Le Mans Race Director Daniel Poissenot retires

Surprise announcement that veteran ACO official is to step down from role he’s held since 2001.

Le Mans Race Director Daniel Poissenot retires
Daniel Poissenot and Tom Kristensen
Race director Daniel Poissenot gives the green flag
Daniel Poissenot about the give the green flag to start the first practice session
Race director Daniel Poissenot drops the green flag to start the first session: #95 AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT: Giancarlo Fisichella, Jean Alesi, Toni Vilander
Hugues de Chaunac and Daniel Poissenot

Daniel Poissenot, the Race Director for the Le Mans 24 Hours since 2001, announced his retirement yesterday.

“Today it’s official. The ACO has decided to show me the chequered flag!” he wrote on his personal Facebook page. “After 42 years of professional participation in the 24 Heures du Mans, 26 meetings involved in the race control for track safety and 14 years as Clerk of the Course (5th since 1923) one page is off. With more than 300 local, national and international races, a book is about to be closed.

“Of course, with sadness I leave friends, colleagues, and marshals who we built this beautiful race with in order to push it up to a world level but keeping its unique atmosphere.”

Despite no official confirmation yet from the ACO, it is believed that Eduardo Freitas - current FIA WEC Race director - will take over Poissenot’s position as Directeurs De Course and that it will be formerly announced shortly. The two worked closely together on the FIA WEC and at Le Mans in recent seasons.

Emotional tribute

Poissenot paid an emotional tribute to the Le Mans 24 Hours and sportscar racing in general, writing: “I will also keep in mind the best memories of all these past years made of incredible emotions, positive or negative, picked up along 10 years of American Le Mans Series, 8 seasons as Race Director of Le Mans Series, Race Director of Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, 2 years of creation of Asian Le Mans Series.

“Along all these races, I have been able to meet people with enormous talent and also to make a few friends, and bring Le Mans’ name all over the world.

“Race is immortal…”said Charles Faroux (Ed – the original Race Director at Le Mans), so I sincerely wish a long life to the 24 Heures du Mans. I am now awaiting the 100th edition (Ed - in 2032).”

Poissenot’s stint as Race Director at Le Mans got off to an unforgettable start when, Jacky Ickx joined him to share the duties. 2001 also saw the remarkable first few hours of the race when a rain shower caused multiple accidents throughout the field, with the track being blocked on the run from Arnage to Porsche Curves for a while.

Previous to Daniel’s 14 years in charge, his predecessors were:

Marcel Martin 1981-2000

Charles Deutsch 1969-1980

Jacques Loste – 1957-1968

Charles Faroux – 1923-1956

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