The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been held since 1923. Till today the track has retained its character of being a temporary construction: The “Circuit des 24 Heures” uses a part of the permanent “Circuit Bugatti” race track, however, by far the largest part consists of public highways, which are closed-off especially for the race.
Tricky bumps, tram-lines formed by heavy trucks and public highway asphalt conditions are only three consequences of this compromise which challenge the drivers. A maximum speed of 405 kph was achieved on the Hunaudières straight in 1988. Since 1990 two chicanes artificially slow this section of track. Nevertheless, the Audi R15 TDI is still quicker than 300 kph in five places: Before the two chicanes, approaching Mulsanne and heading down towards the famous Indianapolis curve and before the Porsche Curves. The amount of full-throttle per lap is over 75 per cent. At an assumed lap time of 3m 30s this would mean that the drivers are at full throttle for 2m 27s.