Headlights flicker into view, the roar gets ever louder, and then the pack arrives at the corner, braking hard, exhausts popping, brake discs glowing
Le Mans Classic
It’s the dead of night, and you’re stood at Mulsanne. Headlights flicker into view, the roar gets ever louder, and then the pack arrives at the corner, braking hard, exhausts popping, brake discs glowing. A 917 with a Ferrari 512S on its tail out-brakes a GT40, and all three catapult out of the corner towards Arnage, leaving you shaken and stirred. This is the Le Mans Classic. It’s not as slick or seamless as the modern-day 24 Hours, because the six ‘plateaus’ or grids run in stages through the 24 hours, rather than subjecting the historic cars to continuous running. But my God, it’s evocative and exciting. It’s also rather more civilised than the modern 24 Hours. Fewer spectators, far fewer drunken Englishmen, and a better class of food, drink and merchandise. The campsites don’t resemble war zones, and, of course, there’s glamping or stays in nearby châteaus for those less keen on basic tent life. Half the fun is the drive down in an interesting car, and the obligatory pilgrimage around the circuit before the roads are closed ahead of the racing. You will fall in love with Le Mans all over again.