The four classes for the 90th Le Mans 24 Hours will make it on Thursday between 20:00 and 20:30 during the Hyperpole session. Here’s all you need to know about the 2022 season’s qualifying event, where only speed matters.
The majority of the starting places for the 90th Le Mans 24 Hours would take place during Wednesday’s qualifying session (19:00 to 20:00). The Hyperpole session will include the top 23 teams from a field of 62.
The top six teams in each class will be eligible to participate in the Hyperpole session, where they will be able to demonstrate their speed. This element specifies the starting grid coordinates for each class. Because five Hypercars have joined the event, Hyperpole will have 23 vehicles rather of 24.
Only for the fastest
Even though the Le Mans 24 Hours track is just 13.626 kilometers long, qualifying for the competition is challenging. Traffic, yellow flags, and slow zones can all make taking the lead difficult. The Automobile Club of the West made the choice to form Hyperpole for the same reason.
The ACO lets drivers concentrate only on performance by selecting the top six cars in each class at the end of qualifying. This relieves them of the burden of dealing with traffic or any of the other difficulties mentioned above. In Hyperpole, drivers must focus entirely on completing the fastest possible lap. “One thing I’ve learned about Hyperpole is that it breeds hostility.”
“All the drivers want in on it,” says Kamui Kobayashi, driver of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid. “It’s always great to arrive at Le Mans with brand-new tires, minimum gasoline, and no traffic,” says Porsche GT driver Kevin Estre. Competing for first place in Hyperpole is also beneficial to your ego and reputation.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans now has a sprinting element thanks to Hyperpole. Even though starting position has minimal influence on the outcome of the race, it is vital to aim for first place.
What are the rules for Hyperpole?
The best time of each team determines their ranking, much like in a typical practice session. No refueling or pit stops are permitted. Within the eight-tire session restriction, they can choose their own tires.
Cars that qualified for Hyperpole but did not complete any timed laps during the session will be put on the starting grid behind other Hyperpole cars in the same class, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
What’s the advantage of hyperpole for the winning team?
Even if you win the Hyperpole, you have a minimal chance of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The event was not won by the Hyperpolesitters in LMP2, LMGTE Pro, and LMGTE Am in 2021 (JOTA, Hub Auto Racing, and Dempsey-Proton Racing). The 2020 LMP1, LMGTE Pro, and LMGTE Am champions (vehicle #7 of Toyota Gazoo Racing, Porsche GT Team, and Luzich Racing) also failed to qualify.
Kamui Kobayashi won the inaugural Hyperpole of the Hypercar era in the Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid.