Two big events at the Circuit de la Sarthe: first the prototypes and GTs will battle it out in the 24 Hours; then the old stagers – cars and drivers! – are at play…
Do not be alarmed! Some of you may have idly clicked on to www.lemansclassic.com and seen that the track map is of the Bugatti circuit. And what would be the point of running the Le Mans Classic over this layout? Worry not… it’s a mistake, for the third running of the event will be over the glorious 24 Hours circuit.
There is some bad news, though. It takes place over July 7-9, meaning that you have to decide whether to miss the clashing Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The LMC has much to recommend it. Spanning 1923-79, the field is split into six groups that will all race three times. There are 65 entries in each group, with a further 13 in each ready to go in case any of the accepted racers hit problems.
The quality and variety is stunning, from the Porsche 936 of 2004 LMC winner and former 24 Hours victor Jürgen Barth to the Czech-entered 1949 Skoda — the ironic hero of the weekend. And there are plenty of star drivers too, among them Bobby Rahal (Lola T286), Jean Ragnotti (Alpine-Renault A443), Henri Pescarolo (Inaltera), Erik Comas (Porsche 910) and Patrick Tambay (Ford GT40).
Three weeks earlier, on June 17-18, is the 24 Hours itself, in which the groundbreaking Audi R10 turbo-diesels will bid to fend off the conventionally-powered prototype opposition. Just as fascinating will be the GT class struggle between Chevrolet, Aston Martin, Maserati and Ferrari.
Le Mans 24 Hours
Monday June 12/Tuesday June13 Scrutineering
Wednesday June 14, 19.00-24.00 Qualifying
Thursday June 15, 19.00-24.00 Qualifying
Friday June 16, 18.00-19.00 Driver parade in Le Mans town centre
Saturday June17, 10.15 ACO Centenary Race One
Saturday June 17, 11.30 ACO Centenary Race Two
Saturday June 17, 17.00 Start of Le Mans 24 Hours
Further information on www.lemans.org
Le Mans Classic
Friday July 7, 08.30-14.00 Scrutineering:
Saturday July 8, 11.00 Christie’s Auction at circuit
Saturday July 8, 16.00 1923-39 race (plus on Sun at 00.40 and 08.40)
Saturday July 8, 17.45 1949-56 race (plus on Sun at 02.00 and 10.00)
Saturday July 8, 19.15 1957-61 race (plus on Sun at 03.30 and 11.20)
Saturday July 8, 20.40 1962-65 race (plus on Sun at 04.40 and 12.40)
Saturday July 8, 22.20 1966-71 race (plus on Sun at 06.00 and 14.00)
Saturday July 8, 23.20 1972-79 race (plus on Sun at 07.15 and 15.15
Further information on www.lemansclassic.com. For tickets for both events, call 00 33 892 697 224 or e-mail [email protected]