The Syndicat Mixte du Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, the public organisation in charge of managing large investments for the Circuit de la Sarthe, has revealed plans to upgrade and expand the start/finish line grandstand located above the pit lane of the Bugatti / Circuit de La Sarthe. Works should last three years (from 2020 to 2023) and cost approximately 18 million euros (21 million US dollars).
The grandstand located above the pit lane of the Circuit de La Sarthe was built in 1990, some 28 years ago. It provides 2900 spectator seats but also 46 permanent pits, 63 VIP loges spread over two floors, a media centre, a drivers’ briefing room, and several offices for race officials and safety personnel.
A recent audit driven by the ACO and by international project management firm ARTELIA concluded that the pits, the VIP loges and the media centre were outdated and needed upgrading. The audit report also indicated significant potential for the ACO to grow its revenue should the grandstand be expanded.
In order to address these points, the ACO and ARTELIA recommended significant works worth 18.3 Million Euros (approximately 21 Million Dollars). These would kick-off in 2020 after two years of project planning and end on the 24 Hours of Le Mans’s centennial anniversary in June 2023.
The number of permanent pits will remain the same (46) yet all will be modernised and fed by a new fuel distribution network worth 1.3 Million Euros. Pit upgrades would also support the installation of liquid/gas hydrogen and energy efficient charging lines should this be required by the new 2020’s ACO set of regulations.
Yet, the bulk of the works will occur above the pits. The number of VIP loges will grow by one third (from 67 to 92) and their unit size would expand significantly to accommodate 12 to 15 privatised spectator seats and a greater reception area. A new 240 sqm / 300 seats drivers’ briefing and press conference room would also be built near the podium.
In order to support this new layout, the back of the grandstands’ first and second-floor surfaces would be extended by 700 sqm (approximately +30%). At the same time, the media centre is set to be relocated to the current ACO head office which in turn should be transferred to a new but as yet undisclosed location.