23 Jul A visit to Le Mans Classic 2014
A visit to Le Mans Classic 2014
Every second year since 2002, hundreds of classic race cars and hordes of spectators descend on Le Mans in a glorious reenactment of the golden days of motor racing. I went. And I got to drive on the famous Circuit de la Sarthe myself.
This year’s Le Mans Classic, the 7th since it was started by Patrick Peter, saw over 500 cars competing in six groups:
Grid 1: cars from 1923 – 1939
Grid 2: cars from 1949 – 1959
Grid 3: cars from 1957 – 1961
Grid 4: cars from 1962 – 1965
Grid 5: cars from 1966 – 1971
Grid 6: cars from 1972 – 1979
Across the 24 hours of the race, each grid races for one hour in every six, day and night. The early grids even have a go at the classic Le Mans start. It is as dangerous and chaotic as you would imagine:
Absolutely bonkers and absolutely great, isn’t it?
Le Mans Classic is nothing short of a full frontal attack on all your senses. The sound of a Porsche 917 blasting by the grand stands is simply glorious. And with a ticket to the open paddock, you will be engulfed in the petrol fumes and that smell of burnt oil and hot tires that will send your adrenaline racing. Of course there are outstanding cars absolutely everywhere! In the end you will not bother to look at something so common as a lowly modern Ferrari or Lamborghini. Why waste a second, when someone round the corner has just fired up a Porsche 935 and flames sputter out of the exhaust?
I drove to Le Mans in my 911 from ’76 along, with a bunch of other Porsche fans from the Copenhagen area. You can read more about the 5,200 kilometre trip through Europe here. Luckily I had bought my ticket early and had managed to get my hands on a parade lap ticket as well. So I got to drive 2 full laps of the Circuit de la Sarthe. You can read more about it, and see a dash-board video, in the article here.
Here are a few select pictures of the cars and the spectacle of Le Mans Classic. Enjoy!
Campsite view. Porsche butts, butts and more butts
In the paddock
Porsche 917 in the paddock.
Full throttle down the straight in my 911.
Porsche kitchen, anyone?
Okay, it’s not a Porsche. But it’s great nonetheless.
The Porsche Museum was there with a Porsche 935
An Alpine. A glorious little thing that I’d imagine is pretty much a French 911.