As promised, a little summary of my first time to Le Mans!
I went with my Best Man, just the two of us - it was supposed to be a much larger group, but the linchpin of the group dropped out a few weeks back. It was no bad thing as Paul & I hadn't spent much time together since both of us got married 2 years ago, so nice to have some mates time.
Thursday - 12th June
20:00 - quick check of mpg guage showed 21mpg and covered 35miles since last fill-up. I decided to leave it where it was and compare at end of weekend. Packed up car with tent, tickets, beer etc and drove down from Essex to East Grinstead. Overnighted at E. Grinstead with Paul.
Friday - 13th June
05:00 - early start(!) to get to Eurotunnel.
06:30 - checked in and immediately surrounded by exotic cars of all shapes and sizes. A quick bacon & egg buttie at the terminal and it was ready to go. 30mins on the Eurotunnel used to catch up on a bit of kip.
09:00 - arrived at Calais, quick cup of strong coffee and swapped drivers; Paul's stint lasted 200miles, before I drove the final 70 to the campsite outside Le Mans.
15:00 - arrival at campsite. Loads of lovely cars - F360, DB9, Caterhams, Elise, M3 CSL, Masser Coupe, E-Type etc. Campsite not too busy and very civilised. Pretty good showers & bogs. Pitched tent, drank lager through 'til midnight!
Saturday - 14th June
08:30 - Shower, then breakfast.
10:30 - coach departure to circuit.
11:30 - arrival. Track empty until Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche owners club take on the circuit with 3 laps at 2/3 race speed under safety car. All vintage cars and look superb.
12:00 - more beer, take up position in grandstand and watch the build-up to the race and warm-up laps, before flying start at 15:00.
The sound of the cars is amazing. The diesels are almost whisper-quiet - you can barely hear anything but transmission noise from the Audi's, but the Peugeots (being made by blind French-men!) sounded a bit louder. All the petrol cars are so loud it makes your ears bleed!! But awesome sound and a brilliant atmosphere.
We spent an hour or so on the starting straight and then moved on past Dunlop curves to Tetre Rouge, which proved to be the best viewing position - we saw four 'offs' there.
22:00 - got the coach back to the campsite. Even though we'd have loved to have stayed on for the evening / night stint - 11hrs at the racetrack is quite knackering and it was really very hot indeed.
23:00 - 01:00 - got pissed!
Sunday - 15th June
02:00 - woken up to the sound of rain on tent. Didn't bother me greatly - back to sleep!
09:00 - shower and breakfast, followed by packing up the camping gear and readying car for the off.
11:00 - departure. Paul drove the first 50 or so miles, followed by me for 200 through to Calais and managed to board an early-ish train back. Filled up at Calais (had 20miles left in tank!) next to a Ford GT. The guy had stopped three
times since Le Mans (250miles) and said he was struggling to get 12mpg!!!!
15:30 - arrival in the UK. Paul drove from Folkestone to East Grinstead.
17:00 - left E. Grinstead for home, via Stapleford (Essex) to buy my old man a pint for Fathers Day. Got off M25 at Jnc. 29 and drove the last 40miles x-country. What a blast!!!
19:30 - arrived home, finally.
Car had clocked up a shade over 850miles and drunk c. £200 in petrol; the car had reckoned we'd achieved an average 28.9mpg over the entire journey. I didn't think this was bad considering on the country roads she got a pasting, she was full camping gear and we had the aircon on permanently, plus a bit of stationary running to keep food cool (running a powered coolbox at the campsite!).
I left Le Mans knowing I'll be back next year - it's an awesome event, which every petrol head has to do at least once. I loved the camradery with other car owners - all of whom are gagging to talk about, and show off their cars. And I very definitely left with massive adoration for the Beemer. In 850, she was one of the comfiest cars I've ever driven, or been a passenger in. She swallowed all our camping gear (and believe me, we probably took 1/3 more than we needed!) and proved to be superb fun when I needed waking up on the final leg of the journey. She looked the part too, although not as exotic as the others on our campsite, she still got some admiring glances from the hot hatch brigade and looked cool with her decals I applied before leaving!
In all the cost, broken down between campsite tickets, general entry and grandstand tickets, Eurotunnel crossing, fuel, food, beer cost just under £500 a head. A cracking weekend!
Oh, and Audi won!! Peugeot seem to make Le Mans P1 cars just like their road-going cars; built by blind incompetent French-men with papier mache! Although a full 20secs a lap quicker than the Audi, whereas the Germans just fuelled, tyre-changed and driver changed their cars, the Peugeots needed 20mins rebuilding half-way through!!! Very definitely a case of the tortoise & the hare!
I'll post photos tonight. All downloaded on to the PC - just need to link them to the page. Enjoy!!!
Last edited by Dunk on Jun 16 2008, 9:39 PM
2005 '05' BMW 330Ci, 231bhp, 0-60 6.7secs
Extras: SatNav + TV, Harman Kardon, Bluetooth, Electric Folding Mirrors.