Numbers are up at the Le Mans Classic, but so are costs
The organisers of the 2018 Le Mans Classic – the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and Peter Auto – said that more than 1000 drivers entered this year’s edition, with a record 135,000 spectators attending. That’s a 10 per cent increase over the 2016 figures.
But questions lingered about the driving standards – which caused Derek Bell to bow out of the event (August’s Hot Topic) – and also the price of entry to the event, which spiralled from €6200 per car in 2016, the last time the event was held, to €6500 (£5768) this year.
“It is quite expensive,” says James Cottingham, who raced a Ford GT40 Mk1 at this year’s event. “But it’s an amazing opportunity to race on the real Circuit de la Sarthe in an atmosphere which reflects how it would’ve been in period.
“You can justify it as the event is biennial. It’s definitely worth doing. And, even though costs of entry are generally rising, the appreciation and value of the cars makes up for it.”
As for the driving standards, Cottingham said that historic motor sport is “streets ahead when it comes to respect between competitors.”
That’s not to say that this year’s race went without incident. Carlos Tavares courted controversy as he spun his 1969 Lola T70 MkIII at the Porsche Curves and, in an effort to rejoin, spun again – facing traffic – and then collected an oncoming Chevron B16.
Luckily, nobody was hurt.