The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), which organises the Le Mans 24 Hours race, has recently announced changes in the safety cars rule for the upcoming 2023 edition. The new safety cars procedure was tested and approved during test day, earlier in the season, after a long process of analysis and testing in the last five years. It was in 2018, when the old safety cars procedure was contested in the LMGTE Pro class by the competitors, leading to a thorough review.
The safety cars rule will be implemented in Le Mans 24 Hours race, in case of a major incident, when the race director decides to neutralise the racing on a 13.626 km long circuit. The three safety cars, named A, B, and C, will take the track, irrespective of where the overall leader is. Then, all the competing cars will take their position behind the safety cars. Just before the race resumes, competing cars will overtake the safety cars B and C to get behind the safety car A, as part of the merging procedure.
Shortly afterwards, at the discretion of the race director, the competing cars will be allowed to do the pass-around procedure, in case their category leader is behind them.
Finally, the field in Le Mans 24 Hours race will be rearranged by class with the drop-back procedure. As per the rules, it affects all classes of cars, but only LMP2s and LMGTE Ams will be allowed to make a move. In this, the LMP2s will be pulled to the right side of the track and the entire field of cars will overtake them, then the LMGTE Ams will be made to follow the same procedure.
At the end, the field will be in order with Hypercars, LMP2s, and LMGTE Ams lining up behind their respective leaders to restart the Le Mans 24 Hours race. Also, the entire new procedure detailed above, will be not applied within the last 60 minutes of racing, instead the old procedure will be applied.