Four days in 24 hours. This is the scheme that allows the drivers of the official teams to better manage the Le Mans marathon on the psycho-physical front.
Over the years there have been great progress in terms of technical reliability, and today, excluding tire management, the cars are able to guarantee constant performance over the entire duration of the race.
Obviously this required the drivers to make a big leap forward in terms of preparation, ‘stints’ are not allowed in which performance is even slightly lower than the average, each lap must respect very specific targets, including night hours.
Group photo of the pilots
Photo by: Eric Le Galliot
This has required a dedicated preparation that has evolved hand in hand with technical progress, coming to respond to what the teams are asking for today. A marathon like Le Mans impacts on drivers in the form of cognitive, physical and cardiovascular fatigue, three fronts that require specific preparation.
In the official teams each driver (net of unforeseen events) is involved in four ‘stints’ of two hours each, with a schedule set up by simulating participation in four races, each with its own cycle repeated four times.
Each period begins with two hours on the track, at the end of which the rider returns to his hospitality for a meal calculated down to the smallest detail, a balance that takes into account the need to recover hydration and energy.
During the meal, the pilot undergoes a pressotherapy session, which improves the performance of the circulatory system and the lymphatic system, and then sleeps for around two and a half hours.
Upon awakening, reactivation exercises are carried out, and the pilot prepares to return to the track by closing a cycle that he faces a total of four times.
Everything is optimized to put those behind the wheel in ideal conditions, every problem or symptom of tiredness is in fact an element that affects concentration, a priority aspect in a race like Le Mans that no driver can afford to underestimate.