JUNE 12, 2009
Le Mans ready to accept F1 refugees
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which runs the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Le Mans Series and provides regulations for the American Le Mans Series, says that it would welcome manufacturers from Formula 1 if they no longer want to take part in Grand Prix racing.
General Manager Remy Brouard refused to say who he has talked to up to this point but told European media that "there is no ideal number. The more, the merrier. They are welcome here. If they make suggestions, we will listen".
Sport car racing was big news in the 1960s and 1970s when Ferrari, Ford, Porsche, Lotus, Alfa Romeo and Matra competed at Le Mans. The era was the highpoint of interest in sports car racing, with the technology and performance of the cars comfortably in excess of what was seen in Formula 1 at the time. In 1972, however, the FIA changed the rules in an effort to cut costs and sport car racing went into decline. CanAm, which was similarly unlimited, was reined back after the oil crisis of 1973.
All of the F1 manufacturers have competed at Le Mans, often as a warm-up for an entry into F1.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo will be the official starter of this year's race tomorrow afternoon and there is talk that Fernando Alonso will attend the race as well.