Le Mans 24 Hours favourite Sebastien Buemi has called on organisers of the endurance classic to consider splitting qualifying sessions next year to stop the LMP1 cars being blocked by GT runners, including those he says are doing so intentionally.

The Swiss driver is eyeing his and Toyota's first Le Mans 24 Hours win driving the #7 TS050 Hybrid alongside Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson, but says qualification preparations are being hampered by difficulties in finding space on track.

More specifically, Buemi says increasing ill-feeling between LMP and GT drivers when it comes to getting by in certain portions of the circuit has developed to the point some are intentionally staying in the middle of the track because they are 'pissed off' at being passed.

"I hate the qualifying sessions," he said, revealing Nakajima passed six or seven cars on his qualifying lap of 3m 18.793s

"I feel like it is becoming more like a joke because of the traffic and because of the luck you need to achieve something decent. None of the LMP1 cars had a clean lap... all of them at least lost a second in the traffic.

"The problem is they are all doing their races and they are trying to do the best they can but to be honest no-one cares about the other guys [drivers around them].

"The GTs don't like being overtaken in the braking or corners because they lose time. For example, between the Porsche Curves they sometimes drive in the middle of the track to make sure you cannot pass them. In a way it is part of Le Mans but in terms of qualifying we are quite bad."

"You drive a normal line and we avoid the GTs but sometimes you avoid them last minute, they get pissed off, then they start to block you. Some of the GTs are even ready to lose themselves time to make sure you cannot pass..."

Though Buemi did have some sympathy for the GT runners, suggesting he may find himself doing the same in their position, he says the massive speed differential between it and the LMP machines through the Porsche Curves - as much as 80kph - is astonishing.

"I am sure if I was in their position I wouldd end up doing similar stuff but it is just part of Le Mans. In the race you have to accept it, but the qualifying format it doesn't need to be like it

"Some of the speed differences are unbelievable when you enter the Porsche Curves. At some points you are 270kph, it is only a little bit slower than their top speed.

"I am not sure they go over 200kph... maybe even less, I don't know but I go 280kph max. When you arrive behind that you can't believe it."

As a result, Buemi has called on organsiers to adopt a similar approach to that of the FIA WEC series, which sees sessions split between GT and LMP cars.

"I feel like they should update this kind of regulation and do something like the WEC where the last hour of qualifying is half an hour for GT and half an hour for the LMP. I thought that should be the future because you wait at the end of the pit lane, you have a massive queue, people go out, try to have a clean lap and then you have people exiting the pits. It is just a mess."

 

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