Reversal of Ban on Pre-Heating Tyres for Le Mans Round of WEC

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), in conjunction with the FIA, has reversed its ban on the pre-heating of tyres for the Le Mans round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Only the double-points round of the series on 10-11 June is affected. The decision followed an “in-depth evaluation of tyre usage data together with the WEC’s exclusive tyre suppliers, Michelin and Goodyear”.


The reversal was made to address concerns raised by drivers during the Spa 6 Hours meeting earlier this month. Several drivers went off the track on cold tyres during the race, including Toyota driver Brendon Hartley and Ferrari’s Antonio Fuoco in the Hypercar class. Ferrari sportscar racing boss Antonello Coletta said it was “time to do some serious thinking on the matter because it has major ramifications for safety”. In addition, Toyota driver and team principal Kamui Kobayashi called the ban “crazy dangerous”.


The exemption is limited to Le Mans only, ensuring that drivers of all levels of experience can compete safely, regardless of track conditions and temperatures. The reversal covers all three classes, Hypercar and GTE Am where Michelin is the sole tyre supplier and LMP2 in which Goodyears are used. The ACO statement pointed out that the ban on tyre warmers was “introduced as part of a long-term WEC tyre road map, developed in consultation with tyre manufacturers, and has been in the works over the past two years”. Furthermore, a 100% sustainable fuel supplied by WEC exclusive supplier TotalEnergies will be mandated for use in the ovens the teams use to pre-heat the tyres at Le Mans. This will allow “tyre manufacturers, teams, and drivers will gain valuable time to develop a better understanding of how to bring cold tyres up to temperature ahead of the remainder of the 2023 WEC season”.

In conclusion, the reversal of the ban on pre-heating tyres for the Le Mans round of WEC comes as a relief for drivers and teams, who were concerned about the safety implications of the ban. The temporary exemption will give tyre manufacturers and teams time to develop better techniques for bringing cold tyres up to temperature, thus ensuring safer racing during the remainder of the 2023 WEC season.


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