Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours race champion Allan McNish has told us that technology first trialled at the world famous endurance event often makes it on to road cars – and this year’s big thing will be laser lights.

Speaking ahead of Le Mans 2014, McNish said that racing is more relevant to everyday cars than people think – with features from seat belts to windscreen wipers debuting at the race.

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“The laser light’s on this year’s Audis will make it onto road cars straight away,” McNish told us.

“It [Le Mans] has got an open rule book. Even back in the 60s it was seen as a very strong marketing tool.”

Laser lights will first appear on the Audi’s runout special R8 LMX, on sale later this month.

The laser lights on the LMX operate at speeds above 37mph and supplement the LED headlights seen on previous Audi R8s.

It comes before BMW’s launch of the i8 hybrid supercar, which will appear on UK roads from next month and feature optional laser lights.

McNish also told us that new Le Mans regulations that restrict energy usage reflect the pressure manufacturers are under to improve fuel economy figures and reduce emissions from road cars.

He said: “It’s the way motorsport has to go. Le Mans has always reflected what’s happening in the real world, so it’d be wrong not to cap energy usage.

“The new regulations almost go against your instincts as a racing driver. Your focus is not just on the lap time, it’s on the fuel energy usage. You will encounter strict time penalties if you go over your energy use for three laps.”

Look out for our reports live from Le Mans 24 Hours, taking place on 14 – 15 June.

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On Bing: see photos of laser lights