Le Mans Classic 2008: A review
There is no better place to be than at the Le Mans circuit, in the sunshine, watching the performance cars of years gone by race each other to the limit. That is what over 80,000 spectators did this last weekend, as they enjoyed all that the Le Mans Classic has to offer.
Apart from some rain on Thursday evening, the weather was set fair for the whole weekend, which made things easier for all those camping on and off circuit. For the 400 or so, Travel Destinations guests in the Hunaudieres campsite, the atmosphere was expectant as practice began on Friday afternoon. Many of the guests that had arrived by then took to the banking at the Tertre Rouge corner, adjacent to the campsite, to witness the first of the grid one cars (1923 – 1939 models) take to the track. The Le Mans Classic is a biennial event so it is a long time to wait between events!
The Hunaudieres campsite was nearly full by Friday evening, and the laughter and drinks were flowing at the Travel Destinations free bar in the centre of the campsite. Thanks to all those who came and said hello, had a drink and helped keep the place nice a tidy for the next few days.
Saturday morning meant track lap time and 40 privileged cars lined up at the Hunaudieres gate for the opportunity to take their own cars twice around the famous circuit. Overtaking and competition was meant to be prohibited (really?) but the beaming smiles on all the driver’s faces as they returned to the campsite afterwards revealed another story! There were lots of jealous eyes watching their triumphant return. Maybe next time.
By mid afternoon, everyone settled in grandstand seats, trackside chairs, grass banking, and even the odd tree to see the start of the proper racing. On the start finish straight all the drivers lined up across the track, ready to run to their cars. And they were off!
OK, so the actual competition only really got underway fifteen minutes later as the cars crossed the start finish line for a rolling start, but what a great spectacle it all was. As afternoon turned in to evening all six grids made their start in what has to be the best line up of cars for endurance racing anywhere in the world.
When watching the racing was all too much, a wander down in to the paddock area was always rewarding. To see up close the cars of your dreams, either preparing for, or returning from, action is a must. Travel Destinations’ friend and driver Barry “Sideways” Sidery-Smith invited guests to join him in the paddock for a chat about his 2 MGBs and what it is like to race at Le Mans. Thank you to Barry and his crew for entertaining us at such a busy time for them.
And so come the end of Le Mans Classic on Sunday, what will be our greatest memory?
Will it be the Rileys battling the Talbots in Grid 1?
The Jaguar C-types versus Austin Healeys in Grid 2?
Aston Martin DB4 versus Porsche 356 in Grid 3?
Ferrari 275 versus Ford GT40 in Grid 4?
Porsche 917 versus Lola T70 in Grid 5?
BMW M1 versus Chevrolet Corvette in Grid 6?
To be honest although they were great, but it will probably be none of the above. The highlight of the weekend was just being there with friends and like minded people enjoying the spectacle of the Le Mans Classic.
Do you have a unique story, photos or video from the Le Mans Classic 2008?
Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to feature it here on www.lemansrace.com.