• Jun 17th 2006 at 10:55PM
  • 8

The organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans have announced that the race's premier class, the LMP1 prototypes, will be restricted to coupe-style cars starting in 2010. The Automobile Club d'Ouest (ACO) announced the change in the run-up to this weekend's running of the endurance racing classic.

Although the current regulations allow for both coupe and roadster body styles, different specifications for the two body types have given the roadsters the performance edge. The Bentley EXP Speed 8 shown above was the last hardtop to win the race, in 2003.

The rule change is intended to make the cars in the headline class look more similar to road cars. (You see lots of waist-high winged coupes on your morning commute, right?) Rules for the smaller LMP2 prototypes will be unchanged, allowing open-top cars.

The change will also affect the American Le Mans Series in the U.S. and the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe, both of which run to ACO rules.

[Source: SpeedTV.com  Photo courtesy Bentley]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Audi has become so dominant at Le Mans that they had to invent their own challenge this year... rather than letting the R8 win again (and it would have), they chose to go diesel just because they could.

      I'm sure this change is mainly to force Audi to design a new car from scratch and reintroduce some competition into LMP1.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I don't think that Audi will be to happy about this, they have just made a brand new car. The new Pegout is supposed to be with a roof. I think the "spyders" don't look bad at all. But anyways, the Audi R10 won Le Mans anyways.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Isn't the Bentley just an Audi R8-10 with a roof?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Audi wins Le Mans
      • 9 Years Ago
      Yeah pretty much the Bentley was an R8 with a roof and green paint.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I love the looks of roof prototypes. Porsche GT1 98, Toyota GT1, Mazda 787B, Peugeot 905B, Bentley Speed 8 (of course), Ford GT40, etc. Heat won't be that much of a problem now that air conditioners can be used later on. The C5-R in the LMGT1 is experimenting with an air conditioner in the race right now.

      However, the thrill of driving an open cockpit is amazing. So from a driver's point of view, they would see this as a 'bad thing'.
      • 9 Years Ago
      But the roadsters are ever so much more fun in racing games!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Did they mention anything about safety enhancements? After all that what really matters in my opinion.
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