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Le Mans 2010 Advice


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#1 dank

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 21:03

I'm almost certainly going to the Le Mans 24 hour event this year for the first time ever and would appreciate some advice from those that have previously been.

1. Is the general admission ticket any good at all? Can you negotiate your way round most of the circuit and get some good vantage points for viewing and taking pictures?

2. Thinking of using Motor Racing International and going by coach. Cost is approx. £150 and for that it is an overnight run from London and across the Channel to reach Le Mans on Saturday morning. The coach is manned overnight for those wanting a kip and come the end of the race it departs to arrive in London for Monday morning.

Does this seem worth it? How else could I do it that didn't involve having to camp for example? Driving there perhaps?

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#2 potmotr

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 22:24

First of all, nice one, Le Mans is AWESOME.

I went in 2008 and had a brilliant time.

General Admission will get you a good view anywhere in the public enclosures. No need to buy a grandstand I wouldn't think. The crowds are quite thick at the start and the end of the race, but most other times they thin out quite a lot as people go off to find food and booze.

We weaseled our way onto the grandstand opposite the Audi pit for the finish of the race, with nothing more than sharp elbows and few sneers from Johnny Frenchman.

The one problem I found is that Musanne appears to be off limit to spectators.

For instance, to my knowledge, you can't get over to the chicanes to watch. Might be wrong though!

That said, you can pretty much watch down the entire south side of the circuit, from Tetre Rouge corner, down through the Esses, Dunlop Chicane, pit straight, Porsche curves and up to Arnage then Indianapolis.

We hired a car in Paris and I would sort of recommend this, so long as you don't plan on trying to drive back into Paris on the Sunday night. It is traffic hell!

Having a car is quite handy, especially for nipping out to get food or storing your stuff in if you camp...

Camping isn't as bad as you think. We pitched in one of the grounds near the Porsche Curves. I thought it would be yob city, but it wasn't that bad at all really. Only slight moment of alarm was when we were driving through a crowd on the road outside the camp ground and someone opened the car door while we were moving and tried to pull my missus out...!

Based on my experience, I'd offer the following tips:

* Consider taking a bicycle. Le Mans is 13 kilometres long, and the south side which is accessible is still seven km long. If you want to see lots of the circuit you'll be walking a hell of a lot. Heaps of Brits had cycles, which isn't as crazy as it sounds.

* Take a decent radio. The Le Mans english language broadcast is excellent, and the only way you'll know what's going on in the middle of the night.

* Watch the start from the Porsche Curves, it's awesome to see the full field pour down the hill

* Make sure you check out Tetre Rouge, it's a great corner and the guys go hard out trying to set up the big drag down the straight

* Head down towards Arnage at night. Seeing the prototyres sailing towards you at speed is amazing, and the track is actually really bumpy in parts. The diesels are also quite nuts, as you hear the noise of tyres and displaced air above their engines! The Aston V12s are amazing sounding machines, as are the Corvettes.

* Make sure you ride the Ferris Wheel. Expensive, but cool.

* Go see the drivers parade in the centre of Le Mans on Friday. We did, and ended up hanging around and meeting quite a few drivers

* If possible, stop at a supermarket (if driving) and try and buy a stack of your own food. The stuff you'll find inside the circuit is a rip off.

* Pace yourself. It's a long race. Having said that...

* Buy a box of those little French beers. They're great!

PM me if you want to know more.

Here's a snap from the famous ferris:

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#3 dank

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 22:32

A great wealth of information there, cheers!

Too late for me to comprehend it all so I'll give it a proper read tomorrow and see how it all stacks up with the missus who needs convincing!

#4 potmotr

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 23:59

The other thing I was going to say is: Go early.

We spent the day in Paris on the Thursday, which is always fun, hired a little Nissan then drove to Le Mans on the Friday.

Quite nice to have a jaunt through the French countryside, stopping along the way for supplies.

Le Mans itself is quite easy to find, especially with the help of les Tom Tom.

If you elect to drive and camp you'll obviously get a better spot the earlier you arrive.

I'm not really a fan of organised tours as half the adventure is getting there.

We ordered our tickets, camping and carpass through the main ACO website. It was a bit baffling to book, but when we turned up we picked up everyhing from the main office and were on our way.

Website is here:http://www.lemans.org/24heuresdumans/pages/accueil_fr.html

Le Mans town isn't much to look at. Quite drab and dour, the kind of civic embodiment of one of its citizens, a chap called Sebastian Bourdais.

If your missus needs convincing, I would say it's quite a girl-friendly racing event (compared to say, Bathurst which is absolutely not!), you can take a blanket, make a picnic and find a nice spot and chill out for a bit.

Because the race duration is so long you can set up shop in one position, read a book and have the race going on in the background.

In fact, we found a good spot and had a picnic a few hours before the start and just chilled out in the same spot for ages drinking little beers, wine etc.

The lout elements isn't too bad at Le Mans in my experience.

Tack on a day in Paris and the promise of a ride on the ferris wheel and you'll have her sold!

Anyway, this was our luxury accomodation for the weekend.

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This shot is the run down from Arnage toward the Porsche Curves. You can access this in the days before the race. I was amazed how snaky the road is.

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Looking up to the Dunlop Bridge, on the Sunday morning once the weather had packed in

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On the fence at the crest of the hill, gets a bit packed here so you'd need to stake your claim early if you fancied watching the start here

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The last corner before pit straight

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Crap photography of a sexy Aston

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As mentioned, we wedged up into the concrete stand across from the Audi pit as Kristensen came across to win. Capello and McNish are standing on the pitwall somewhere in there

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The podium. Quite easy to get onto the track after the race to see the ceremony

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Good luck!

#5 dank

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:42

Loving the snaps. Are they all from a general admission ticket?

With Aston Martin announcing they'll be competing in this year's event, I'm a 99.9% dead cert to attend now!

#6 potmotr

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 12:28

Loving the snaps. Are they all from a general admission ticket?

With Aston Martin announcing they'll be competing in this year's event, I'm a 99.9% dead cert to attend now!


Yep, all snaps are from General Admission.

And my camera is only a little Canon point-and-shoot digital, so as you can see I was quite close.

It's a great experience, it really is.



#7 JPW

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 19:59

I'm almost certainly going to the Le Mans 24 hour event this year for the first time ever and would appreciate some advice from those that have previously been.

1. Is the general admission ticket any good at all? Can you negotiate your way round most of the circuit and get some good vantage points for viewing and taking pictures?

2. Thinking of using Motor Racing International and going by coach. Cost is approx. £150 and for that it is an overnight run from London and across the Channel to reach Le Mans on Saturday morning. The coach is manned overnight for those wanting a kip and come the end of the race it departs to arrive in London for Monday morning.

Does this seem worth it? How else could I do it that didn't involve having to camp for example? Driving there perhaps?

As a Le Mans addict for about a decade now I might be able to give you some pointers, first your questions:

1. Yes GA is good value for money, you can see a large part of the track but transportation (or a hiking attitude) is a must. Plenty of points to take pictures. If you want to see anything from the start procedures or the finish find a place very early or buy a grandstand ticket.

2. Difficult, although £150 isn't that expensive a coach sure isn't the best way to do Le Mans. Being dependant on a coach for basically 3 days isn't much fun either, you'll return home knackered, sleep deprived and smelly, also it won't impress the missus.
Remember that this way you'll be fully dependant on the track facilties or your coach, if it rains there's no shelter for 250.000 people unless you have a grandstand ticket, food and drinks are not cheap and no shops near the track.

I'd advise you to forget about going by coach (and MRI) and drive there if you can. Bring or buy locally a simple tent and some basic gear and you should be fine. Freedom, shelter and a bit more comfort.

So basically agree with potmotr, go by car and order the tickets with the ACO (they send them to you for a bit extra), do the ferry wheel, wander around and meet lots of fellow enthousiasts but be warned you'll get hooked on the event.

As to Le Mans don't believe Potmotr  ;) it ain't Paris but go to downtown Friday afternoon if you can and enjoy the drivers parade and a good meal in the old city (Les Ramparts), there's a direct tram line from the track to downtown so no need to drive.

Anyway there's too much to tell in one post, just go here for the definitive Le Mans 24h guide made by fellow Le Mans fans from www.clubarnage.com, you'll find plenty of information in there or send me a PM if you have any further questions.

#8 potmotr

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 21:45

Good tips JPW, you've got the veteran's touch!

Might have been a bit hard on Le Mans as a city.

The drivers parade was pretty cool.

#9 jacaalis

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 19:08

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I must have been standing quite close to you, was this at the race start? here's a couple of mine from the same spot in '08, found the other side of the bridge was better in '09
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to the OP, check out www.clubarnage.com or www.beermountain.com for LeMans trip info etc.

#10 Phil Rainford

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 21:23

The Paddock has the odd photo opportunity  ;)


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While as the race goes on you find people cut holes in the fences......

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PAR

#11 jacaalis

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 22:00

The Paddock has the odd photo opportunity ;)


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SNAP :lol:
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#12 Phil Rainford

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:15

Great minds think alike.......cannot imagine what first attracted us to the stand :)

PAR

Edited by Phil Rainford, 05 February 2010 - 10:16.


#13 CSquared

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 08:16

It's been over ten years since I've been to Le Mans, so much of my info would be out of date, but a few things I remember:
Be sure to bring a portable radio with earphones to listen to Le Mans Radio (I think that's what it was called) in English. It wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable if I hadn't had that.
Bring headache medicine. Maybe you won't have the same problems I did, but for me, sleep deprivation + 20 hours of loud engines = headaches :)
If you're gonna stay up all night like I did, bring warm clothes and thermal underwear. I couldn't believe how cold it got in the early morning hours, not only because of the outside temperature, but also because my body stopped producing heat when it thought it was time to sleep.
Bring food. The food in the track was terrible.
I took the train into Le Mans from Germany, where I was living at the time, and then the bus from Le Mans train station to the track. Super easy, if that's the method you choose. Having access to a tent or a car for a nap like some other posters have said would have been wonderful, though.
Don't forget to check out the museum at the track. At least when I went, they didn't keep the museum open through the night. :rolleyes: Seemed pretty dumb to me, but what do I know?
Have a great time! I wish I could go back. I loved it. Watching those cars go through the Esses and Tertre Rouge at night, with glowing brakes and flames out the exhaust, was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen . . .

#14 24hourman

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 13:18

This will be my 28th consecutive year at Le Mans and I would not miss it for anything. To add to the other helpful posts. Wednesday and Thursday are practice and qualifying for the drivers. This normally starts at 7.00am through to midnight with a one hour break in between. A great spectacle and all grandstands are free for the two days get there early to get a good seat IMO the best Grandstand to watch from for this is situated at the Dunlop chicane Ie. the Dunlop grandstand.

Friday includes the Free pit lane walk about but once again get there early as the place will be mobbed later in the afternoon.

I always camp But I did go on the coach for the first two years but I will never do it again. Some of the sights you will see in the campsite beggars belief Olympic sized swimming pools, purpose built stages for all sorts of activities and this is just the campers. Not to mention probably the largest concentration of classic cars anywhere in the world and most of them Brits.

Private firework displays are also much in evidence some rivalling what you would normally have to pay to see with everyone trying to outdo each other

The general admission ticket will get you everywhere from the exit of the Porsche curves through the ford chicane the pit lane straight dunlop chicane down through the esses tertre rouge and you will be able to see the start of the Mulsanne straight. A long walk or short car ride will take you to Arnage and the run down from indianapolis. Once again you really need a car to get to the outside of Mulsanne corner and indianapolis. The Mulsanne kink and braking area for Mulsanne corner (prohibited area watch out for the gendarmes) can be got to on the inside but only by walking unless you have the appropriate car pass to get to the golf course if you can get to this area the cars will make your hair stand on end and it is an incredible sight to behold. Your general admission ticket will get you to all the areas mentioned on all days that there is activity. Probably the best value ticket for any event anywhere in the world.

All this and I have not even begun to touch on the subject of the cars and the extraordinary spectacle of 55 cars all flat out at the start on the run up to the Dunlop chicane.

les 24 heures du mans or true racing Porn indeed

Edited by 24hourman, 25 March 2010 - 18:36.