Stéphane Bertrand, track chief at Le Mans since 2009 and head of radios, is surrounded by walkie-talkies these days! There are more than 900 in his coffers, ready for the 24 Hours. About 250 will be utilized by the marshals and various working bodies on the track (medical teams, safety vehicles, race direction, etc.), and the rest will be spread among the different Automobile Club de l'Ouest services. "As early as November, I list the needs of each entity in terms of radios," explains Stéphane Bertrand. "Then in December/January, the locations are initiated for the season." This because the ACO has "only" 260 radios!
The service provider is a German company also preferred by the organizers of the football Euros and the Rio Olympic Games. "We use top-notch technology not very widespread in France which is 100% numeric." Transmissions are clear and more reliable than the analogs fomerly used.
Even though there are many users on the same network, the system allows one to know which person or which marshal post is calling. During the competition, two technicians are assigned to monitor the walkie-talkies. The ACO has fixed frequencies unlike teams who manage their communications individually and must request temporary frequencies from the ARCEP (Autorité de Régulation des Communications Elecroniques et des Postes). In 2015, a whopping 833 frequencies were attributed to the 24 Hours of Le Mans!
Céline Gualde / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
Photo: Stéphane Bertrand and a little sampling of the 900 radios used during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.Discover all news