It’s 3 days on from Le Mans 2011 and I’m still recovering… but, would I do it again?! Of course!
Here’s what we did – As a team of 7 and joining a close friend for his stag do, we hired a motor home from Just Go at a cost of £800 for 4 days, which was collected on the Thursday prior to the weekend. Departing from Folkestone via the Channel Tunnel at 10:20, we had an entire carriage to ourselves with room to spread out and have a game of rugby.
The drive down in the motor home took a little longer than expected and we arrived at our first traffic jam on the way into Bleu Nord, via Arnage and the infamous ‘burn-out’ roundabout.
Pitching up at Beausejour around 18:00 with a couple of short stops and traffic jams on the way (didn’t feel that long due to us gawping at the number of classic Porsches, Ferraris and Astons), we found a quiet spot inside the track about a mile from the 2 chicanes before the main grandstand.
Unfortunately there was no qualifying to watch on the Friday, so we wandered up to the roundabout we’d heard so much about. Years ago, talented drivers turned up in Ferrari’s and Porsche’s and drifted around the roundabout. This year it was a bit more Honda Civic with fwd burnouts but every now and again something interesting turned up. There were French riot police on stand by and some very loud bangers and fireworks going off. This was entertaining on a boys trip for a bit but we would have much rather seen some more exotic cars turning up and the drivers not to feel threatened by drunk yobs standing in the road shouting ‘gummi gummi gummi’.
The 24 hour race started at 15:00 on the Saturday and we made our way over to the start of the 2 chicanes. Seated by a large crowd of Danish supporters for Tom Kristensen in the Audi, we felt in good company. Within a few laps of the race, Tom pitted and Alan McNish took over and we heard the news on the Le Mans radio station (91.2) about the crash. The radio coverage was a must if you aren’t within site of a TV or in the grandstand.
Everyone was in agreement that the Corvettes sounded incredible but you can clearly see the speed the GT cars have to scrub off pre-corner apposed to the full on Le Mans racers such as the Audi and Peugeot, however these cars sounded like hoovers and the GT cars were more exciting for the spectator.
In the evening we ventured out under the bridge, past Arnage and followed the general direction of traffic. On route, 5 out of the 7 of us fell in ditches due to no lights beside the road and possibly, slightly alcohol related, but hey, it was a stag do. The sharp right hander we ended up at next to the track was awesome. Witnessing the cars on full throttle from the Mulsanne straight, into a chicane, back on the power and through a fast right hander was exhilarating and this must be the best spot. The Corvette made my insides shake from the volume and the bass – I’m still looking at second hand prices of the Z06 and maybe Fast German could be expanded to include the Astons, Corvettes and Ferraris of this world.
3 solid days of drinking, eating burgers and listening to Le Mans noise and I’m shattered. A long drive home and thanks to the UK for closing the M20.
That was good fun getting a 7ft 6 motor home through country roads. Fantastic pictures provided courtesy of James Lipman and unfortunately I can’t post the more stag related ones :-).