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Labor Protests Threaten Le Mans

Sometimes you just got to say, “God bless the French.” I mean the one French thing us motoring enthusiasts care about is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now, thanks to strikes and protests there could be a fuel shortage. A fuel shortage that could impact the Le Mans Test Day next weekend. If left unresolved it could even threaten the 24 hours.

So what exactly is going on over there? The short version: The French government passed unpopular labor law reform. Many did not like this reform and felt the call to action. Action that took the form of strikes and protests effectively blocking numerous refineries across France. As a result, nearly 25% have been shut down. Which has led to a massive gas shortage across the country.

According to a report from The Independent the French Government believes there will be any major disruption to the 2016 Euro Soccer Tournament. The Euro or whatever soccerists call it, is slated to begin June 10, a week ahead of Le Mans. While that may seem like a decent amount of time to find a resolution according to many sources the situation is likely to get worse before it improves.

France is mobilizing its fuel reserves to help elevate some of the issue, but as you can imagine it is only a temporary solution. In fact the last time France had to dip into its reserves was in 2010, which was also during a refinery strike.

You may be wondering what the big deal is. You may rightly point out that race cars don’t use pump gas. and a pump gas shortage wouldn’t affect a motor race at all. Well maybe not the physical cars when theyre at the physical race track. However, transporting the cars and personnel could absolutely be effected. In addition to safety personnel, track employees and fans, all of whom may be unable to make it to La Sarthe if the situation continues or worsens.

Before you get worried that the greatest motor race in the history of everything is in serious jeopardy of being postponed or even canceled this sort of thing has happened before. Strikes disrupting travel are nothing new, most recently a strike that impacted the French TVG (high speed train).

At the end of the day there are bigger issues at play here than just a simple motor race. Obviously there are huge amounts of people being effected by the lack of fuel. And for right now just the test day next weekend is in jeopardy.

About Chad Kennedy

Chad burst from the womb wearing a racing suit and a helmet. Chad's passion for cars is in his very DNA. His father was a gear head and passed on the tradition through owning such classics as a '66 Mustang and a '59 Corvette all while taking him to various race tracks in the area. Chad likes to wrench on his rides whenever possible, forgoing the stealership. Chad is an avid motorsports fan with particular interest in endurance/sports car racing. When not online writing for Shifting Lanes, you can find him working at the local golf course teaching people how to swing or hooning a golf cart at impossible speeds.

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