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Michelin Sponsor New Landmark for Le Mans

Michelin have agreed to be the “exclusive partner” of the ACO for the new for 2013 race standings tower that is to be erected beside the pit-lane exit, along the main straight of the Le Mans 24 Hours circuit.

The 25-metre tall structure will display the provisional order throughout the race and will be known as the “Michelin Ranking Tower”.

In the course of the Le Mans 24 Hours’ long history, a number of systems have been employed. The inaugural race in May 1923, for example, saw the ACO use a huge board which was lit up at night by acetylene gas lights. In 1925, sponsors took advantage of this opportunity to display their brand names alongside the race positions. In the 1930s, and up to the outbreak of World War 2, the ACO made use of this highly visible tool – which was especially effective when lit up at night – to keep the public up to speed with its latest news.

The leader-board returned at the end of the 1940s, but was now located behind the pits. Then, in the 1950s, it was lifted to a higher position when it was fixed to a tubular frame structure built in the garden of the former ‘Welcome’ building.

From the mid-sixties and through to the early 1990s, several different solutions were tried, including a three-sided board which displayed the race order day and night thanks to thousands of light bulbs. Some will also remember the airship-mounted leader-board which floated in the sky above the circuit!

When new pits were built in 1991, a number of trackside giant screens appeared, and these were used to provide regular classification updates.