25 Jul 2 laps of the Circuit de la Sarthe
2 laps of the Circuit de la Sarthe
At this year’s Le Mans Classic I got to drive two full parade laps of the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe. Here’s how it went …
Loads of visitors to Le Mans Classic arrive in their own classic or not-so-terribly-classic sports car. And most of them dream of having a go at the circuit themselves. Well, for EUR 200 the organizers behind Le Mans Classic will allow you to drive two full parade laps in heavy traffic with a pace car in front.
We line up in the rain on the Bugatti circuit. My next door neighbours were to British gentlemen in a rare Jensen-Healey.
I had a go at it early in the morning on Saturday, after I woke up in a puddle of rain water in my tent. We lined up in the Bugatti circuit in two lanes, before we slowly entered the race track. There had been no safety briefing, but most people seemed to understand, that they should keep to their lane.
Going through the first chicane before the grand stand straight. It’s very tempting to go for a race line instead.
Until we hit the Mulsanne straight the going was as slow as a Sunday in November. Then our 200+ car traffic jam loosened up a bit and there was a chance to step on the gas.
In all honesty it felt like the whole thing was over in just two minutes. The rain fell heavy and I had to concentrate. We had slow cars from the 1930s on the track and a few overzealous Ferrari drivers had begun to drive race lines. But it was still a blast! The Porsche curves are great fun, and breaking down to Mulsanne corner feels just as epic and nerve thrilling as it should.
Here’s a dash board video from the two laps. I apologize for the poor quality and abysmal editing.
And, just for comparison, here’s how a race lap should look like:
If you go to Le Mans Classic next time – and you have a classic car – then do yourself a favour and buy those parade lap tickets!