Monday 15th June
Thursday was the open pits day where we were last blog but Friday was no racing day so we thought we’d cycle round the track, it’s only 8 miles up and down hills, we really thought we could make it. What we didn’t reckon on was the Mulsanne straight being open to the general public (it is a normal road most of the time) so we had to dice with death racing each other down the hill trying to max out at 330kph like everyone else does.
By the time we got to the Auberge, not even half way down the straight, we were slightly knackered so pulled in for a pit stop. Just in time because as we found a table the heavens opened and everyone else had to stand. As you can see, Steve pulled, I had to do the chatting up for him but he did all the cuddling.
The French Lady’s husband was a “Track Junkie”, the equivalent to a petrol head and he beckoned me into the restaurant and this is who we saw. I couldn’t believe it, wow, thanks Mr Track Junkie.
In case you are wondering this is the back of Derek Bell, winner of Le Mans 5 times (I had to google that fact so it might be nearly right).
Unfortunately it rained and rained until just before all our money ran out and we had to make a very dodgy cycle ride back to base. Steve only fell off three times but Jordan did manage to collect 44 glasses and throw his Dad on the floor when he stood up and Andrew was on the wrong end of the trestle.
This is Saturday, we did get up eventually, and made our way to the start line in time to see some of the classic races, dunno what they are.
The blue car….
And the red car had a race.
All the Le Mans cars were pushed out of the pits and this is the crowd that is allowed into the pits pre race, couldn’t see Martin Brundle anywhere.
And then some old cars came round but I haven’t got a clue why. Al the commentary was in French but I did find out that the Mayor of Le Mans was presenting some awards and doing some waving but no one likes him and he was getting booed all the time.
The little fella is Jean Todt, President of the FIA.
Once they had cleared all the pit lanes we were left with all the cars parked diagonally. I really thought that the drivers would be running across the track, jumping in and driving off.
A photo for all the fellas who would rater have a fast woman that a fast car.
We had to wait for the French equivalent to the Red Arrows.
And then we are off, a rolling start and the start of 24 hours of listening to cars that were far far louder than my old Morris Oxford when the exhaust fell off.
We’d arrived at the start line three hours early, watched a couple of hours racing and headed back t the vans for some refreshments. These are some of the cars I found, orange, yellow and green, that’s all I know about cars.
Sunday we went back to the track and found a really nice bank to sit on with very few people. Deckchairs out, few bevies, some lunch and time for some dream time.
Most of the cars are very, very loud and we had just had nearly 24 hours of listening to them. The Chevrolets seemed to be the loudest with their 5500cc non turbo engines but the Audi pictured above with a 4000cc V6 TDi were whisper quiet.I personal liked the quiet cars, I just think that they are converting more energy into moving than wasting it on making a noise but I can see why Formula ! fans like the noise.
It is possible that this is the winning car. It’s only got a V4 2000cc turbocharged engine with heat and kinetic energy recovery. The Audis were not far behind bearing in mind they had been racing for 24 hours.
We stayed Sunday night, had a BBQ and some of our fellow travellers went scavenging. Above is some of the beer collected, they found tents, chairs, tables, washing up bowls, 16l packs of coke. It was unbelievable what our fellow campers left behind. A lot of it had been bought in local supermarkets and since they had little space in their cars it was just left.
Monday morning after a quick pitstop to fill up with diesel for us and petrol for Andrew and Val we made our way to Bolougne, 260 miles of motorway shared with thousand of British cars, it was almost like being on the M1.
Lots of exotic cars passed us, Bentleys, Ferraris, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, Aerial Atoms, Caterham 6’s, Lotus, TVR’s, you name it we saw it, but not once, not twice. Most of these cars we saw three times, they might be fast but they had to stop for more pit stops than we had to. Even 150 miles from Le Mans there were still photographers up on the bridges trying to get a photo of Frankie.