre 1928 24 Hours of Le Mans

Speed record

In 1988, Team WM Peugeot were well aware of their slim chance of winning the 24-hour endurance race outright, but they knew that their Welter Racing designed car had exceptional straight line aerodynamics. Thus they nicknamed their 1988 entry "Project 400" (aiming to be the first car to achieve a speed of 400 km/h (250 mph) on the famous straight), although the official team entry was named WM Secateva.

Roger Dorchy and Claude Haldi would be the drivers of car 51 while Pascal Pessiot and Jean-Daniel Raulet would drive the team's other car (#52). The latter lasted only 22 laps, and car 51 went into the pits around 17:00 in the afternoon with engine problems. After spending 3.5 hours in the pits, the team had the car back on the track and they decided to go for it. The plan worked: with Roger Dorchy behind the wheel the WM P87 achieved the speed of 407 km/h (253 mph). The Peugeot retired shortly after that (on lap 59) with an overheating engine. By then it had outlasted two other Group C1 entrants.[46]

Since Peugeot had just launched its new model 405, the team agreed to advertise the new record as "405". This has led to many people mistakenly stating the record as only 405 km/h (252 mph), but Dorchy's best run down the Mulsanne straight was clocked at 407 km/h (253 mph).[46]

Bugatti Circuit

Bugatti Circuit is a 4.185 km (2.600 mi) permanent race track located within Circuit des 24 Heures, constructed in 1965 and named after Ettore Bugatti. The circuit uses a part of the larger circuit and a separate, purpose-built section. The sections of track on the Bugatti Circuit that are on the Circuit des 24 Heures include the Ford Chicane at the end of the lap, the pit complex, and the straight where the Dunlop Tyres bridge is located. At this point in the overlapping section of the tracks there is a left-right sweep that was added for motorcycle safety in 2002. Vehicles turning to the left continue onto the Circuit des 24 Heures, toward Tertre Rouge and Mulsanne, vehicles turning to the right at La Chapelle will continue the Bugatti Circuit. The infield section features Garage Vert, a back straight, the 'S' du Garage Bleu, and Raccordement, which joins back at the Ford chicane.

The track was home base for Pescarolo Sport, founded by famous French driver Henri Pescarolo. The circuit currently hosts the 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle race, and a round of the MotoGP Championship. The circuit also holds French motor club races and in the past has hosted rounds of the International Formula 3000 Championship and DTM (German Touring Car series).

In addition to motor racing, it is the venue for the 24 rollers, a 24h race on inline skates or quads.

The Bugatti Circuit was used for the 1967 French Grand Prix, though it would prove to be the only time the Formula One World Championship would use the circuit, and is the current host of the French motorcycle Grand Prix. It also forms the final round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship, and was part of the World Series by Renault and 1988 Superbike World Championship seasons.

Fastest race laps of Bugatti Circuit

The official fastest race lap records at the Bugatti Circuit are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
Bugatti Circuit: 4.185 km (2002–present)
Formula Renault 3.5 1:22.981[47] Matthieu Vaxivière Dallara T12 2015 Le Mans Formula Renault 3.5 Series round
LMP900 1:30.518[48] Tom Kristensen Audi R8 2003 1000 km of Le Mans
DTM 1:30.713[49] Mika Häkkinen AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 2006 2006 Le Mans DTM round
Formula Three 1:30.946[50] Nico Hülkenberg Dallara F308 2008 Le Mans Formula 3 Euro Series round
MotoGP 1:31.778 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Desmosedici GP22 2022 French motorcycle Grand Prix
LMP3 1:32.664[51] Mathias Beche Norma M30 2018 Le Mans V de V Sports Challenge Endurance round
Formula Renault 2.0 1:33.846[52] Martin Kodrić Tatuus FR2.0/13 2015 Le Mans Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 round
LMP675 1:34.380[48] Jon Field Lola B01/60 2003 1000 km of Le Mans
GT1 (Prototype) 1:35.236[48] David Saelens Panoz Esperante GTR-1 2003 1000 km of Le Mans
GT3 1:36.195[53] Soheil Ayari Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2014 Le Mans FFSA GT round
FIM EWC 1:36.195[54] Gregg Black Suzuki GSX-R1000 2022 24 Heures Moto
Moto2 1:36.276 Augusto Fernández Kalex Moto2 2022 French motorcycle Grand Prix
GT1 (GTS) 1:38.530[48] Darren Turner Ferrari 550 Maranello 2003 1000 km of Le Mans
Moto3 1:41.690 Celestino Vietti KTM RC250GP 2020 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Eurocup Mégane Trophy 1:36.165[55] Dimitri Enjalbert Renault Mégane Renault Sport 2009 Le Mans Eurocup Mégane Trophy round
GT 1:42.011[48] Andrea Montermini Ferrari 360 Modena GTC 2003 1000 km of Le Mans
MotoE 1:43.465 Niki Tuuli Energica Ego 2020 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Stock car racing 1:45.816[56] Ander Vilariño Chevrolet SS NASCAR 2014 Le Mans NASCAR Whelen Euro Series round
Truck racing 2:05.220[57] Sascha Lenz MAN TGS 2017 Le Mans ETRC round
Bugatti Circuit: 4.430 km (1989–2001)
F3000 1:33.210[58] Philippe Gache Lola T89/50 1990 Le Mans F3000 round
Formula Three 1:37.806[59] Ryō Fukuda Dallara F399 2001 Le Mans French F3 round
WSC 1:37.954[60] Emmanuel Collard Ferrari 333 SP 1998 Le Mans Autumn Cup
500cc 1:39.954 Max Biaggi Yamaha YZR500 2001 French motorcycle Grand Prix
250cc 1:41.473 Daijiro Kato Honda NSR250 2001 French motorcycle Grand Prix
World SBK 1:46.210[61] Jamie James Ducati 851 1990 Le Mans World SBK round
125cc 1:47.766 Lucio Cecchinello Aprilia RS125R 2001 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Bugatti Circuit: 4.240 km (1986–1988)
F3000 1:29.200[58] Emanuele Pirro March 86B 1986 Le Mans F3000 round
Formula Three 1:37.640[62] Yannick Dalmas Martini MK49 1986 Le Mans French F3 round
World SBK 1:56.790[63] Fabrizio Pirovano Yamaha FZ750 1988 Le Mans World SBK round
500cc 1:59.290[64] Randy Mamola Yamaha YZR500 1987 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Bugatti Circuit: 4.422 km (1965–1985)
Formula Three 1:36.620[65] Pierre Petit Martini MK31 1981 Le Mans French F3 round
F1 1:36.700[58] Graham Hill Lotus 49 1967 French Grand Prix
500cc 1:37.500 Freddie Spencer Honda NS500 1983 French motorcycle Grand Prix
250cc 1:43.600 Kork Ballington Kawasaki KR250 1979 French motorcycle Grand Prix
350cc 1:44.600 Walter Villa Harley-Davidson RR350 1976 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Formula Two 1:45.000 Denny Hulme Brabham BT18 1966 Trophée Craven 'A'
125cc 1:49.700 Ángel Nieto Minareli 125cc GP 1979 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Sidecar (B2A) 1:52.800 Rolf Biland Yamaha sidecar 1976 French motorcycle Grand Prix
50cc 2:11.200 Rudolf Kunz Kreidler 50 GP 1976 French motorcycle Grand Prix

Layout evolution of Bugatti Circuit

Events

Current
Former

Race results

Weather and climate

Météo France runs a weather station in Le Mans, which exhibits an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). With both the 24-hour races and the French MotoGP round being run before the peak of summer, high-profile races often have cool temperatures both in terms of ambient and track conditions with rainfall being a potential factor. Although nights cool off, sometimes into the single-digits, during the 24-hour car race, air frosts have never been recorded in June.

Climate data for Le Mans (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.2
(63.0)
21.0
(69.8)
24.9
(76.8)
30.3
(86.5)
32.4
(90.3)
37.1
(98.8)
40.4
(104.7)
40.5
(104.9)
34.6
(94.3)
30.0
(86.0)
22.2
(72.0)
18.3
(64.9)
40.5
(104.9)
Average high °C (°F) 7.9
(46.2)
9.1
(48.4)
12.7
(54.9)
15.7
(60.3)
19.5
(67.1)
23.1
(73.6)
25.5
(77.9)
25.4
(77.7)
21.9
(71.4)
17.0
(62.6)
11.4
(52.5)
8.2
(46.8)
16.5
(61.7)
Average low °C (°F) 2.1
(35.8)
1.8
(35.2)
3.7
(38.7)
5.6
(42.1)
9.4
(48.9)
12.4
(54.3)
14.2
(57.6)
13.8
(56.8)
11.0
(51.8)
8.6
(47.5)
4.7
(40.5)
2.5
(36.5)
7.5
(45.5)
Record low °C (°F) −15.2
(4.6)
−17.0
(1.4)
−11.3
(11.7)
−4.9
(23.2)
−3.7
(25.3)
1.6
(34.9)
3.9
(39.0)
3.2
(37.8)
−0.5
(31.1)
−5.4
(22.3)
−12.0
(10.4)
−21.0
(−5.8)
−21.0
(−5.8)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 67.2
(2.65)
50.9
(2.00)
54.3
(2.14)
53.9
(2.12)
63.0
(2.48)
46.9
(1.85)
56.8
(2.24)
42.7
(1.68)
52.9
(2.08)
66.0
(2.60)
62.7
(2.47)
70.2
(2.76)
687.5
(27.07)
Average precipitation days 11.2 9.3 10.2 9.5 10.0 7.3 7.6 6.5 8.0 10.7 10.5 11.8 112.6
Average relative humidity (%) 87 83 78 74 75 73 72 74 79 86 88 88 79.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 66.2 89.7 134.3 170.9 199.7 224.1 227.4 224.9 181.0 118.8 70.9 63.9 1,771.8
Source 1: Meteo France[66][67]
Source 2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity, snowy days 1961–1990)[68]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Both drivers took the same lap time independently.

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Sources

External links