Day 4 at Le Mans 2019
If you read yesterday’s post on my trip to Le Mans, you’ll know that due to the lack of good weather, and opportunities to use my solar charger, I had the gadget equivalent of range anxiety. However, with the dawn of a new day came the hottest day of the week so far and a forecast for even better weather to come. In fact, thanks to today’s Sun, I’m now ready to carry on this habit of writing about my day’s activities.
Not only was the weather much better today, but it started in a much better fashion with a warm shower. This is something that I’ve missed since I’ve been here at Le Mans, and it was a very nice surprise.
To kick off the day’s goings on, I had the challenge of navigating the maze of closed roads around the track on my way to Arnage. Not the corner, but the town. Here, there was yet another event taking place. This time, it was classic and elegant French cars that were the main focus of the day which is great for me as the Renault Alpine is one of my dream cars. Alongside the plethora of Alpines from the 1950’s to today, were many Matras and a few small sports cars that I’ve never heard of.
Despite the event being set up to celebrate the French automotive industry, there were still a few iconic cars and as always at car shows, a few supercar owners with trying to get as many looks as possible. Just like Tuesday’s event, the Ferrari 250 GTO replica made an appearance with a few Ford GT40s giving the town square a 1966 feel.
As I was already out of the campsite, I decided to spend the next couple of track sessions at the corners away from the main spectator area. Both Arnage and Mulsanne have dedicated spectator zones giving the public an extra point of view of the track, and more importantly, nearly allowing us on to the Mulsanne straight.
I first went to the Arnage and Indianapolis sequence of corners where I saw the Road To Le Mans race series complete its qualifying sessions. Seeing LMP3 cars battle their way past massive GT3 cars such as the Bentley Continental and the Mercedes AMG GT was a sight to behold as the prototypes were having to dive into the braking zone of Indianapolis. With better acceleration, the GT3 cars then cheekily found their way alongside before the tight right hander of Arnage.
For the next session, I took to the Mulsanne spectator area to watch some of the richest and most eccentric people on the planet race their own Ferrari Challenge cars. This is a series where Ferrari’s best clients get the chance to pay the company even more money in order to race specially built racers. This weekend, there are over 50 cars taking part in the race and surprisingly, none of the untrained drivers crashed where I was watching. The Mulsanne corner is a right-hand bend after the long straight meaning drivers need to control the car as it goes from 300km/h to around 80km/h. In fact, these Challenge cars seemed a lot more unstable than any of the other cars this weekend under hard braking as the front end pushes itself into the ground and the rear lifts up.
After the different support race sessions, I wanted to make my way back to the main area to watch the final two sessions of qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hour main event. For the first of the two sessions, I wandered from the start line towards the Ford Chicane and the Porsche Curves. From this vantage point, you can see the cars bounce over the kerbs as the drivers try to find the shortest line possible. This can make for great photos that show the forces going through the cars. Furthermore, as the cars are losing speed at this point, they aren’t as loud so I would advise checking out the Ford Chicane for those with sensitive ears.
Finally, as the day’s fatigue suddenly hit, I found a spot in the grandstand to watch the final qualifying session before the big race. Despite the tremendous noise of the cars over-powering the commentator’s voice, the big screens made it a lot easier to follow the session and the times.