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New Technical Regulations 2011

The technical regulations for the 2011 Le Mans 24-Hours, which also apply to the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Eureopean-based Le Mans Series (LMS) have now been published. The full details can be examined on the Le Mans website, but the essence is as follows:

The basic aim of the revised regulations is to improve Le Mans style sportscar racing in the following fundamental areas:

  • Improved Safety
  • Environmental Protection
    Iincluding the reduction of gas emissions, noise and the use of consumable items (fuel, tyres, brake pads etc
  • Performance Equivalence
    Establish a “level playing field” for all entrants from a sporting and technical point of view. This will be achieved through extended powers that enable the ACO to adjust a car’s performance during the season.
  • Cost Capping

With these objectives in mind, a number of revisions have been made to the regulations and, to offer some sense of continuity, these modifications will remain valid for at least three seasons, starting 2011, through to 2013. The ACO has also suggested that there may be the possibility of extending this period further, should they prove successful in their aims. The fundamental changes can be split into the various categories:


There will be the introduction of a new, less powerful engine.
This is intended to reduce, once again, the ever-increasing speed of the fastest prototypes. The ACO has an avowed aim of tagging the ultimate lap-time around the 15 kilometre Le Mans circuit to a minimum of around 3 minutes 30 seconds. The fastest race lap in 2010 was a 3:19.074, nearly seven-tenths quicker than pole, and more than ten seconds faster than that target time. To achieve this reduction in performance, the power of the engines will be reduced to around 520 bhp. This will also result in a reduction in emissions and better fuel consumption.
New Technologies will be accepted and encouraged
The progressive introduction of hybrid engines will be accompanied by a close monitoring of all aspects of safety associated with their use. The ACO will also assess their introduction carefully to ensure that they do not develop into “driver aids”. The recovery and restitution of energy under braking (KERS, for example) can be done on either the front or rear axles, but not on both on the same car. All kinds of hybrid technologies are acceptable.  
Dorsal Fin
There will be an obligatory aerodynamic fin fitted vertically above the engine cover of all new cars to improve stability in the event of an accident. This modification was initially proposed following several incidents during 2008 and 2009 when cars “flipped” after spinning side-on to the direction of travel. The new Audi R18, complete with "shark's fin" is illustrated below.
Systematic Checks
The ACO’s scrutineers will carry out regular systematic checks of wing angle and deflection.

Performance Adjustment
Through the application of article 19 (wherein the ACO reserves the right to apply performance balancing between the different engines and technologies) as well as the application of the “2% Rule”, the ACO will endeavour to balance performance. The aim will be to keep the lap times of the quickest cars in each technology within a range of 2% in relation to the quickest car overall, all technologies combined.
Grandfathered Cars
There will be an allowance given to the current generation of cars that will enable those constructed to earlier rules and regulations to remain in competition. This will mean that 2010 cars can still race in 2011. However, the technical configuration must comply fully with that of 2010, but the air restrictors on the engine will be modified and the fuel capacity reduced (to 75 litres from 90 litres) to address the aim of reducing overall performance.

Audi R18

Future Evolutions in LMP1
Following on from these modifications, the ACO intends to bring in new innovative eco-responsible regulations beginning in 2014 or 2015 to ensure that it always remains in the vanguard of environmental protection. The future regulations will be based on five major premises:

  • A given quantity of energy will be allocated to each car so that it will be up to the entrant to make the best use of it to win the race. The efficiency (ratio of energy expended/number of kilometres covered) will thus become as important a factor as out-and-out performance and reliability.
  • Opening up fully to new technologies by examining and accepting the most innovative power units.
  • Reduction in the size and weight of the cars.
  • Reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, the aim being to cover a distance of 5000 kilometres using 1500 litres of fuel or less (with an equivalence table according to the fuels). For example: in 1990 a typical racecar consumed 2550 litres covering 5000 kilometres in the 24 Hours, while in 2010 the most economical vehicle used only 1875 litres.
  • Continued reduction in tyre usage. This aim has already borne fruit. In 2010, some LMP1s used eleven sets of tyres during the Le Mans 24 Hours, compared to a typical nineteen in 2008.


The regulations coming into force next season, 2011, will remain valid until 2015 to provide greater rule stability and encourage the development of privateer teams. The participation of non-factory teams and the involvement of “gentlemen drivers” remains the ACO’s principal aim for the LMP2 category. To assist with this, one of the priorities associated with the revisewd regulations is to reduce costs. The main changes include:

Purchase Cost
The price of a new car (not including the engine) must not exceed 345,000 euros, or approximately £300,000, or $455,000. 
The cost per engine, which must be derived from a series production unit, must not exceed 75,000 euros, or approximately £65,000, or $99,000.

Engine Maintenance 
The minimum gap between rebuilds to an engine is 30 hours’ running time. Furthermore, the cost of a rebuild must not exceed 35,000 euros (£30,000 or $46,000). Over the course of the next five years, that running time must increase to forty and then fifty hours.

Driver Line-up 
Each team’s driver line-up must include at least one “gentleman driver” who meets the criteria laid down in the driver categorization system already in force.
Grandfathered Cars
To avoid forcing teams to invest in brand new cars for 2011, the current crop of LMP2 chassis may continue to race in 2011. However, as with similar cars permitted in LMP1, the ACO will apply stringent performance adjustments to ensure that they are not quicker than the 2011 machines.


The GT1 and GT2 categories that have been a familiar feature of Le Mans style racing for many years are to be replaced with a single GTE category. GT1, as such, no longer exists, and the new GTE category is based largely on current GT2 rules. However, two classes remain, and will be designated GTE Am and GTE Pro.

Car competing in this category may employ a maximum of just one professional driver per car. The model of the car entered must be at least one year old. The aim of this is to create an affordable GT class for sportsman drivers and generate a second-hand market for GT cars.

There will be no restrictions on either models or drivers. The existing performance balancing system applicable within the ACO regulations will be applied from the third race of the season (all series combined: ILMC. ALMS, LMS) to guarantee a level playing field from a sporting point of view.

Formula Le Mans

These cars are permitted to race in the ALMS (under the LMPC designation), the LMS, as well as the 6-Hour race in China in 2011. They are not allowed to take part in the Le Mans 24 Hours, but can run on the official test day (24th April 2011). They will not have their own classification in the ILMC, which suggests that they will be permitted to race at those events that combine rounds of the ILMC with the LMS, but that FLM cars will, in effect, compete as LMP2.

If necessary, the performance capabilities of FLM cars will be capped to ensure that the current gap that exists between the two categories (FLM, LM P2) will be maintained.

The team winning this category in the Le Mans Series will be given an invitation to compete in the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours within the LM P2 category, thereby encouraging the “feeder” concept of Formula Le Mans .

Additional information

Le Mans Test Day
The official Le Mans 24 Hours test day, staged on the full La Sarthe circuit, was not held in 2009 and 2010. However, it returns on 24th April 2011. It is a free session, in as much as there are no restrictions on circuit use during the day, but attending teams will be required to pay a fee. Attendance is not obligatory except for those drivers and/or cars that have never competed before in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The 56th Pit
An additional pit facility was introduced at Le Mans in 2010. The ACO reserves the right to select a 56th car to run in the Le Mans 24 Hours, outside the specific regulations and classifications. However, the vehicle in question must be part of an innovative technological project that respects safety, reliability and performance criteria.

Data Acquisition
A new and obligatory data acquisition system will be introduced for all cars (except FLM) to improve the accuracy and extent of performance monitoring and to widen their scope. This device will have increased potential to ensure a longer life. The increased data analysis will provide a better evaluation of the performance of the cars and the technologies used.

Environmental Impact
A sensor will be added in the catch tanks responsible for the collection of oil and coolant fluid spillages to assist in the monitoring of environmental and safety rules, and to encourage the reduction of such pollutants.

Extended Bonus
In 2011 the regulation concerning the awarding of points bonus according to the extended use of engines in the LMS will be dropped from LM P1 and LM P2. This decision has been taken because of the introduction of new engines that require a development phase.

The ACO will introduce a series of Commissions for each category (LM P1, LM P2 and LM GTE) that will each consist of six or eight members. These will be representative personnel selected from among the entrants, manufacturers, and engine builders in each category, and their aim will be to assist in the definition, application and evolution of the regulations as well as participation in performance equivalence studies.

For any further information about the ACO, the Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours, please visit the official website at

Industry News
ACO Technical Regulations 2011

Issued December 21st 2010

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