Le Mans 24h is like the Stig on Top Gear
Some say… Ah, nevermind.
You don’t choose to work Le Mans… Le Mans chooses you!
OK, enough. It is important to know that changes are coming to the way marshals are assigned to the various posts around the track, primarily the way the marshal posts are set up around the track. Apparently, gone are the days of crossing the track just to get to your station. Starting this year, the posts will be set up in such a way that would allow marshals to take their positions without crossing the hot track during the 24 hour race (an activity that was particularly exciting, especially at poste 106 bis where I was stationed because of the way the track crossings were executed, especially at night). That said, my old post #106 (or 10.6 km from Start line) is no more, it’s now Sector 28 to be controlled by one post chief on Driver’s Left and another on Driver’s Right.
So no more hot track crossing unless there is an incident.
In addition to that, there will be less response to incidents. The marshals will be primarily concerned with flagging an incident while rescue crews in vehicles will respond to them. This is again a bit of a departure from the way things were done, and more closely resembles what happens at the Tudor United SportsCar Series races in the US, and to some degree what has been done at the Nurburgring 24h event for ages. Hot pulls. Rescue truck response, etc. Is this a good thing? I don’t know. It took me by complete surprise for example when I responded to my first big Le Mans crash in 2012 along with my American partner. We pushed one car out back on track, but the second one was too mangled to continue. Both I and my partner were convinced that vehicle intervention would be needed as we were powerless to push the car to safety. But we were wrong. As our colleagues watching the race on TV in the marshal campground during their time off started rushing to our aid, soon there was no place for me to put my hands to help push the car. But push the car they did, for a good 100 meters to a cutout in the fence, where the vehicle remained until the end of the race. That was amazing! But apparently that is no more.
The ACO sent out a detailed description of the changes and the new station assignments that I won’t be sharing in this post. But for whomever is interested in the event I urge you to sign up now! Especially with the front engined and front wheel drive Nissan GT-R LMP1 car making it’s debut, and the 25th anniversary of McLaren taking to the track during the exhibition activities, 2015 would be an excellent year to participate. Sadly I won’t be there, but you have fun!
Some photos from my last two years at Le Mans: