The 4.180 km Le Mans circuit has hosted the French GP for the past four years and has always provided a challenge to those wishing to take the ultimate prize.

In the past, changes of tarmac in certain areas delivered changeable grip levels, especially in the rain, but with resurfacing having been carried out recently, it should provide a more predictable level of grip and consistency, after its characteristics are discovered in the early sessions.

Le Mans is an archetypal stop-go track, with the added complication of one of the highest speed curves of any circuit on the calendar, just after the short start-finish straight. Hairpins and chicanes abound, calling for not just balance and control under hard and repeated braking, but a neat and swift transfer from full braking to full acceleration on the exit of the corners. With nine right-handers, and only four lefts, the track is also particularly hard on one side of the tyres.

Existing Le Mans data, used to help speed up the set-up process in qualifying, may need to be modified if the resurfacing work has ironed out some of the existing bumps, but nonetheless firmer front fork setting and spring rates will be needed to handle the frequent braking demands.

A slightly softer rear spring, with a higher than normal pre-load, will be adopted to allow the machine to hold a line exiting corners, due to the reduced ride height which will be necessary to help the M1 remain stable under hard braking.

As the recent Jerez race showed, the race set-up and prowess of the M1 in full rain conditions is still an untapped resource, and the new surface of Le Mans is another variable the team will have to deal with should it be wet.



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