Category Archives: Le Mans News

Le Mans photography

Photography workshops at Le Mans

Have you ever been disappointed with your motorsport photography? Or have you ever wondered how professional photographers obtain the best shots? Then we now have the answer for you.
Travel Destinations have created an exciting partnership with Jessops Academy Photography Training School to offer you the chance to join a number of photo workshops trackside at the Le Mans 24 Hours. These workshops are exclusive to Travel Destinations customers and can be added to any of our Le Mans 2017 packages.

JessopsJessops award winning academy trainers will be hosting photography workshops at the Le Mans circuit on the Saturday and Sunday, to offer you the chance to learn and practice professional techniques and obtain even better photos. These workshops are designed to be fun and educational, enabling you to be able to us professional techniques trackside at Le Mans.

Le Mans 2017
Silhouettes at Le Mans

Jessops Academy have been running motorsport photography workshops in the UK for the last 4 years however, this will be the first opportunity that anyone has had the chance to learn from their knowledge trackside at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

For Le Mans 2017 there will be a total of 6 different training workshops available with 2 Jessops Academy trainers. Each workshop session will be limited to a maximum of 30 people to ensure everyone is able to receive the assistance that they need.

Each 2-hour session can be purchased individually for £50.00 per person, or as a special Travel Destinations offer, all 6 workshops can be purchased together for just £150.00 per person. 

Le Mans 2017 Workshops:
1. Camera set-up and control for motorsport photography. (Saturday, 11:00hrs)
2. Editorial Shooting (photography with a theme) and mastering panning shots trackside (Saturday 14:30hrs)
3. Dusk lighting, silhouettes and making the most of low light (Saturday 20:00hrs)
4. Shooting at night, light trails and slow shutter pit lane action (Saturday 23:00hrs)
5. Using sunrise and the dawn light. The perfect time of day for photography (Sunday 05:00hrs)
6. Reviewing motorsport images, problem solving and post production set (Sunday 11:00hrs)

As well as training at various locations around the track, the training team will be on-site on Friday evening and encourage all workshop participants to join them for a chat & introduction before the workshops begin on Saturday.

Spaces are strictly limited, so please secure your desired workshop by calling Travel Destinations now on 0844 873 0203.

Le Mans 2017
Camera panning gives good results

Further information:
– The workshops are open to all Travel Destinations customers of any photography standard and experience. The workshops can be added to your existing booking.
– A Digital SLR or mirrorless camera is recommended for all workshops. Although the workshops will still be relevant for compact or bridge cameras, the obtainable results will be limited by the technology.
– Bringing at least 2 different lenses with your DSLR is recommended. Particularly a wide-angle lens, and a form of telephoto (3 – 600mm)
– Although a tripod/monopod is not essential, it will be useful for night-time and low light sessions.
– You should expect to take a large number of photos during each session, so please ensure you have enough memory cards & battery life.
– Each trackside session will take place in public areas around the circuit. Media access is not necessary and will not be provided.
– Each session will take place at the circuit, usually trackside so if you are sensitive to noise ear defenders or earplugs are recommended.
– Be prepared for all weathers. Le Mans can be warm, cold, wet, dry and dusty all in one day. The workshops will take place whatever the conditions so you may need to protect your camera from the elements.
– Wear comfortable clothing. We will be moving around the track so comfortable shoes are a must and you may wish to kneel or lie down to get the best angles.

Le Mans 2017
You only get light trails like this at Le Mans

Reserve your place on the Jessops Academy photography workshops at Le Mans by calling Travel Destinations now on 0844 873 0203.

Le Mans Classic tickets

Le Mans Classic Returns

Le Mans Classic 2018We are pleased to confirm that the 9th running of the famous Le Mans Classic will take place from the 6th – 8th July 2018. The Le Mans Classic offers a great motor racing retrospective every two years at the historic Circuit de la Sarthe, in Le Mans, France. The event itself is much anticipated by participants and spectators alike, so booking your place early is highly recommended.

Last July, more than 123,000 spectators made the pilgrimage to Le Mans to witness 550 race cars take to the track as well as an amazing 8500 classic and sports cars from various clubs and organisations gather on the infield.

Travel Destinations are official agents for the Le Mans Classic and so are in a privileged position  to offer our customers the best choice in travel, Le Mans Classic tickets and accommodation for the Le Mans Classic 2018. Local hotels to Le Mans will be in high demand, however we have a selection available within a few minutes drive to the circuit. Camping has always been a tradition at Le Mans, so as well as the basic circuit run camping, we have 2 different trackside campsites offering superior facilities and secure parking adjacent to the track.

For the Le Mans Classic 2018 Travel Destinations will also be able to offer our Event Tents (Glamping) and our Flexotel Village (pop-up hotel) in the centre of the circuit. These options will enable all guests to enjoy a little more comfort, whilst still staying on the circuit. All these options can include entrance tickets and paddock access, as well as your choice of channel crossings from the UK if required. Options are also available without travel if required, so please enquire at the time of booking. Grandstand seats, circuit laps/track laps and meals can also be added to bookings on request. All available options and further details are now available on this website.

All these options are available to book now & can be secured today with a deposit. To learn more and to reserve your place please call our experienced team on 0844 873 0203. We look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Toyota at Le Mans 2017

Le Mans 2017 Entry List Revealed

After much anticipation the provisional entry list for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2017 & the FIA World Endurance Championship was announced today. Le Mans 2017 will be the first season without Audi so the initial look of the grid is very different from previous years.

You can download a full copy of the entry list here: Entry List 2017

LMP1 Class
Not only is this class missing the headline act of Audi, but with Rebellion switching classes, the field was always going to be a little light this year. Just six cars will be making up the top tier at Le Mans 2017 with more teams promised to bolster the ranks in 2018. However, for 2017 Toyota have chosen to add a third car to their FIA WEC cars giving them the numerical advantage. The reigning champions Porsche will be fighting to retain the Le Mans trophy with 2 cars. The class is made up by the single privateer in ByKolles, with Robert Kubica their lead driver. They will be looking for a better performance than last year, but realistically they would be more than happy with a sixth place finish behind the big guns. LMP1 may not be what it was, but if Porsche and Toyota give us a finish like last year, nobody will be complaining about the missing Audis.

LMP2 Class
The biggest field by far is here with 25 entries. Most of these cars are stepping up from the European Le Mans Series and there are only 9 competing in the FIA WEC this year. It is new start for the regulations in LMP2 so this is a healthy number to see on the list. The split between Europe and the USA is clear to see with only Ben Keating making the entry list from the IMSA stable. With such a large field it will certainly be difficult to predict the outcome, which will make things exciting for everyone involved.

GTE Pro Class
Some of the most anticipated racing will no doubt be from this class. 13 cars and 5 manufacturers could actually make this class the headline act in 2017. Ford look like they could be the ones to beat, with a 4 car entry on the back of an impressive performance last week in Daytona. Porsche could be the challengers after returning to the fray with the new 911 RSRs. Aston Martin, Corvette and Ferrari won’t just be making up the numbers either, so this could well be a fight right to the finish.

GTE Am Class
There is a good mix of cars in the GTE AM class as well as good numbers. 16 cars have been invited with a spread across the FIA WEC, European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series and IMSA. From a British perspective it is great to see the experienced JMW Motorsports team back after missing out last year & the Gulf Racing team Porsche makes a welcome return after an underrated turn in 2017. Aston Martin will also be flying the flag for the UK with 3 cars, but Ferrari has the numbers again with 8 cars in the field. Last mention in the class should go to Labre Competition’s sole Corvette, that has new Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Ricky Taylor named as lead driver.

So there you have it with 2 cars in reserve, could this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours prove the doom mongers wrong and actually turn out to be a classic. Certainly the potential is there, so all you need to do is be at Le Mans 2017. If you haven’t already booked then time is running out, call Travel Destinations now to book your place.

Written by Richard Webb

Le Mans race

What to take to Le Mans

Part 4. What to take with you

Walking around Green Park at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, I once came upon a campsite with its own fish-tank, complete with tropical fish swimming around and a chicken coop full of hens. At the Nurburgring 24 Hours I have witnessed a whole pirate ship on a steep hillside overlooking the track including cannons and crow’s nest with a man on lookout. At Le Mans I have seen most of a house, with a full kitchen including sink, fridge, chest freezer and dishwasher next door to a lounge with sofas and a TV. Every year this type of thing goes on and you can’t help but wonder what they left behind to fit all of this in.

Not everyone takes it to the extremes, but there are a few things to remember when it comes to packing for Le Mans. Some are obvious and some are common sense, but if I had a pound for every call we receive during Le Mans week saying “I am sorry but I have forgotten my…” then I would be a very rich man by now.

Documents:
Without fail somebody every year either forgets their passport or finds out that it has expired just hours before departure. Even with the UK still being in the EU at the moment, you cannot travel to France without your passport. This item is crucial and so should be checked well in advance and kept safe at all times. Check it now if you can. I bet you don’t know when your passport expires!

Le Mans tickets

Losing travel tickets either before you travel or during your stay is less of a problem these days. E-tickets are easily replaced & booking numbers can be quoted in place of a piece of paper, but it is a hassle. Much better to keep them in your vehicle so they are available when you need them. Race tickets are another matter. These are not easily replaced so should be kept safe and not left on the kitchen table. Your camping pass should be fixed in your windscreen and your entrance tickets should be kept with you (usually on a lanyard) so that you have them available to be scanned when you enter the circuit.

There are other documents that you shouldn’t leave home without such as your driving licence & car insurance documents. I am sure you would never dream of breaking the speed limit in France, but if you ever do the Gendarmes will ask for these documents as well as money to pay the fine.

Clothing:
Everybody knows the saying “It always rains at Le Mans”, so it is amazing how ill prepared some people can be for few days at the circuit. Of course it doesn’t always rain but a warm and waterproof outer layer is very important. When the sun goes down you don’t want to have to miss the racing because you are cold or wet so pack a coat. It is very difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t been to Le Mans before, quite how much walking is involved. Distances between viewing points and your campsite are usually bigger than you think. I have saying that where ever you are at Le Mans, you are 20 minutes’ walk from where you want to be. With that in mind a good pair of boots or similar sturdy footwear is essential. Following on from that is socks. You can never have too many socks. If you’ve ever got up in the night, needing the bathroom and been forced to pull on wet socks, then you know what I mean. I am sure a sock salesman would clean up if they set up shop in a Le Mans campsite. Otherwise layers of clothing is to be recommended. You can always remove a layer if it is hot, or add another layer when it gets cold, so pack your back with multiple layers to stay warm or cool at Le Mans. And finally, if you have flip-flops bring them. They are perfect for the communal showers!

Le Mans 2017

Camping items:
Forgetting your tent is unlikely (it has happened though) but there are other things that are worth thinking of. You can never have enough tent pegs, and if it has been dry then something stronger than the usual metal peg is required. A mallet will also be required, because it will be difficult to get the pegs in with just your hands. Sleeping bag and pillow could go without saying, but we have been asked for spares at Le Mans, so double check before you leave. An airbed or sleeping mat are equally useful if you plan on getting much sleep. A torch with batteries is good. Don’t rely on your phone, because when you need it, you will probably have it charging in the car. You can survive on circuit food, but nothing beats a Le Mans barbecue. Drivers swear they can smell bacon in the morning as they blast through the Porsche Curves and everything seems better with bacon doesn’t it. Event wet socks (see earlier). The local supermarkets are good for all your essential food items and some of the non-essential ones too. Try and stay clear of glass bottles if you can. Camping and glass don’t mix that well and in recent years there has been a crackdown on taking glass in to track-side campsites so it is best avoided. Alcohol? Can’t say I’ve tried it myself, but I understand its popular at these kind of events.

Camping at Le Mans

Essentials:
These are the things that you want to really add to the whole Le Mans experience but are easily forgotten. A bottle opener and a tin opener for instance. It is no good returning with from the shops with a tin of beans if you can’t open it. No doubt your campsite will be located in the perfect location, but if it isn’t a decent water carrier to get your supplies back from the nearest stand-pipe will come in handy. All Travel Destinations staff are consistently asked for phone chargers. We do carry some, but often not for the right model of Iphone or Android device, so think about it before you leave and ensure you have an adapter for your car. An FM radio is so important at Le Mans. If you want to know what is going on, then tuning in to the team on Radio Le Mans is essential. They are the best and will be broadcasting right through Le Mans week. You will kick yourself if you forget your radio. The last thing to mention is money. Even if you forget most things you can always buy them when you are at Le Mans. Even a tent! But you shouldn’t carry around too much. Sadly things do go missing at Le Mans, and you don’t want that to be your wallet. We would recommend a small amount of Euros for things like road tolls and your essentials but then have a credit card for anything else and keep that separate and safe too.

Radio Le Mans

Top tips for packing for Le Mans are:
• Check your passport is valid and keep it with you at all times
• Take layers for warmth and a waterproof as it always rains at Le Mans
• Don’t forget your FM radio to tune in to Radio Le Mans

Le Mans official ticket agency

Travel Destinations are the largest UK Tour Operator to Le Mans.
Travel Destinations are an Officially appointed agency for Le Mans and are a fully bonded ABTA and ATOL tour operator.
All our Le Mans options are available to view on this website or call us now for more details on 0844 873 0203.

This article first appeared on Motorsport Magazine online & is the fourth in a series of guest blogs by Richard about Le Mans.

Glamping at Le Mans

Camping at Le Mans

Part 3: Camping at Le Mans

Camping is a tradition at Le Mans. If you want to experience all that the Le Mans 24 Hours has to offer then staying at the track is the best way to do it. No question. Often camping is a necessity as well, as more than 250,000 spectators descend on Le Mans during Le Mans week and there just aren’t enough rooms to go around. Supply and demand means that any rooms that are available are expensive and are often snapped up by corporate bookings and never go on sale to the general public. So camping it is.

Travel Destinations have many customers that would never camp at any other time of the year, but for Le Mans it is just accepted. But then there are different types of camping available too. So, it is very important to make the right choice of campsite at the circuit. The difficulty is that everyone will have a different opinion depending on their experiences during their stay. At Travel Destinations, we speak to thousands of Le Mans customers every year. Sometimes we will have people in one campsite say it is the best place and rebook again, whilst others in the same campsite will choose a different one for the next year. This is one of the reasons why we speak to every customer, so that we can talk to them, find out their needs and requests and then discuss the best options available.
The majority of the camping areas at the track are run by the circuit (the ACO). Thousands of people camp in each area year after year. We describe it as a motor racing Glastonbury, although actually there are twice as many people at Le Mans than the music event. But you can get the idea. The campsites are full of tents and cars. Although there are lots of different areas, there are some things they all have in common. Each camping plot will give a 7 metre by 5 metre area. This will need to accommodate both a vehicle and tents. Each campsite will also provide shower and toilet blocks, but as with any event like this expect them to be very busy at peak times.

Camping at Le Mans

Each campsite has a name and they are different prices depending on the size and location. As a rule of thumb the closer the campsite is to the start/finish straight the more expensive it will be. There are always exceptions, but that is the general rule. Perhaps the most popular circuit run campsites are Maison Blanche, Houx & Tertre Rouge. Maison Blanche borders the track just before the Ford Chicane. It has been much reduced in recent years with the building of the new Porsche Experience Centre but it remains popular. Houx is a larger campsite in the centre of the infield. It is also a short walk to the village and the start line. Perhaps its most notable point is that Houx is the only campsite that offers access to electricity. Tertre Rouge is located adjacent to the track at the northern end of the circuit just beyond the Dunlop Bridge. It is a small campsite that looks down on the track which makes it very popular. Each of these campsites will often sell out a long time in advance of the race.

Beyond these three campsites are other areas such as Houx Annexe, Blue Nord & Blue Sud. Although these campsites offer similar facilities to the first three (except electricity) they are a bit further to walk to the village or start line, so therefore they aren’t as expensive. Each of these campsites will give a numbered pitch, so these are popular with campers who may be arriving later in the week as they won’t have to search for a spot. The biggest circuit run campsite is called Beausejour. This campsite is located on the infield, with the closest part of the track being the Porsche Curves. Pitches aren’t numbered so arriving early is recommended if you want to be near the entrance. Even then a walk from the Beausejour campsite to the start line will take about 30 minutes, so bring your walking shoes with you. The campsite as huge with thousands of pitches, so usually this is the last area to sell out.

Camping at Le Mans

There are two other circuit run campsites that are further away from the start line than Beausejour. Both Arnage and Mulsanne campsites are located on corners and offer great views. However they are beyond walking distance from the rest of the circuit, so new visitors will need to be careful as they can be quite isolated. These areas can be popular with regular visitors that don’t mind being away from the main areas of the circuit.

So far we have only mentioned the circuit run campsites on the track. These are cheap and cheerful, but offer little in the way of facilities and security. However there are alternatives for those people who wish to stay on circuit but would like a bit more for their money. Private campsites will offer a range of extra facilities usually including 24 hours security, private showers & toilets as well as food & drinks on-site. Even then there are differences between what each company can offer. Some private campsites are located within the ACO public areas, but are fenced off to keep them private. Others are located trackside and have no neighbours at all, so it is important to understand exactly what you are buying.

Travel Destinations were actually the first company to introduce private camping more than 10 years ago. Our private campsite at the Porsche Curves has increased in area and capacity since then but still offers the extra security, serviced showers and toilets as well as our popular marquee where our bar and food outlet can be found. It is also where we have our TV screens and evening entertainment so it is a real social hub. Our Porsche Curves campsite also has the only private viewing bank at the circuit, so our guests can get a unique view of the race.

Glamping at Le Mans
Travel Destinations Event Tents

For those that don’t enjoy camping, Travel Destinations have added Glamping and Flexotels to the on-circuit choices. Glamping is still under canvas, but the large pre-erected tents come with carpet and beds, so you don’t need to have any equipment. Similarly, the Travel Destinations Flexotel Village provides pop-up hotel rooms in the centre of the circuit so that you can return to your own bedroom and a proper bed each night. The height of luxury at Le Mans.

Pop up hotel at Le Mans
Travel Destinations Flexotel Village

By their nature all private areas at the circuit are going to be limited in space and more expensive than the large circuit run campsites, but it is important to note that the private campsites will sell out the quickest, so it is always important to book early. It is unlikely that there is going to be much availability as the race gets closer.

Top tips for Camping at Le Mans are:
• There are lots of options so it is important to do your research or speak to an official agent before you make your booking.
• Consider the distance from the campsite to the track as you will be doing a lot of walking
• Think about what you want from your experience. Is cost the priority or would you prefer security or luxury?

Le Mans official ticket agency

Travel Destinations are the largest UK Tour Operator to Le Mans.
Travel Destinations are an Officially appointed agency for Le Mans and are a fully bonded ABTA and ATOL tour operator.
All our Le Mans options are available to view on this website or call us now for more details on 0844 873 0203.

This article first appeared on Motorsport Magazine online & is the third in a series of guest blogs by Richard about Le Mans.

Le Mans 2017

Getting to Le Mans

Part Two: Getting to Le Mans

The Le Mans circuit lies approximately 125 miles to the west of Paris and about 100 miles south of the Normandy coast, which makes it a good destination to visit for international race fans.

Around a quarter of the annual Le Mans visitors travel from the UK to the circuit each June and the vast majority of those will travel by vehicle. Travelling in your own vehicle has two major benefits. The first is social & economic. If you are coming in your own vehicle you can fill it with your friends & they can contribute to the price of travel. Everyone wins. The second is practical. If you are camping at Le Mans, you want to be as self-sufficient as possible, and it is amazing what you can fit in a car when you need to.

From the UK there is a choice of routes for travelling to Le Mans. There is no right or wrong way to do this and much will depend on your priorities, such as cost, time and driving distance.
The shortest and quickest way across the Channel is to head to Calais. You can choose either the ferry from Dover or the Eurotunnel from Folkestone. The ferry takes an 80 minute and you get the chance to wander the ship, eat & drink or go shopping. The Eurotunnel takes 35 minutes but you stay in your car the whole time. Both are priced similarly and they both get you to Calais. The route from Calais is an easy drive & can be done on dual carriageways all the way. These are tolled roads that will cost just over €30.00 in total. If your Sat Nav suggests going via Paris, ignore it and look at a map. The simplest route is going to be via Rouen. Expect the driving time from Calais to be around 4½ hours plus any stops that you make.

Le Mans travel

You can directly compare this with the longer sea crossings out of Portsmouth. You can choose routes to Caen, Le Havre, Cherbourg and St. Malo, but all are operated by Brittany Ferries. In our experience the service is generally good on these ships, which is a good thing as you are generally looking at more than 6 hours on board. You can choose overnight sailings on some of the routes which are popular but remember that any cabins you book will increase your costs. Price is usually the deciding factor when comparing these routes to Calais as they are generally at least 4 times the price of the Calais routes. So why would you choose them? Well if you live near the south coast, then Portsmouth could be your nearest port anyway, but most people will look at the drive times on the French side as the deciding factor. From Caen to Le Mans the drive time is going to be in the region of 2½ hours to Le Mans, depending on which route you choose and the tolls will be half the price if choose to use the tolled motorways.

For those living in the North of England or beyond a good option to look at is the route from Hull to Zeebrugge. This is an overnight ferry run by P&O Ferries. Initially this may look like an odd choice for Le Mans, but only closer inspection it often saves time and money. Zeebrugge is just over the border in to Belgium but remains within an hour’s drive of Calais. So not much driving difference from the Calais routes. The big bonus is that by sailing down you have avoided some of the more notorious British roads and driving on the continent is a lot easier with less traffic than the M6, M1 and M25 or M23. As it is an overnight ferry, this may not work for everyone, and cabins will need to be booked, but if you live within a 2 hours’ drive of Hull, then I would be taking this route quite seriously.

Le Mans 24

Traffic around the Le Mans circuit can also be tricky at times, so we are aware of a number of people recently who have decided to leave their cars at home. For many this may sound odd & I can understand the attraction of driving your car to Le Mans (it is a motorsport event after all) but hear me out as this is still an option. Travel Destinations also looks after large numbers of people flying in to France from around the world, so letting the train take the strain can be a good option. From the UK the Eurostar train service (not Eurotunnel, they are separate things) starts at London St. Pancras and finishes in Paris. If you are heading to Le Mans, then consider changing at Lille as you can then catch the train straight to Le Mans from there (and it is easier than traversing Paris). If you are arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport you can also catch this train direct to Le Mans. Alternatively, if you are combining a visit to Le Mans with a visit to Paris, then the fast train (TGV) goes direct to Le Mans from Montparnasse station. Once at Le Mans station, then the tram to the circuit is right outside the door, with the end of the line at Antares in the centre of the circuit, so that couldn’t be simpler.

Top tips for travelling to Le Mans are:
• Think about drive times on both sides of the Channel before booking your crossings
• Maximise the number of people in your vehicle to keep the costs down.
• Think about the economy of your vehicle. Maybe the more expensive crossings will work out cheaper in the long run. Or consider going by train.

Le Mans official ticket agency

Travel Destinations are the largest UK Tour Operator to Le Mans.
Travel Destinations are also an Officially appointed agency for Le Mans and are a fully bonded ABTA and ATOL tour operator.
All our Le Mans options are available to view on this website or call us now for more details on 0844 873 0203.

This article first appeared on Motorsport Magazine online & is the second in a series of guest blogs by Richard about Le Mans.

 

Le Mans

Le Mans 2017 tickets are on sale

Le Mans tickets are on sale now , so Motorsport Magazine asked Richard Webb of Travel Destinations for his advice on booking.

Part one: When to book
Le Mans is the pinnacle of sports car racing. It is on the bucket list of spectators and drivers from all fields of motor sport and every June more than 250,000 race fans make the pilgrimage to Le Mans. So why is it so popular, and how can you get the most from your Le Mans experience?

Le Mans is unique. It really has to be experienced to fully appreciate the history, the challenge, the emotion and the atmosphere of the event. It is for this very reason that National Geographic rated Le Mans the number one sporting event in the world; higher even than the Olympics, the Super Bowl or the World Cup. For spectators, such a big event does provide a number of challenges. When to book, where to stay, what tickets are required, how long to stay, where to watch and what to do all needs to be considered. Often there is no right or wrong answer, just a different solution to the same problem. We at Travel Destinations talk customers through the pros and cons of the available options, having been looking after people at Le Mans for more than 20 years now. We have done everything, seen everything and can help from a position of knowledge and experience – and we’re racing fans, too. But each company is different.

Le Mans

We would always recommend booking early. As with any event availability is key, so the earlier you book the more choice that you have. You can turn up on the day at Le Mans and purchase an entrance ticket, but that is all that will be available; campsites and grandstands will always sell out these days. Gone are the days of turning up in your car and pitching a tent in the nearest field. Travel Destinations look after a few thousand customers at Le Mans each year, many of whom are repeat customers, and often these people will re-book immediately on their return or even on their way home from the race, which some people do. However, this isn’t always necessary unless you are particularly forgetful…

We would usually recommend that people reserve the travel, tickets and accommodation before Christmas for the following year. This will usually guarantee you everything that you want. Once the New Year comes around certain things will start to sell out. The more popular grandstands and campsites start to fill up, although there will always be something available until April and May. We do even make some very late bookings in the first week of June, but by then there is no choice – you simply get what is left. So in short, the time to book is now.

Le Mans

Once you have decided that you want to go to Le Mans then you need to act. Now, the first thing most people do is surf the internet. You will find endless forums and message boards offering opinions on where is the best place and who are the best company. However, there are really only two things that you should look for when purchasing tickets for Le Mans.

The first is to look for an official agent logo. You will see this on all pages on our site. The logo means that the company is licensed to sell tickets directly from the race organizers; the ACO. Anyone without that logo is ultimately buying tickets and reselling without authorization. That is ticket touting and is effectively illegal. Not only that but you run the risk of not receiving the correct tickets, or in some cases, any tickets at all. So message one has to be always look for that logo.

The second thing to look for – and this applies for any travel that you may choose to book – is check whether the company is bonded in any way. The most well-known of these is ABTA and ATOL. These logos show that the company you are booking through has been authorized to sell travel packages and that they have all the insurances in place to do so. Sadly there are many companies that will claim your money is safe if you book with them, but ultimately you should ask more questions before you book. Le Mans is a holiday, in the same was a cruise round the Mediterranean, flights around the world, or a week in Majorca. You book your holidays through a specialist travel company & Le Mans should be no different. We recommend looking for the logos – if they aren’t there or you are not sure, don’t book.

Le Mans

The internet is great for many things, but for Le Mans it can cause issues if you don’t know what you are doing, or the website is in a foreign language. Sometimes it is best to speak to someone and ask some questions. We actively encourage our customers to call us even if they have been to Le Mans many times before. Things are always changing at the circuit so you can’t just presume things will be the same as the last visit. In recent years some campsites have been built on and closed or reduced in size. New campsites have opened and others have changed the facilities on offer. All our staff have been to Le Mans so can speak from experience, they are also kept up to date with current events at the circuit so they can pass on that information directly. Ticking a box on a website can’t do that.

Top tips for booking tickets for Le Mans:
• Only purchase from an official agent.
• Check for financial bonding if booking travel (look for the logos!)
• Speak to the company. If they can’t answer the phone or don’t know the answers to your questions, try someone who can.

Le Mans official ticket agency

Travel Destinations are the largest UK Tour Operator to Le Mans.
Travel Destinations are also an officially appointed ticket agency for Le Mans and are a fully bonded ABTA and ATOL tour operator.
All our Le Mans options are available to view on this website or call us now for more details or call 0844 873 0203.

This article first appeared on Motorsport Magazine‘s online content & is the first in a series of guest blogs by Richard about Le Mans. 

Le Mans Classic

Sun shines on the Le Mans Classic

The sun shines on the Le Mans Classic

On Sunday at 4pm, the flag came down on the 8th running of Le Mans Classic. This biennial event celebrates the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours and has grown in stature and crowd numbers on each occasion.

Le Mans Classic
Le Mans Classic Heritage Club competition

This year’s event was blessed by exceptional weather, as crowds in excess of 123,000 witnessed a full weekend retracing the history of the greatest endurance race in the world over the period 1923 to 1993. 550 cars took to the track, with 1000 drivers, including 10 former Le Mans winners, navigated the circuit in race conditions. In addition to the racing cars, a further 8500 cars represented 180 makes’ clubs assembled to display their vehicles around the Bugatti circuit. Important notice was taken of the celebration of BMW’s centenary and the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT40’s first victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours with appropriate displays. Concourse competitions, the Le Mans Heritage Club, the “Little Big Mans” children’s race, a special exhibition devoted to racing team transporters and a host of other entertainment and activities in the main village meant that all the right ingredients were in place to make this huge celebration of motor sport.

Le Mans Classic
Grid 1 start at the Le Mans Classic

Among the innovations this year was the opening of the circuit on Friday morning representing an additional five hours of track time so that more practice session could be scheduled, as well as the Group C races with an entry of almost 40 cars represented. There was also the magnificent field of the Jaguar Classic Challenge with around 60 cars representing the Coventry make. Victory in this event went to British driver Andy Wallace (19 starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours including outright victory in 1988) at the wheel of the Jaguar D-Type that won Le Mans in 1955.

Le Mans Classic
Group C racing at the Le Mans Classic

At 4pm on Saturday American music star (and motorsport fan) Pharrell Williams waved the French flag to begin the 24hrs of racing around the full 13,629-km circuit. These races were divided in to 6 grids covering the period 1923 to 1981. Each grid took to the circuit in day and night across the Saturday and Sunday.

Le Mans Classic
Glamping at the Le Mans Classic with Travel Destinations

Travel Destinations are official agents for the Le Mans Classic and are proud to have been involved in the Le Mans Classic since its inception in 2002. This year travel Destinations looked after guests from many different car clubs including the MG Owners’ Club, Morgan Sports Car Club, Jaguar Enthusiasts’ club and the TR Register. With 2 private trackside campsites, a further “glamping” site and our Flexotel Village (pop-up hotel) all on the circuit, Travel Destinations also looked after more guests on the circuit than ever at the Le Mans Classic. We extend a big thank you to all those who booked through Travel Destinations & we hope that you can join us again soon.

Le Mans Classic
Travel Destinations’ Hunaudieres campsite at the Le Mans Classic

The 8th Le Mans Classic consolidated the success of the previous events thanks to the attendance of its faithful fans and the beautiful weather. The good news is that the Le Mans Classic will return in 2018 for the 9th edition, but for those that can’t wait that long for your historic motorsport fix, perhaps you might like to join Travel Destinations at the Spa Classic in May 2017.

Le Mans Classic
Grid 3 at the Le Mans Classic 2016
Le Mans 24 Hours

Post Le Mans talking points

Barely a week has passed since Le Mans 2016.; not even a chance for the dust to settle (or the mud). Whilst memories are still vivid, Stephen Kilbey reviews the five main talking points you have all been discussing this week.

Toyota is back
Let’s get the end of the race out of the way first. Le Mans was a bitter disappointment for everyone involved with the Toyota Gazoo effort. Having Kazuki Nakajima retire, grinding to a halt on the final lap, from the lead, minutes away from the marque’s first Le Mans win, in front of thousands of fans on the pit straight. It was heart-breaking to watch. 30 years after its first attempt, it seems that Toyota ran out of luck, yet again.  But the positive is that the TS050 is most definitely competitive – a far cry from its 2015 showing – and the team will be more motivated than ever to bounce back not only in the rest of this season, but at Le Mans 2017. Toyota is clearly capable of winning the big race, and it certainly deserves to as well. If Porsche, Toyota and Audi all continue to be there or thereabouts with each other on pace, then the remainder of the FIA WEC season should be an absolute corker!

Toyota at Le Mans 2016
Ford won big, but just how big?
There are so many question marks surrounding GTE racing as a whole after last week. Ford was clearly desperate to win, coming in with its GT which had had a myriad of testing, and money thrown at it from all angles. The result; a 1,3,4 at the race, with only one of its cars having issues. It is now more apparent than ever that the Ford GT is so advanced that even the ACO and FIA couldn’t reign it in. After very quiet outings at Silverstone, Spa and the Le Mans Test Day, the Fords suddenly lapping four to five seconds quicker in race week was conspicuous to say the least. Most personalities within the paddock genuinely believe that the car can go even faster; into the 3:40s at La Sarthe, had there not been the potential for further uproar, which is remarkable in terms of engineering but worrying in terms of the future of the class. Unless the ACO and FIA get their heads together and make some serious changes to the way that Balance of Performance is calculated, then the arms race is on, and it is unlikely to last long. GTE stalwarts Corvette, Aston Martin and Porsche deserved better.

Ford GT at Le Mans
Notable newcomers
Ford aside, there were many new names on the grid at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours who impressed all week long. In LMP2 Eurasia Motorsport bagged a top five finish with its Oreca 05, becoming a successful ELMS convert, along with Panis Barthez Competition’s Ligier which crossed the line eighth. Both teams ran their cars well, and managed front running pace with their star drivers. Tristan Gommendy in the Oreca and Paul Loup Chatin in the Ligier really showed their abilities during the race.

And in GTE Am, Clearwater, which loaned a Ferrari 458 after winning the GT class in the Asian Le Mans Series using a GT3 McLaren, managed to nab fourth in its class. It was an absolutely incredible result for the team on its first trip, with McLaren GT factory driver Rob Bell putting the car on pole, before having a reliable run to the finish. It is safe to say that the entire crew enjoyed themselves. One can only hope that we see another ‘chrome’ GTE car in the field next year.

Clearwater Racing
More bad luck for the champs
After such an incredible second half to last season, the current World Champions in the No.1 Porsche 919 just can’t catch a break in 2016. Brendon Hartley’s incident at Silverstone whilst running in the lead, followed by mechanical troubles at both Spa and Le Mans, has left the trio practically out of the running for the Drivers World Championship this year before the halfway point of the season.
With just 3.5 points apiece, Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Hartley sit 19th in the overall standings, and in desperate need of a positive outing. After such disappointment this year’s French classic, expect both the No.1 Porsche and No.5 Toyota to come out swinging at the Nürburgring.

Porsche at Le Mans
A flourishing feeder system
If Saturday morning’s Road To Le Mans LMP3-GT3 race told us anything, it is that there are plenty of teams and drivers with aspirations of racing at Le Mans in the future. The driving standards in the 40+ car field were overall pretty promising, and the numerical split between prototype and GT3 numbers shows that there is interest in both formulas. Martin Brundle headlines aside, what the Road To Le Mans showed us is that it is a worthy part of the Le Mans 24 Hours support bill going forward, and is a necessary step on the ladder to La Sarthe. Expect it to come back bigger and better in 2017.

Road to Le Mans

Don’t forget that if you want to be at Le Mans 2017 you make a provisional booking now by calling Travel Destinations staff on 0844 873 0203.

Written by Stephen Kilbey
Photography by Dailysportscar

Le Mans 24 Hours 2017

Book now for Le Mans 2017

Le Mans 2017Le Mans 24 Hours
17th & 18th June 2017

 

The Le Mans 24 Hours this year will live long in the memory. The memories will be even more vivid for those that were there. If you would like to be at Le Mans 2017 then we can help you. The dates for next year’s race have already been confirmed for the 17th – 18th June 2017. Although ticket prices will not be confirmed until later this year, you can still reserve your travel, tickets and accommodation with us now.

From Monday 20th June, we will be open for provisional bookings for Le Mans 2017. Please take a look at our offers for this year’s race on this website. This year’s prices have been left as a guide to help you decide which option you prefer. Please be aware that many of the options did sell out before the end of January this year.

Take a look at our camping options on the track. These include circuit run campsites, our famous private trackside campsite at the Porsche Curves as well as our Glamping Option with our Event Tents. Also on circuit is our Flexotel Village providing your own bedroom in the centre of the circuit. Please be aware that although the prices include travel from the UK, many of the options are also available without travel for international visitors.

When you have chosen your favourite option, please call us to begin your provisional reservation. From the UK you can call 0844 873 0203. From outside the UK please call +44 1707 329988.

Travel Destinations is an Official Agent of the Le Mans 24 Hours and we are an ABTA and ATOL bonded tour operator, so you know you can book with confidence. Call us to book your tickets for Le Mans 2017.