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ACO Sporting Regulations for 2009 and Beyond

The 2009 sporting regulations as defined by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) have now been published, and make interesting reading for anyone deeply engrossed and involved in the sport. The publications contain all the technical regulations for entrants in all categories, with separate documents applicable to prototypes (LMP1 and LM P2) and GT categories (LMGT1 and LMGT2). Those relevant to RML can be downloaded direct from this site using the links below.

This year's regulations are accompanied by some outline indications of the proposals scheduled for introduction in 2011, when the next really major raft of changes is expected to be introduced.

All races run under the Le Mans brand in 2009, including the Le Mans 24 Hours itself, plus the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in the States and the Le Mans Series in Europe, will be governed by a single set of ACO regulations. This is something of a "first", since there has always been a tendency in the past for detail variations to creep in, especially between the ALMS and other race series, but the ACO has finally managed to draw everyone together into an agreement which will unify the regulations. With that in mind, the 2009 documentation has been released a little earlier than previous years, hopefully allowing everyone plenty of time to meet the new rules and ensure their cars comply.

These regulations address the guidelines announced by the ACO at the Silverstone press conference on 13th September. These include: the wish to create a "level playing field" both within and across categories, so that all cars within one category have a fair chance of winning on merit, and entries from one category don't impinge upon the performance potential of those in other classes (such as GT1 being as quick as LMP2 down the straights, as was the case in 2007/8, for example); the question of safety, and in particular the alarming tendency of prototypes to become airborne when caught side-on to the direction of travel; the wish to control and, where possible, reduce the costs associated with participation, and finally; the aspiration to introduce sustainable development to the future of Le Mans-style motorsport.

A total of five documents have been released:

(1) LM P1 and LM P2 Technical Regulations. Download
(2) LM GT1 Technical Regulations. Download
(3) LM GT2 Technical Regulations. Download
(4) Supplementary Technical Regulations. Download
(5) Sporting Regulations. Download

Important Note: The above downloads are in Adobe Acrobat format, and require that Acrobat Reader is installed on your computer before they can be viewed. If you do not have Acrobat installed on your computer, please visit Adobe website for download information and instructions. Right-click and "Save target as" if you do not wish to view these documents immediately.

Looking Ahead to 2011

It may be some while before the full detail and likely impact of the 2011 proposals are realised, but in essence, the plans for 2011 include the following key points:

LMP1 engines
Reduction in power and cubic capacity, with LM P1 diesel engines being limited to 3.7-litre twin turbo 8 cylinders maximum instead of 5.5 litres. Normally aspirated petrol engines will be limited to 3.4-litre 8 cylinders maximum instead of 6 litres, and turbocharged petrol engines will be limited to 2.0-litre 6 cylinders instead of 4.0 litres.

LMP2 engines
Similar reduction in power and capacity within LMP2, but diesel engines will be encouraged, with a maximum size of 4.0-litres turbocharged 8 cylinders. Petrol-powered units must be maximum 4.0 litres developed from a 2010-specification GT2 series production unit.

Prototype Weight Limits
The minimum weight in LMP1 remains at 900 kgs, whereas the limit in LMP2 is to be increased from 825 to 900 kgs.

Cars running hybrid engine systems aimed at reducing fuel consumption will be encouraged by having additional development potential within precise rules and guidelines as yet unspecified.

Fuel tank capacities will be further reduced to 75 litres (from 90 litres) in the case of petrol-engined cars, and 68 litres (from 81 litres) in the case of diesel-powered cars.

Wheels & Tyres
There are currently no plans to change the regulations with regard to wheels and tyres beyond those already scheduled for 2009.

Further details can be found on the official ACO Website

RML Industry News 2009
Details announced for 2009 Regulations
Issued November 19th 2008