The foregoing report was flown back in an Airspeed “Consul” chartered from Air Enterprises, Ltd., via Air Liaison.
The arrival at Le Mans rough, grass airfield was well handled, hut the commemoration plaques for British visitors never materialised.
The pits were magnificently laid out, with huge coloured name-boards, metal laps-scoring numbers and little steps to assist personnel to reach the road, and were really roomy. Refuelling was by hoses from proper gravity tanks, and water stand-pipes were provided behind the pits. An illuminated subway and a bridge connected the pits and tribunes.
The Press, as we have said, were treated handsomely, and were issued with attractive leatherette folders for their race bulletins. But track-passes and admission to the A.C. de l’Ouest enclosure would have been appreciated.
The equipe vans were a grand sight, with Gordini’s vast Lancia perhaps the most Impressive of them all.
Some 200,000 people arrived to spectate and stayed by the railings throughout the night. Brass bands, which played frequently the “Song of Les 24 Heures,” and side-shows were provided for their entertainment-but the heat, and the dust! ! !
Before the race the three “works” Aston-Martins were parked outside the course with their lorry and could not get permission to enter for some time, because the course was officially closed.
The crowds were good-natured to the President, the gendarmes and to one another and took a real interest in the race.
Finally, going down the list of finishers, the performances set up by the British cars are a cause for congratulation. The Frazer-Nash was placed in its first long race in the hands of British drivers. The Rolls-Bentley, with some 60,000 miles of ordinary motoring to its credit, was not only highly impressive by reason of its silent, speed, but came in sixth, out of 20 finishers, and might have been one place higher if a tyre hadn’t burst. The Jones/Haines AstonMartin, the first appearance of the new car in saloon form, was eighth, the Thompson/Fairman H.R.G. motored steadily to finish ninth, beating the D.B. to a 1 1/2-litre class victory, Lawrie, partnered by Dr. Parker, brought a normal production three-seater 2-litre modern-style Aston-Martin in 12th, aided by excellent amateur pit-work, and the Healey saloon, rather flexibly sprung it seemed, retrieved its bad start by coming home in 14th place.
Book reviews, February 1971, February 1971
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