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In Confidence: Trouble brewing at Le Mans?

1 year ago

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Jim Holder | Journalist


16 June 2023

Ferrari’s victory at Le Mans last week was a dream result for all but the teams it vanquished – for now. The run to victory was perfect on so many levels: it was 50 years since the works team last competed, 58 since it last won, and the race was oh-so-close for almost all of its 24 hours, delivering lead changes, seesawing fortunes and a nail-biting finale.

But I wonder if the race organisers, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) in conjunction with the FIA, will come to regret a result that was simultaneously brilliantly and ham-fistedly implemented via Balance of Performance (BOP), plus adjusted safety car regulations.

The purpose of BOP is to ensure a more even playing field among teams – and, given nobody could predict the winner with any certainty until near the very end, few could argue that they got the weight penalties (applied, lest we forget, to the chasing Toyota and Ferrari, albeit to differing degrees) spot on. They combined with the new safety car rules to ensure a breakaway was near-impossible, and that whoever saw the chequered flag first had to earn it.

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