Le Mans Classic

Last Updated: November 18, 2023By Tags: ,

As you arrive, then reach the wrong gate and have to drive around to the other end of the circuit, you are greeted with the melee that is 150,000 classic automotive fans wandering around a stadium. The feeling is electric as this crowd of race fans discuss cars, history and engineering. Although the official 24h of Le Mans occurred a few months before, Le Mans classic offers a real glimpse into the past of one of the most important motorsport tracks in the world. The town of Le Mans is located a short drive from Paris and is punctuated by its beautiful gothic churches and narrow medieval streets, during the festival the wind is embed with the sound of high revving Porsches wailing in the distance like banshees of old, I enjoyed leaving the window of my hotel room open at night hearing the faint whispers of Motorsport calling me. Le Mans has a lot of everyone and there is enough to justify the entry for the full weekend. The music halls and bars will keep you well fed during the day. The nocturnal aspect of Le Mans adds an air of excitement as the crowds are distilled to the true enthusiasts. The hypnotic glares of headlights piercing through the low fog in the early morning is worth the entry price alone.

 

I intended to immerse myself completely in the historical aspect of the 24 hours and pursued the most authentic experience. To my joy Le Mans provided historical authenticity in spades, the busses all were vintage Citroen and Mercedes people carriers, and the vip cars that ferried the guest around were a fleet of quite jolly Citroen 2CV’s, who’s engines buzzed constantly throughout the event. The crew cars carrying various mechanics, spare parts and food were classic VW busses aiding to the convincing vintage experience. The droves of car enthusiasts bring with them organized car clubs with fascinating stories behind every car.

 

In my own personal interest, an Alfa romeo is amongst the few pleasures in life that make heaven almost not worth it. The mesmerizing curves, the enrapturing sound, and the addictive style that any classic Alfa oozes from every nut and bolt made it feel like heaven. The diversity from tuned up GTV6’s and stylish pre war 6C’s was unmatched. However, Le Mans is not the home of Alfa, although I understood that Porsche was very successful at the 24 hours, I did not realize that it was their home turf. Historically Porsche has won Le Mans more than any other manufacturer by an order of magnitude, with 19 wins throughout their 53 year reign on the track. This high density of Porsche wins tends to bring out the Porsche fans out of the woodwork, nothing accentuated this more than the ocean of 911’s that stretched from one side of the event to the other, I genuinely thought every year, color, and option was on display in this field. The strong influence of BMW was also strongly felt as the advertisements for the brand new M2 cut through the vintage atmosphere like a blade.
The American division was in full force as tastefully restored Willy’s jeeps and mustangs peppered the lot, the best showing for America wasn’t the ford GT’s whose wins are legendary, the last American Le Mans winner before ford jumped in was of interest as you would never expect who won it!

 

 

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