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Le Mans 24 hours


AJS269

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As motorsport fans will know, next week (the 16th and 17th of June) is the 2012 24 hours of Le Mans.

 

This race is one of the most prestigous and traditional races in motorsport, up there with the Indy500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.

 

I am going to the race for the first time, anyone else going?

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I'm not going this year simply because I don't have the money to do so at the moment. Hopefully next year when I'm working I'll be able to take a few days off and get myself over to Le Mans. It's a spectacle not to be missed. If you've never gone to the race before, then in terms of ease, having everything sorted for you and the like, I recommend Travel Destinations (http://www.lemansrace.com/) since they're the official agency for this, they're ridiculously good and they don't rip you off.

 

Grandstand seats will be awesome for the start/finish of the race, but make sure you travel around and see as much of the track as possible. If you're there for Qualifying in the week, check out some of the vantage points so you've got an idea of where you want to watch the race from.

 

Oh, and when there's an incident during the night and the safety car is out for a few hours, get your head down and sleep! You'll be grateful of it by Sunday afternoon when the race is drawing to a close.

 

It's a weekend/experience to remember. Enjoy it!

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Pretty much, each car has a team of drivers (usually three) who will do stints of a few hours each usually before handing over. There are four main categories to racing, LMP1 (the fastest prototype cars: Audi, Toyota are the two main groups and there are a few customer LMP1s), LMP2 (a LOT of Nissan entries this year), GTE Pro (GT cars set up for endurance racing) and GTE Am (similar cars GTE Pro, but only one professional driver is allowed and the other drivers are 'gentleman racers'), but you've got some different features within each category such as hybrids, petrol and diesel powered cars. Overall, there are 55 entries for the race.

 

Then there's 'Garage 56' which allows an entry for a car working to a different set of rules, usually trialling and showing off some sort of alternative technology. This year it's the Nissan Delta Wing which looks a bit strange, but quickly grows on you. Next year has already been confirmed that Garage 56 will have a Green GT hydrogen fuel cell powered car.

 

There's a really handy spotter guide for Le Mans giving a run down of every car, their driver line up and an image of the car for easy identification while watching the race. http://blog.simraceway.com/2012/06/downloa...tter-guide-now/

 

Definitely check out some of the race if you can. Eurosport will be showing coverage of it (provided they don't show cycling instead) and Radio Le Mans will have uninterrupted coverage of the entire race.

 

Personally, I can't look past Audi to win the overall race but I'll go for the #2 car (McNish, Capello, Kristensen) in the e-tron. Toyota have impressed me for their return to endurance racing though, and if the Audi cars aren't careful, Toyota might be able to spring a surprise and get a car on the podium. LMP2 is almost impossible to call since the class is so competitive. It'll come down to great driving, reliability and luck.

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More than a 30 minute delay, but we should hopefully be back racing in about 20 minutes once they finish repairing the barrier. Very big crash, but there's almost always one big accident a year involving a prototype. Thankfully Davidson is out of the car and relatively fine. Really sad images of the mechanics crying when they saw the accident. The Toyota team have put in a ridiculous amount of work to get these cars ready for Le Mans, it's a shame for it to end like this.

 

Six hours in and it's been a good race so far. Delta Wing is still running but they had some problems with a gearbox component and lost a load of time. Toyota are surprising me though, they've led the race for a brief time and they've been running pretty close to the lead Audi for a while. It'll come down to reliability but a podium is definitely still on.

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