Avoiding Le Mans/F1 clash ‘mission impossible’ for Todt

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TURIN, Italy – FIA president Jean Todt claims that preventing a clash between the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Formula 1 races is “mission impossible”.

F1 chiefs came under fire after a clash between the European Grand Prix in Baku and Le Mans last weekend.

The winning Porsche car took the checkered flag at Le Mans just seconds before the lights went out to start the F1 race in Baku, causing a headache for fans and others following both events.

The CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship believed the scheduling to be a direct attack on Le Mans, while the president of the ACO told NBC Sports earlier this year that he hoped the FIA would do more in the future to prevent the clash.

However, Todt believes that due to the high number of top line series with ever-growing calendars, it is not possible to ensure that Le Mans does not clash with another event.

“You know it’s kind of mission impossible,” Todt said.

“We were talking about how many healthy series in motor racing, and we have only 52 weekends.

“I was in Le Mans, I never saw as many people. I don’t think that Le Mans was penalized by having Baku at the same time.

“I was in Baku, and incidentally I was watching [Le Mans] and I could follow because it started at 3pm and finished at 3pm. So it was quite easy to follow the start of the race and the finish of Le Mans if you really wanted.

“I must sympathize for Bernie [Ecclestone]. He has 21 grands prix, then it’s with national holidays [to consider] – we have a lot of things.

“With due respect, [critics] often don’t have all the ingredients in hand to be able to make the final assessment.

“It is easy to criticise, but probably if you would be in this situation, you would not have managed to do better.”

When asked if the clash was really necessary, Todt replied: “It was not possible to do otherwise.”

However, Le Mans legend Emmanuele Pirro believes that Le Mans is an event that should be protected due to its history and significance.

“I think that was not a good move. Definitely not,” Pirro told NBC Sports.

“You have to say that to design a calendar is more and more difficult because there are many races in different disciplines so it is not easy.

“However, certain pillars of motor racing should be respected.

“Baku was a really interesting race. I think altogether it was a really interesting event.

“The only problem is that it was on the same weekend as Le Mans.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.