The Journey Has Just Begun
Lotus? In Le Mans? Really? After a 17 year break from the La Sarthe circuit, Lotus are again fielding a works team in the 24 Heures Du Mans. Fortunately for me, I’m going to be able to cheer on the Lotus Jetallliance team from Le Mans as I’m here, currently sitting in the hospitality enjoying what is very, well, slick and polished and as impressive as any other team in the paddock and in many cases, more so. Nice start Lotus!
For me, Le Mans is more than just the race though. This is my 4th trip here and for a car enthusiast, the journey down is part of the Le Mans experience. Heading over via the tunnel allows for more miles in France and driving here is a real pleasure. Great, well maintained roads with thunderous straights and brilliantly cambered and well sighted corners. Mile after mile of countryside (I told the satnav to avoid the Peage) and very little local traffic on a Friday morning and early afternoon meant I had plenty of chances to enjoy the journey in the TLF Long Term Test Evora. Great fun!
As well as the chance to stop in a childhood haunt for breakfast (Montreuil Sur Mer) the trip is filled with more Brits on the roads, more often than not in something ‘special’ and many of them getting into the spirit of Le Mans and ‘stickering’ the cars with gaudy graphics, the louder the better! Fortunately on the 350 mile drive down I bumped into an Elise and Esprit, always nice to see friends and Lotus owners, everyone very excited to see Lotus back in the race.
Friday is the day of the ‘Grande Parade de Pilotes’ in the town of Le Mans. A supercar parade, a carnival and a drivers parade, hundreds of thousands of people line the 3km route through the centre of the town and it’s a great way to start the weekend.
Lotus may have only qualified 54th and 55th but fortunately this isn’t a sprint race and in fairness Lotus only decided to enter Le Mans in January this year, so getting two cars to the start line is already an achievement.
More to come tomorrow, make sure you check back for updates.