Category Archives: Travel Destinations News

Le Mans 24 Hours

Book now for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2018

Book now for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2018

Whilst Porsche and Aston Martin have been celebrating wins, and Toyota and Corvette have been dreaming of what might have been this year, Travel Destinations have been planning ahead, so you can now book for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2018. As an official travel and ticket agent for the Le Mans 24 Hours, Travel Destinations are in a unique position to be able to offer early bird prices for the 2018 race. All prices are now available on this website and bookings can be secured with a small deposit. You can call our reservations team now to secure all your tickets for Le Mans 2018.

Le Mans 24 HoursThe Le Mans 24 Hours may be just under a year away, but as most people know the most popular hotels, camping and grandstand tickets sell out quickly, so it is important to reserve your booking early. All our prices include travel from the UK, entrance tickets and your choice of accommodation for the Le Mans 24 Hours, however for international visitors it is also possible to book without the travel element. Just enquire at the time of booking for a revised price. All Travel Destinations exclusive on-circuit options sold out in 2017 so please ensure you reserve your place soon to avoid disappointment.

The Travel Destinations private trackside camping area, on the famous Porsche Curves was the first ever private campsite at the circuit. Ever since its inception it has set the standard for private and secure onsite camping at Le Mans. Not only does this campsite offer guests 24 hours security, fully serviced showers and toilets and a well stocked hospitality marquee, it is also the only campsite to offer exclusive access to its own private viewing bank.

Le Mans 24 Hours
Travel Destinations at Porsche Curves trackside camping

For those without their own tent, or for those looking for a little luxury at Le Mans, the Travel Destinations Event Tents are an ideal solution.Located just a short walk from our Porsche Curves campsite, the Event Tents offer large pre-erected bell tents, complete with carpet, mattresses and all bed linen. For the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Event Tents also benefit from 24 Hours security, fully serviced toilets and showers and their own hospitality marquee. Car parking is also available on-site for all guests.

Le Mans 24 Hours
Travel Destinations Event Tents at the Le Mans 24 Hours

For those not wanting to camp, the Travel Destinations Flexotel Village offers a private bedroom in the centre of the track. Exclusive to Travel Destinations this pop-up hotel offers lockable rooms with two beds and all bed linen. Standard rooms have separate shower and toilet blocks on-site, but for those that want their own bathroom then an upgrade to comfortel rooms is also possible. Set in their own secure paddock (not on grass) the Flexotel Village is just a short walk from the start/finish line, the Dunlop Bridge and the Tertre Rouge corner. There is parking for those arriving by car, and the location is ideal for international guests arriving by train and tram from Paris.

Le Mans 24 Hours
Travel Destinations Flexotel Village at the Le Mans 24 Hours

Of course, there are also thousands of camping pitches in the ACO circuit run campsites available as well. Although these areas offer only basic facilities & no security, they are always popular and most areas will sell out. Travel Destinations has the largest allocations of pitches in all circuit run campsites, particularly in the most popular areas of Maison Blanche, Houx and Tertre Rouge. Ask our experienced staff what campsite they would recommend if you are not sure.

Grandstand seats and Le Mans hospitality are also available and can be added to any of our Le Mans 24 Hours 2018 packages. These are ideal if you would like to get a better view of the action, or just want a different experience.

You can book for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2018 now by calling Travel Destinations on 0844 873 0203 or by emailing us via info@traveldestinations.co.uk with all your requirements. Travel Destinations are an ABTA and ATOL bonded tour operator so you can book now with confidence. 

Le Mans Classic

Le Mans Classic returns for 2018

Le Mans Classic returns for 2018

Le Mans Classic 2018Le Mans Classic
6th – 8th July 2018

After a year’s break the Le Mans Classic returns in 2018 for another weekend of motor racing nostalgia. As the Le Mans 24 Hours is the pinnacle for modern endurance racing, then the Le Mans Classic is the ultimate in historic motorsport. The Le Mans Classic brings together only cars that once raced during the Le Mans 24 Hours, back to their spiritual home for another performance in front of a huge crowd at Le Mans. And this isn’t a parade. This is proper racing on the full Le Mans circuit. Professional and amateur drivers going head to head, in machinery designed and prepared specifically for Le Mans.

Le Mans ClassicThere is a full 24 hours of racing. Even the traditional Le Mans start is recreated. However it would be impossible to race 1920s cars against those from the 1970s or 1980s, so the cars ares split into different grids depending on the era in which they originally raced. Traditionally the Le Mans Classic has comprised of six grids covering the years from 1923 through to 1979. For the Le Mans Classic 2018 there will also be an additional “guest grid” featuring the Group C cars that dominated at Le Mans during the 1980s. Each grid will appear on the circuit multiple times throughout the 24 hours, enabling spectators to see racing through dusk, evening and night, through dawn and back to day again.

This is why no other historic motorsport event can compete with the Le Mans Classic. Where else can you see a Jaguar D-Type glisten in the sunrise as it sweeps under the famous Dunlop Bridge? More than 120,000 spectators already agree, and expect that number to rise in 2018.

There is more to the Le Mans Classic than just the on-circuit action. This event has become a mecca for car clubs from around Europe. The infield is turned in to a classic and sports car car park for more than 8 thousand vehicles of all ages and manufacturers. This magnificent display is worth the entry fee alone. In addition there are anniversary displays, a classic car auction, memorabilia stores as well as food outlets and even a cinema, all with a vintage theme.

Le Mans Classic official ticket agentTravel Destinations is an official ticket agent for the Le Mans Classic. This puts us in the privileged position of being able to offer our customers the best options for travel, tickets and accommodation for the Le Mans Classic 2018. Travel Destinations has a number of exclusive options including private trackside camping, glamping and a pop-up hotel all on the famous Le Mans track, so you can’t stay any closer to all the action.
Travel Destinations has two different trackside campsites for the Le Mans Classic 2018. Both offer 24 hours security, fully serviced showers and toilets as well as a hospitality marquee serving food and drinks throughout the weekend. The difference is in locations and the view. Our Hunaudieres campsite is located on the inside of the Tertre Rouge corner, overlooked by the football stadium (the MM Arena). The campsite is surrounded by a wall, but there is a public viewing bank overlooking Tertre Rouge corner just outside the campsite entrance. Our Porsche Curves campsite is our traditional camping location for the Le Mans 24 Hours. This campsite has a unique and exclusive private viewing bank that overlooks the famous Porsche Curves. Both locations are hugely popular and have sold out in recent years, so booking early is recommended.

Le Mans Classic
Travel Destinations Event Tents at the Le Mans Classic

The Travel Destinations Event Tents are another very popular option. Located near to our Porsche Curves campsite, the Event Tents are our pre-erected glamping option for those not wishing to pitch their own tent. Each tent is 5 metres in diameter and coming fully carpeted, with mattresses and all bed linen, giving the perfect environment for camping at Le Mans. The Event Tents are erected in their own private campsite, with 24 hours security, fully serviced showers and toilets and a hospitality marquee. There is plenty of room for car parking too, enabling people to travel in their sports cars and park in a secure area in-sight of their tent. This option was another sell out for the last Le Mans Classic in 2016.

Le Mans Classic
Travel Destinations Flexotel Village at the Le Mans Classic

For those that don’t wish to camp, the Travel Destinations Flexotel Village is the perfect solution. We build this exclusive pop-up hotel in the centre of the circuit, to enable guests to have their own private bedroom within walking distance of the track. Each room can sleep two people in proper beds supplied with all bed linen. The Flexotel Village is located within its own private paddock (not on grass) with plenty of room for car parking. Guests can choose between a standard room or one with their own shower & toilet room. There are also separate shower and toilet blocks for guests and a hospitality marquee on-site. All guests at the Flexotel Village will also receive a full picnic basket for the Saturday of the Le Mans Classic.

Travel Destinations have a number of off-circuit options too, including hotel rooms, B&B properties and private camping areas all within a short drive of the Le Mans circuit.

Le Mans ClassicAll Travel Destinations offers include general entrance tickets as well as access to the Le Mans Classic paddock. Grandstand seats, circuit laps & other optional extras can also be added on request.

You can book your place at the Le Mans Classic NOW! Prices for all our travel & ticket options are available on this website and bookings can be secured with a small deposit. Please call our knowledgeable reservations team now on 0844 873 0203 to discuss the best options for you and to reserve your place the Le Mans Classic 2018.

Spa Classic

Spa Classic 2017: Another unmissable event

The Spa Classic 2017; You know you are arriving somewhere special when you are greeted at the gate by the sound of Group C endurance racers blasting through Eau Rouge, whilst Italian sports cars from the 1960s warm up in the paddock. Immediately your senses are teased by the sounds, smells and sights of historic motor racing at its best.

Spa Classic
Sixties Endurance

The Spa Classic has grown in just 7 years to become an unmissable part of the motorsport calendar. Spa Classic 2017, saw more than 20,000 spectators make the journey to the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit to witness some spectacular racing. They were rewarded by no less than 9 different grids competing around the stunning twists and turns of this historic track.

Spa Classic
Trofeo Nastro Rosso at the Spa Classic 2017

As you would expect from a circuit of Spa’s reputation, Friday was wet. The rooster tails behind the cars were big and proud. The drivers were really tested in challenging conditions. There is perhaps nothing more impressive than a skilled driver, fighting for control of a powerful sports car on a wet track. It was perhaps fortunate that Friday was only a day of practice and some preliminary qualifying sessions for all of the assembled grids. Other than the difficult driving conditions on the route down through Belgium, the damp weather wasn’t an issue for Travel Destinations customers that arrived early. Our reserved infield car parking allowed our customers to park their classic and sports cars in the F1 paddock, and our hospitality suite was open from midday, serving teas, coffees and biscuits ready for the weekend.

Spa Classic
Saturday morning arrivals at the Travel Destinations car park

Saturday dawned fresh and dry. A perfect day for racing. The early morning mist soon cleared revealing the beautiful circuit in all its glory. The circuit oozes history, so to have historic cars racing at Spa again is the perfect match.

Spectators & their cars were filing through the gates before 9am when the track action started again. To warm the growing crowd up, first on track were the GT1 sports cars. An impressive assembly of Ferraris (360s, F355, F40, 550, F430) Porsches (964 & 996) and Vipers (Chrysler and Dodge). These were swiftly followed by the first grid of Classic Endurance Racing cars featuring GT cars from 1966 – 1974, and prototypes from 1966 – 1971. And so, the morning progressed through Formula Vee, Group C and the beautiful Italian sports car of the Trofeo Nasto Rosso grid.

Spa Classic
GT1 Sports grid on track

With more than 350 customers including about 130 classic & sports cars travelling with Travel Destinations, the reserved F1 paddock car park, soon began filling up. A fantastic variety of vehicles, including MGs, Jaguars, Porsches, TVRs, Triumphs, Aston Martins and other exotica, all parked up making an impressive display. The Travel Destinations car park faced on to the Bonhams auction, and it was debateable who had the most expensive collection on the day.

Spa Classic
Travel Destinations’ infield customer car park

The Travel Destinations hospitality suite was a popular destination all weekend. Available only to Travel Destinations customers, the suite overlooks Eau Rouge & offered private viewing, seating, light refreshments and large TVs showing live timing & scoring during each race. The suite became a real social centre at the track, a meeting point for everyone and an information point including programmes, brochures and other event information.

Spa Classic
Travel Destinations’ customer hospitality suite

Saturday saw the largest numbers of Travel Destinations customer cars on track. One of the unique features of the Spa Classic is the ability to take your own classic or sports car on to the circuit for some non-competitive track time. These aren’t parade laps, and after the first lap behind a safety car, you can almost do what you want, but you do have to follow the circuits rules and obey the marshals’ flags. Some Travel Destinations customers took to the track on Friday afternoon, but the majority waited until Saturday and Sunday to test their skills on the circuit. These laps are always hotly anticipated by the participants and the big grins when they return to the paddock are all you really need to know.

Spa Classic
Travel Destinations customers enjoying the Spa Classic

As the sun dropped behind the trees and night began to fall, the racing continued. In fact, races for both the Sixties Endurance racers, and the Heritage Touring cars continued in the dark up until midnight. Historic racing at night creates a wonderful atmosphere. Headlights & brake lights illuminating the track around the La Source hairpin and the bus-stop chicane have to be seen with your own eyes to be appreciated fully. A beautiful sight.

Spa Classic
Heritage Touring Cup racing at night

If Saturday’s weather improved on Friday’s, then Sunday’s was better again. It is not often that sunscreen is passed around by people in the paddock, but it was on Sunday. Those at the track for 9am were treated to more sounds for the GT1 Sports club followed by an hour-long race by the 2nd grid from Classic Endurance Racing. By lunchtime the Italian sports cars (estimated value of about £1 million each) had returned to the track as well as the wonderfully raucous Group C cars.

Spa Classic 2017
Group C Racing at the Spa Classic 2017

Over a picnic lunch or dinner in the Maison de L’Eau Rouge more socializing took place, whilst further club circuit laps and VIPs were taken around the circuit. The afternoon brought a further chance to catch up with the single seater racers of Formula Vee and recently formed Euro F2 class. This grid comprises of Formula 2 cars that made their reputation in the late 1960s and in to the 1970s. At this time F2 was the only feeder series to F1 and that made it a very competitive class featuring some of the best drivers in the world. To see these cars returned to their former glory at Spa-Francorchamps was a real delight.

Spa Classic 2017
Formula Vee outside the Travel Destinations hospitality suite

As the Spa Classic 2017 event came to a close on Sunday evening many spectators were still milling around the various paddocks reluctant to return to their comfortable hotel and feel they had missed anything. The Spa Classic is that kind of event. There is something of interest in every paddock and car park, so that even during the races you are never quite sure where your attention should be.
The 2017 edition of the Spa Classic was a great success, attracting a record audience at the circuit over the weekend, despite the damp start.

Spa Classic
Euro F2 at the Spa Classic 2017

The Spa Classic will return in 2018 and you can be assured that Travel Destinations will once again be the official ticket agent offering the best travel, hotels, parking and hospitality available for the event. Prices for Spa Classic 2018 will be available soon, but you can register with us now to be the first to receive more details.

Written by Richard Webb
Photography by Kevin Osborne & Peter Auto

Tom Kristensen

Your chance to meet Mr. Le Mans!

Our friends at Race Retro have offered one lucky Travel Destinations customer the chance to win a meet and greet with endurance racer & Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen.

Race Retro

Race Retro celebrates the very best of international historic motorsport, showcasing every discipline including formula and circuit racing, rallying, hill climbs, touring cars, single marque series, motorcycling, sports and GT cars. From historic to vintage and classic to retro vehicles, it’s all covered at Race Retro. Cars and motorcycles, drivers, team managers, riders, mechanics, manufacturers and enthusiasts all come together ahead of the forthcoming season.

Tom will make his debut appearance at Race Retro, the international historic motorsport show, on Saturday 25th February at Stoneleigh Park, as part of the three-day events 15th anniversary ‘Super Show’ celebrations.

Tom Kristensen

Tom, who was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame in 2013, will appear on the Motor Sport Live Stage while at the show and have a private meet and great with one lucky Travel Destinations customer.

To be in with a chance of winning, book your tickets here or simply visit www.raceretro.com and book tickets for Saturday 25th February quoting RR17TK

T&C’s – Tickets must be booked before 20th February 2017 in order to be in with a chance of winning. Only tickets booked for Saturday 25th February 2017 will be eligible for the prize draw. If booking more than one ticket, the prize will be awarded to the individual who booked the ticket, not the whole group. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prize is not transferable. The lucky winner must be able to attend for the whole day on Saturday 25th February 2017. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email and will have 24 hours to confirm receipt of their prize. If the prize has not been claimed after 24 hours the organisers reserve the right to re-draw the prize winner. The organiser reserves the right to change all or any of the elements of the prize at their soul discretion and no correspondence will be entered into.

Travel Destinations Brochure

New 2017 Travel Destinations Brochure

The Travel Destinations’ brochure for 2017/18 is available to download now. The new brochure includes events such as the Le Mans 24 Hours, Spa Classic, Nurburgring 24 Hours, Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Nurburgring Oldtimers Grand Prix, Bathurst 12 Hours, Spa 24 Hours & Circuit Des Remparts at Angouleme.

For those planning further ahead we have even included early booking offers for the Le Mans Classic in 2018.

Travel Destinations brochure
Click on the image above to get your digital copy of our brochure.

Our brochure will also be available to collect from our stands at the Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham (11th – 13th November), at the Autosport International Show also at the NEC in Birmingham (12th – 15th January) and at the London Classic Car Show at Excel, London (23rd – 26th February). Do come and say hello to our staff and collect your copy of our new brochure.
Classic Motor Show
London Classic Car Show

 

 

Spa Classic 2017

Spa Classic 2017

Spa ClassicSpa Classic 2017
19th – 21st May

Although the Le Mans Classic doesn’t return again until July 2018, you can still get your fix of classic car racing with annual Spa Classic event.

Spa Classic 2017

In May 2017, the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium will host the 7th Spa Classic, an historic race weekend, that features a variety of grids including Group C cars, classic touring cars, Italian sports cars and sixties endurance racing. In addition to the on track action, classic car clubs from across Europe are invited to display their cars within the paddock areas, creating a show of beautiful cars and motoring history.

Travel Destinations have been looking after customers at every Spa Classic event since its inception. This has enabled us to become the official agency for this event giving us access to the best tickets and options available. In particular Travel Destinations invites all its customers arriving at Spa in classic or sports cars, to park in our private car parking area within the circuit, in pride of place, on the top level adjacent to the F1 garages. From this car parking area you can see across the paddocks to both the La Source hairpin and the hill at Eau Rouge.

Spa Classic 2017

All Travel Destinations customers are also invited to join us in our hospitality suite overlooking Eau Rouge for light refreshments throughout the weekend. From this first floor suite you can relax for a while, enjoy complimentary tea & coffee and still watch all the action. It is a great place to socialise with other guests and meet the Travel Destinations team.

All our Spa Classic offers include your choice of travel and accommodation. You can choose from the Eurotunnel, or the ferries from Dover or Hull. All the packages also include entrance tickets to the Spa Classic that also allows access to every paddock and grandstand. You are free to wander and view from wherever you like.

We have a choice of five different hotels and a campsite to stay at. All of the properties are within 15 minutes of the circuit and each of the options has been visited by Travel Destinations staff. We have been using all of them for a number of years and have many repeat guests, so they all come highly recommended. We have tried to offer something for every budget and taste, but please feel free to ask our staff for a recommendation when you call.

Spa Classic 2017

You can find out more about the Spa Classic and our exclusive offers on this website by clicking here. You can book your place at the Spa Classic now by calling us on 0844 873 0203. A deposit of £85.00 per person will be required at the time of booking.

The Spa Classic may still be the little sister to the Le Mans Classic, but she is catching up fast.

 

Spa Classic

Spa Classic 2016

Spa Classic 2016

A week after the FIA WEC 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps it was the turn of the golden oldies of the world of endurance racing to take to the legendary Belgian circuit for the 6th Spa Classic. If the weather was a bit cooler than the weekend before, the action on the track was equally competitive and the spectacle was equally enthralling.

Spa-9

The spectators formed a guard of honour around the lines of historic cars about to go out onto the track, and everyone was able to take advantage of the relaxed nature of the Spa Classic to get up close to the drivers and their machinery.

The weekend provided people with the opportunity to relive some of the greatest events in the history of the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours in the touring car era, as well as the Spa 1000 km with prototypes and GTs covering the period 1952 (Aston Martin DB2) to 1993 (Peugeot 905). In all, four decades on this circuit marked by victories of emblematic models like the Ferrari 250 LM (1965), Ford GT40 (1968) and the Porsche 962 (1986), all of which were represented on the track this weekend. A total of some 216 racing cars divided up into six grids (Classic Endurance Racing 1 & 2, Group C Racing, the Heritage Touring Cup, Trofeo Nastro Rosso & Sixties’ Endurance) put on a nine-race action-packed show out on the track from Friday onwards, including one that felt absolutely magic on Saturday evening as night fell.

Spa Classic

Spectators, who were able to tear themselves away from the racing that continued nonstop out on the beautiful Belgian circuit, for a few minutes were able to experience musical and motoring entertainment both in and out of the paddocks, whilst children could have their first taste of driving pedal-powered karts round their own circuit, and then take on their parents at the controls of radio-controlled cars. Other forms of entertainment included jazz music and a unique DJ housed in VW van as well as many boutiques (scale models, clothes, bookshops, etc.).

One of the great assets of an event like the Spa Classic is the access all areas philosophy that allows spectators to wonder through the garages and paddocks, as well as access all of the grandstands and visit the Brasserie on top of the F1 building. The more adventurous also enjoyed a walk along the footpath that offers spectacular views around the whole circuit.

Spa Classic

Inside and outside the track car clubs gathered to add to the weekend display. Four different BMW clubs that had chosen Spa Classic to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the make, many owners of historic cars came to the Ardennes to enjoy the party and represented makes as diverse as Corvette, Datsun, Honda, MG, Porsche, Triumph and TVR. Enough to retrace the history of the motor car through 700 models ranging from the legendary Citroën Traction Avant to the incredible Lamborghini Miuras, Ferrari F40s and F50s.

Spa Classic

Guests booked with Travel Destinations enjoyed the Spa Classic more than most. Not only did they park their cars in pride of place, stretching the full length of the top level F1 paddock, but they also had access to the Travel Destinations hospitality lodge overlooking Eau Rouge, where they could enjoy their own pit stop with tea, coffee and biscuits without missing any of the action. Those with dreams of being racers themselves were also able to take their cars out on track to enjoy the twists and turns of Spa-Francorchamps first hand.

The Spa Classic event will be returning in May 2017 & Travel Destinations will once again be there in the middle of the action, enjoying this great event. If you are interested in joining us at the Spa Classic in 2017, please register your interest with us now, to be among the first to receive our special offers.Spa Classic

Ford

Looking forward to 2016

The Four Biggest Endurance Racing Stories of 2016

Okay so that’s a rather arrogant assertion, there are bound to be stories through this year that eclipse some of those below but to do so they’ll have to be very big indeed!

1- Ford – 50 Years on
The Blue Oval is back and this is no badge engineering stunt.
The new Ford GT is a GT racing mould breaker, the first of a brand new breed of n few generation GTE cars.
It’s very clear that Ford’s turbo V6 engined ‘halo’ hyper car has been designed first as a racer and THEN as a road car.  It’s attention to aerodynamic detail is astounding, and whilst the front of the car pays homage to its grandaddy, the iconic 1960s Ford GT40, the 2016 version has a rear end like no other road car, ever!
So that ticks the boxes for the car fans, but the racing fans get an even better treat – two huge programmes, one in North America, and the other in the full FIA WEC, both with a pair of cars apiece, will come together for the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours.
If Ford’s plans come together we should see four of these extraordinary cars battling it out with their decades long racing rivals from Ferrari (who have their own new turbo-engined 488) Porsche, Aston Martin and Corvette
This could be the year when GT racing joins LMP1 in the headlines!

2 – Bigger Grid at Le Mans
2016 will see a bigger grid than ever before at the Le Mans 24 Hours as the ACO start a two year programme to build the grid to 60 cars.
This year will see a staging post towards that aim, 58 cars should start, after a maximum of 56 to this point.
OK we are going to have a couple off fewer factory cars than anticipated, economic pressures on Porsche and Audi and the withdrawal of the popular but underperforming Nissan effort have seen to that but the strength in depth across the world of endurance racing should see an astounding mix of prototype and GT cars in June, and with some new spectator viewing areas being installed at Indianapolis there could be some of the best views in years available.
More cars, more variety, Do not stay home in June!

3 – War at the Nurburgring
The Nurburgring 24 Hours is always a spectacle, but 2016 should be very special indeed.
Why?
Because it is one of the biggest races in Germany, and every significant German GT car manufacturer has brand new product to sell.
Audi debuted their new R8 last year and won, but now BMW (M6 GT3), Mercedes Benz (AMG GT3) and Porsche (911 GT3 R) all have new toys to field too, and in this market, both for marque prestige and bragging rights, and for car sales, nothing matters more.
It matters enough to Porsche that they have preferred preserving this programme to their WEC GTE effort in 2016 to mount a full house, two car all factory driver effort under the icily effective auspices of Olaf Manthey.
Add into the mix confirmed multi car factory efforts from both Aston Martin and Bentley, and more potential factory contenders too and this could be something truly spectacular.
And that’s before we have even mentioned the track, the biggest, baddest, most challenging and yes most dangerous road racing course on the planet.
Work has been done around the circuit to enable the organisers to lift the localised speed restrictions so now it is going to be about who has built the better GT3 weapon.
Multi car teams packed with factory drivers can be guaranteed – If you haven’t seen this race live then honestly what are you waiting for – This is THE year to go.

4 – The British Are Coming!
Moves in the close season to reshuffle the pack have left patriotic British sportswear racing fans with an embarrassment of riches.
In the FIA WEC there are likely to be no fewer than nine British factory drivers stretched across LMP1 (Oliver Jarvis at Audi, Anthony Davidson and Mike Conway at a resurgent Toyota) and GTE Pro (Ferrari: James Calado and Sam Bird, Ford Marino Franchitti and Andy Priaulx, Aston Martin Darren Turner and Jonny Adam)
Add to that little lot Oliver Gavin (Corvette), Richard Westbrook (Ford) and 2015 overall winner Nick Tandy (Porsche) for Le Mans, all in GTE Pro and by god there might just be some singing of the National Anthem for the podium!

And beyond those three there’s more to look forward to too.
The FIA WEC adds a ninth round with Mexico City joining the calendar. If that’s too rich for your travelling blood then the astonishingly entertaining European Le Mans Series has also added a race, up to six for 2016 as the Series visit Spa in October.
There are more opportunities than ever to see better endurance racing with better cars and better teams in more places than at any time in living memory – Go on, treat yourself, get off the couch and pick up the phone – I’ll see you in the paddock!

Graham Goodwin (www.dailysportscar.com)

FIA WEC 6 Hours of the Nurburgring

Home win for Porsche

Porsche claimed a 1–2 victory ahead of fellow German rivals Audi in the 4th round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) held at the famous Nurburgring this weekend. A large crowd of more than 62,000 race fans across the weekend witnessed the No. 17 Porsche driven by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley take the win ahead of their sister car and the No. 7 Audi.

Start of the FIA WEC 6 Hours of the Nurburgring

The Nurburgring’s 3 mile F1 circuit is relatively short and twisty compared to Le Mans, where these cars last went head to head, so traffic management was as much a key as straight line speed for all the prototype teams. At the start of the race the pole position Porsche (no. 18) with Neel Jani at the wheel took advantage of clean air to quickly build a 20 second lead at the front. The No. 17 Porsche pitted early with nose cone damage, that dropped them down the order, but they were quick to regain ground with Audi unable to capitalise.

Problems began for the leader on the 54th lap. A problem with an engine sensor caused the car to consume more fuel than officially allowed, so they were penalised with a series of stop and go penalties until the problem was sorted. Clearly it was not an easy problem to fix as 3 increasingly long penalties were awarded by race control, dropping the No. 18 Porsche down the field.

If evidence were needed that Toyota were a long way of the pace, even after the penalties the No. 18 Porsche rejoined in 4th place, behind the Audis and still ahead of the Toyotas. The battle was then on in the remaining hours for second place, with the two Audis being reeled in by the charging Porsche. Eventually the Audi’s could not defend their positions and with 45 minutes left on the clock Porsche regained their 1-2 al be it with the No. 17 car in the lead. This was how it finished with Porsche celebrating from the top 2 steps of the podium in front of their home crowd.

KCMGat the FIA WEC 6 Hours of the Nurburging

The LMP2 was dominated by the KCMG Oreca of Nick Tandy, Matt Howson and Richard Bradley. The started the race from pole and maintained that position throughout most of the race. A slow pit stop in the first half the race opened the door slightly for the 2 G-Drive Ligiers, but they couldn’t take advantage and eventually settled for second and third position in class.

GTE Pro field at the FIA WEC 6 Hours of the Nurburgring

There were lots of smiling faces on the Porsche fans at the Nurburgring as the German manufacturer secured another 1-2 in the GTE Pro class. The No. 91 car driven by Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz, claimed the win ahead of their No. 92 sister car. The 2 Porsches benefited from electrical troubles suffered by the championship leading AF Corse Ferrari (No. 51), that ground to a halt within 15 minutes of the start of the race. Although the car was recovered to the pits and did rejoin they were always laps down from the leaders. The sister Ferrari (No.71) did keep the fight going and despite some bodywork damage and a puncture managed to hold on and climbed the third spot on the podium.

SMP Racing Ferrari

The No. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari managed to build on their Le Mans win with another victory in the GTE Am class at the Nurburgring. They were pushed all the way by the No. 98 Aston Martin that eventually finished only 30 seconds behind in second place. These two cars traded the lead between them as they worked through their different race strategies but they were always ahead of the rest of the field. The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari claimed third spot, narrowly edging out the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche.

The FIA World Endurance Championship now moves away from Europe with the first stop being the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. That race will take place on the 19th September and we also expect the provisional 2016 calendar to be announced during the event.

Written by Richard Webb
Photography by Dailysportscar

Audi survive late scare to take win at Silverstone

Audi survive late scare to win at Silverstone

Sunshine and gusting winds greeted fans arriving at Silverstone on Sunday for the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. After the new team line ups and the national anthems on the grid before the start it was down to business for all the teams eager to start the season on a positive note.

Audi survive late scare to take win at Silverstone

Porsche had qualified on the front row and continued to show that pace as both cars pulled away from the chasing group. The opposite happened to the No. 7 Audi as Treluyer struggled to get the car off the line. Not only did he see the rest of the LMP1 grid disappear around the first corner, but he was then engulfed by the LMP2 runners as well. It could have been the surprise of the slow Audi that caused the new Strakka Racing Dome to immediately spin off in to the gravel, sending them to the very back.
Just six minutes in to the race the leading LMP1 cars were in traffic as they caught the back markers in the GTE field. The closing speeds were astonishing. The speed of the whole LMP1 grid was impressive throughout. The lap times were comparable with the middle of the F1 grid last year. Keeping in mind the weight of the cars, the fuel and the distance of the race, this was remarkable. Webber’s Porsche was particularly quick, pulling out a 10 second advantage on his team mate in second place. Behind them the battle between Audi and Toyota for third place saw them trading places in and out of Brooklands.

In the LMP2 field the KCMG car benefitted from a great start to take the lead in class, but within the first hour it was being chased down by the two orange and black G Drive Racing cars. Despite a valiant effort from Tandy at the wheel, he was passed on consecutive laps and the G Drive cars didn’t look back. The stricken Strakka Racing car, was recovering from the back and had a different view as it began to fight its way back through the congested field.
Aston Martin started at the front of the GTE Pro field and started well, initially holding off the challenge of Porsche, with Ferrari staying out of trouble and watching developments unfold in front of them. GTE Am was equally close with the sole Corvette getting ahead of the Porsche and the AF Corse Ferrari, with Aston Martins watching closely.

Audi survive late scare to take win at Silverstone

Things were to change beyond the first hour. The leading Porsche, with Webber at the wheel, was called to the pit lane and pushed back in to the garage. Unfortunately it was never to return, as a driveshaft failure curtailed their race, leaving a lone Porsche out front.
Audi’s double challenge was reduced shortly after Porsche. Following impact with a GTE Porsche at Becketts, the No. 8 Audi had to return to the garage for bodywork repairs. Time in the garage cost the car a lap, but the damage appeared a little more than cosmetic. The car never really recovered and continued to look unstable when it returned to the track. Their challenge was over.
At the front the battle was really just beginning. Over the period of more than an hour the remaining Audi and Porsche became locked in a tremendous battle. They were also briefly joined by the No. 1 Toyota as the pit stop strategy panned out. The lead constantly changed between the cars while Neel Jani and Marcel Fassler, expertly weaved their vehicles through the traffic. The Porsche was clearly able to pull away from the Audi along the straights, but it was quickly reeled in again by the Audi under passed under braking in to the corners. The battle continued for lap after lap, neither able to put any distance between themselves and their rival, despite different pit stop & tyre stinting strategies.

Eventually the No. 7 Audi managed to break the stranglehold and a gap appeared. The Porsche had to be careful as the chasing Toyotas double stinted the tyres bringing them back in to the mix. Toyota and Porsche both challenged the leader throughout the rest of the race, but neither could hold the lead for any length of time, and going in to the last hour the Audi continued to lead with a gap of almost 40 seconds.
The LMP2 race became a comfortable 1 -2 for the G-Drive Racing. Once they had passed the KCMG car they built a lead that could never be surpassed. The No. 26 car ahead of the sister Ligier. The battle behind them saw the fluorescent green Extreme Speed HPD car finish in the third podium spot, but they were later disqualified by the stewards for worn bodywork beneath the car. This meant a late promotion for the Strakka Racing Dome that had fought its way back from that initial spin at the first corner. A great effort from the home based team.

Audi survive late scare to take win at Silverstone

The GTE Pro race was more difficult to predict. The initial dominance of Aston Martin was undermined by a decision to pit under a full course yellow, setting their strategy off against the Porsche and Ferraris. The Manthey Porsche team looked strong but ultimately it was the experience of Bruni and Vilander that brought the AF Corse Ferrari home for the win.

Aston Martin had greater success in the GTE Am class, with the No. 98 car holding off the challenge of the Ferrari to win the class. The No. 50 Larbre Corvette could have mounted a challenge, but it sustained damage after a collision with an Audi and the resultant run across the gravel.

Audi survive late scare to win at Silverstone

Back at the front it was difficult to call a winner. Audi were ahead of Porsche who were in turn ahead of Toyota; a three way fight to the finish. The Audi built enough of a gap to enable them a splash and dash to the line, but the Porsche and Toyota were closing. Just as the Audi was coming in for that last stop, the stewards gave the Audi a stop/go penalty for overtaking squabbling GTE cars by taking all 4 wheels off the track. The Audi came back to the pitlane on their outlap and served the penalty to emerge just seconds ahead of the chasing Porsche. The gap now much reduced to just 8 seconds with 10 laps remaining.
In the last few laps the Toyota in third was catching the Porsche in second, who in turn was catching the leading Audi. The Porsche closed the gap to less than 8 seconds but just couldn’t catch the Audi. Fassler held on to give Audi the win and start the FIA WEC season on the top of the podium.
This was an incredible race, and sets up the next round at Spa perfectly. All three prototype challengers appear to have improved on last year’s model and there is clearly little to choose between them. This could be the best FIA World Endurance Championship season yet.

You can join us at the next 3 rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship. We have travel, tickets and camping options available for Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans and the Nurburgring. Call us now on 0844 873 0203 to reserve your place!

Olly Jarvis looks for home advantage

Olly Jarvis looks for home advantage

Olly Jarvis looks for home advantage

This weekend sees the return of the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the Six Hours of Silverstone. Although Audi were victorious at Le Mans, they finished the 2014 FIA WEC behind Toyota. That experience is not something they wish to repeat in 2015.

Much has changed at Audi over the winter season, with a different car and different driver line-ups for 2015. British driver Oliver Jarvis (a friend of Travel Destinations) has effectively taken the seat of Audi hero Tom Kristensen, but says that he is not feeling the pressure before the first race of the season.

Olly Jarvis looks for home advantage

Silverstone is Olly Jarvis’ home circuit. Despite this, much is new in the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC for the 31-year old professional racing driver.

He already knows the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, has contested five FIA WEC races, and has even mounted the podium at Le Mans. Nevertheless, everything will be different from April onwards. “Loïc Duval and Lucas di Grassi are my team mates for the first time and I contest a complete WEC season for Audi,” says Jarvis. “The benchmark for us are our team mates Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer in the number 7 Audi. The three of us want to be just as strong. We will have to complete a learning curve as a driver team. With this in mind, it’s a big advantage that we suit each other and have a similar way of working. During my preparation I work very closely with our race engineer Justin Taylor.”

Of all things, his home track is relatively new to the Briton. “I’ve only ever driven once on the current version of the track. I raced in the Blancpain Endurance Series here two years ago in the Audi R8 LMS ultra,” says Jarvis. “But it’s a big difference whether you drive here in a GT3 sportscar or now in a much faster LMP1 car. There are many fast corners that require a very committed driving style. Silverstone offers a real challenge as the first WEC race of the year.”

The opportunity to fight for a title in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro is also unusual. “Up until now, I had only driven in selected races. Now I have the entire WEC season on my calendar for the first time,” he states. “It’s important to start the season with a good result and to score as many points as possible. I still don’t know what to expect, but I’m confident after the WEC prologue at Le Castellet in March. Being able to contest the entire world championship means that a dream has come true for me.”

The anticipation for Oliver Jarvis’s home race increases daily. “Obviously my relatives and many friends will visit,” says the Briton. “My two team mates and I feel exceptionally well prepared. We see ourselves as a good, close team and want to have a successful weekend.” What exactly does this mean in facts and figures? “It would be fantastic to be on the podium.”
Following this weekend’s race at Silverstone, the FIA WEC moves on to Spa in Belgium, then Le Mans in France and the Nurburgring in Germany. If you would like to view the action live at any of these famous circuits, please call us now to book your travel and tickets.

Nissan win the Bathurst 12 Hours 2015

Nissan win another thriller at Bathurst

Nissan win another thriller at Bathurst

It is remarkable how many endurance races still come down to decisions made in the last few minutes of the race. Once again, the Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst didn’t disappoint. The 12 Hours of Bathurst came down to a 4 way shoot out for the podium places, with Nissan and driver Katsumasa Chiyo emerging victorious.

In a 12 hours race like Bathurst, strategy, fuel and tyres are often hurriedly recalculated as safety cars and yellow flag waving marshals interrupt proceedings. This year’s Bathurst 12 Hours had 20 safety car periods leading to seven different manufacturers claiming a share of the lead throughout the race.

Nissan win the Bathurst 12 Hours 2015

 

With around an hour to go, there were 5 cars, each from a different manufacturer on the lead lap with desires on a win. Some of these teams had already rolled the dice and were running low on fuel or worn rubber, but couldn’t afford another stop.

Going in to the final hour the lead was held by Matt Bell in the Bentley, closely followed by pole sitter Laurens Vanthoor in his Audi. A minute back in third was Katumasa Chiyo in a Nissan, with a Mercedes in fourth ahead of the Craft-Bamboo Aston Martin.

Tension was already building when another stoppage was called, when David Brabham’s Bentley was shunted in to the wall at the Cutting. Brabham was taken to hospital, but fortunately was later released with just a couple of broken ribs. But the rest of the field continued around the circuit until with less than 15 minutes remaining the green flag was waved again.

Audi at the Bathurst 12 Hours

The battle at the front was now a three way tussle, with Vanthoor’s Audi trying to pass Bell’s Bentley & Chiyo close behind watching with interest. Vanthoor tried a few times to pass the Bentley but Bell managed to hold on, if only just.

Perhaps the battle between the top two was all engrossing as with just a couple of laps remaining a risky manoeuvre by Chiyo in the Nissan managed to claim second place from the Audi, and then almost immediately managed to pass the Bentley for the lead.
Going in to the final lap, Chiyo’s Nissan managed to pull clear of the chasing pair, who continued to fight right to the end, but they in turn were now being caught by the Aston-Martin that had newer tyres and was flying.

Aston Martin at the Bathurst 12 Hours

 

With seconds remaining Vanthoor managed to pass the Bentley & although the Aston then passed him, he managed to reclaim second (after some contact) to take second. With the Aston Martin finishing second, it was disappointment for Bell & Bentley as they narrowly missed the podium after a great drive.

In the end it was Nismo Nissan GT-R who were celebrating as they stood at the top of the podium. The Audi R8 LMS Ultra of Phoenix Racing was second, and it was the Aston Martin Vantage of Craft Bamboo Racing that finished third. The top seven finishers were from seven different manufactures indicating the variety and class of this amazing race.

Bentley at the Bathurst 12 Hours

Congratulations to Nissan who have set the bar high for the rest of the year, and congratulations to the team at Mount Panorama for hosting another memorable Bathurst 12 Hours.

The whole Bathurst 12 Hours, plus practice and qualifying was called by our friends at Radio Show limited; the team behind Radio Le Mans. You can join them at next year’s race through our exclusive hotel & hospitality option that includes your own personal behind the scenes tour with John Hindhaugh and the team. Prices for the 2016 bathurst 12 Hours package will be published soon, but you can register your interest now to ensure you are the first in line! Email us your contact details now on info@traveldestinations.co.uk to learn more.

Written by Richard Webb
Photography by Dailysportscar

Return of the Le Mans Classic

Return of the Le Mans Classic

Le Mans Classic returns in 2016

The Le Mans Classic will return in 2016. At a press conference in Paris last night, Peter Auto, the organisation behind the Le Mans Classic, confirmed the dates for the next Le Mans Classic. The 8th – 10th July 2016 will see the famous Le Mans circuit host the most anticipated motorsport retrospective event in Europe. 2016 will see the 8th running of this prestigious event.

Le Mans Classic 2016

More than 110,000 spectators watched the last running of the event in 2014, and it is anticpated that 2016 will see an increase in that number. The Le Mans Classic features cars that raced at Le Mans between 1923 and 1979 & a strict scrutineering process means that only past Le Mans entrants are able to compete.

Divided in to 6 grids the cars race throughout the traditional 24 hours, with all cars racing both in the day and at night. Despite the age of the machinery taking part, these are not demonstration laps. All cars will be raced to win and gain the top step on the podium.

Travel Destinations have been the largest travel, ticket and accommodation supplier since its inception. 2016 will be no different. We already have a number of our products on sale via this website, including our on circuit options for those wanting to stay close to the action.

Travel Destinations will have 2 private trackside camping areas for the Le Mans Classic in 2016. Our Hunaudieres campsite is located on the inside of the Tertre Rouge corner. Our Porsche Curves campsite is also trackside South of the start/finish straight.

For those not wanting to pitch their own tent, then our Event Tents will proved a more luxurious option. This glamping option provides large bell tents with carpets, mattresses and all bedding. With tables and chairs also in the tent you can arrive in your classic or sports car and not worry about space.

If camping is not your thing, then we also have our Fleoxtel Village in the centre of the circuit. These pop-up hotel style cabins, provide private lockable bedrooms right next to your car. With proper beds and all bedlinen in a convenient location this accommodation solution has always been popular.

Finally we also have our hotels and camping options off circuit so that those that wish to stay off circuit also have a number of options. Hotel rooms for the Le Mans Classic will always be in high demand so it is advisable to book early.

Most prices are already available on this website & our reservations are now open for the Le Mans Classic 2016. To reserve your place please call us on 0844 873 0203 (UK) or +44 1707 329988 (International).

The Le Mans Classic 2016 promises to be bigger and better than ever, so make sure you are there to be part of it!

Chip Ganassi celebrate again at Daytona

Chip Ganassi celebrates at Daytona again

Chip Ganassi Racing’s “Star Car” lived up to its billing in the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona. With a lineup of IndyCar’s Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan joined by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, the No. 02 Target Ford EcoBoost/Riley prevailed in a hard-fought battle with Action Express Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing to win the opening round of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The race came down to a seven-minute, 30-second sprint to the finish, with Dixon holding off defending race winner Sebastien Bourdais by 2.267 seconds at the checkered flag.

The victory enabled McMurray to join A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win both the Daytona 500 and Rolex 24. Dixon won the Rolex 24 for the second time – winning in the Ganassi No. 02 in 2006 – while Kanaan and Larson joined McMurray in winning the event for the first time. It was Ganassi Racing’s sixth Rolex 24 triumph in 12 attempts.

“It takes a team of people, it takes a team of drivers,” car owner Chip Ganassi said. “I think the 01 car had a great team, as well. They had just as much of a shot.”

The race shaped up as a shootout between Dixon and Jordan Taylor. However, a miscalculation over the latter’s driving time brought the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP to the pits during the final caution. Ricky Taylor took over, served a penalty for pitting out of sequence and finished third, giving the team its third consecutive podium in the event.

Bourdais moved into second in the closing minutes but could not challenge Dixon, joining Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in giving the 2014-winning No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP a second-place finish.

The latter half of the race was a four-car, back-and-forth battle among the eventual top-three finishers and the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley of Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam throughout the final 12 hours. However, clutch problems with two hours, 30 minutes remaining dropped the No. 01 car from contention, ending Pruett’s bid to become the lone six-time overall winner of the Rolex 24.

Attrition thinned the Prototype field, with retirements including both Tequila Patrón ESM Honda HPD ARX entries and the two SpeedSource SKYACTIV Diesels, in addition to the Krohn Racing Ligier/Judd, DeltaWing DWC13, and Starworks Motorsport Dinan BMW/Riley.

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Takes PC Victory After CORE autosport Incident
Misfortune in the final hour of the race ended a dominant effort by CORE autosport in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, allowing the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Cuttwood/Spyder Orafol ORECA FLM09 to win with drivers Tom Kimber-Smith, Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich and Andrew Palmer.

Second, one lap down, was the pole-winning No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Autosport Designs/Top 1 Oil ORECA of Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos, Tomy Drissi, Brian Alder and Martin Plowman. The No. 54 CORE autosport Composite Resources/Flex-Box ORECA FLM09 of Ben Keating, Colin Braun, James Gue and Mark Wilkins held a multi-lap lead for much of the event. With 20 minutes remaining, Braun had contact with a Prototype and spun.

He returned to the circuit, only to spin at the exit of the chicane after experiencing suspension failure. The car then hit the wall and caught fire. The car completed enough laps to finish third in the class.

Corvette on the top step of the podium
A 24-hour race came down to a seven-and-a-half minute sprint to the checkered flag in the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona with the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R beating the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE from BMW Team RLL to the stripe by a mere 0.478 seconds. The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class win was Corvette Racing’s first class victory at the Rolex 24 since 2001.

It was a Corvette vs. BMW battle for much of the final quarter of the race with Antonio Garcia holding a comfortable lead in his Corvette over Dirk Werner’s BMW with 20 minutes remaining. That lead quickly evaporated, however, when Prototype Challenge (PC) class leader Colin Braun made contact with the wall coming out of the chicane on the backstretch forcing a full-course caution period. Werner closed the gap throughout the final six laps, but fell just short at the checkered flag with Garcia joining co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe in the victory.

“Every time you win here it’s very, very special,” Garcia said. “I’ve been chasing this victory since 2009, even if I won it back then. This is a very unique race. It’s the first race of the year, so it’s very difficult to be at 100 percent right away for the team and for the drivers. Everything ran perfect, and as Ryan (Briscoe) said, we just kept our nose clean, and I had the best car to fight on the last eight minutes of the race.”

Garcia won the Rolex 24 overall in 2009 for Brumos Racing. Corvette Racing did not compete at Daytona from 2002 through 2013 before joining the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for its inaugural 2014 season.

The No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R entry of Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Simon Pagenaud was in contention for the race win, but lost four laps after making contact with the No. 66 RG Racing BMW Dinan/Riley Prototype with three hours remaining and finished third.

No. 93 Viper Team Takes Emotional Victory in GT Daytona
The No. 93 TI Automotive/ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R and drivers Ben Keating, Al Carter, Dominik Farnbacher, Kuno Wittmer and Cameron Lawrence had the field covered for much of the Rolex 24 in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. They found a challenge from the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen, Andrew Davis and Shane van Gisbergen — the two cars combined to lead the final 209 laps of the race — but Farnbacher led the last 49 circuits en route to a 7.588 second victory.

“For everybody in the room and the fans and everybody, we’re not just weekend warriors that are weekend hires,” Wittmer said. “We’re family; we’re more than that. We’ve worked together since 2012, and some of us before that. Yeah, unfortunately our program got pulled, but I think it’s the cooperation of Ben Keating and Bill Riley and some others that were able to retain us family, keep us together and get it going.”

Hollywood actor and avid sports car racer Patrick Dempsey rounded out the top three in the No. 58 Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America co-driven by Madison Snow, Jan Heylen and Philipp Eng. The third-place finish matched Dempsey’s best career finish in the Rolex 24.

Le Mans 2014 prices are now available

Prices for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2015

Audi’s victory at Le Mans 2014 is already a distant memory for some & plans are under way for endurance racing fans to return to Le Mans in 2015. We have not been idle since the end of the race either, and we are now pleased to be able to confirm our exclusive offers for Le Mans 2015. We already have hundreds of provisional bookings & these will be confirmed in the coming the weeks. If you haven’t already begun your plans to be at Le Mans next June then let us help you!

 

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Travel Destinations is an official ticket agency for the Le Mans circuit. We can offer you the largest and best choice of tickets at the track and further afield. This is why we are confident that we have an offer here perfect for you. Travel Destinations continues to be the leader at Le Mans with our private camping area at Porsche Curves, our Event Tent (Glamping) options and our Flexotel Village cabins all on the circuit.

 

Travel Destinations at Porsche Curves
Travel Destinations was the 1st company to offer a private secure campsite for our customers at the Le Mans circuit. Over the years our private camping area, located trackside at the Porshe Curves, has grown and grown. There are lots of reasons why this campsite sells out each year with lots of repeat customers. Travel Destinations campsite at Porsche Curves has always been an oasis in the hectic few days that is Le Mans week. It has 24 hours security keeping you & your belongings safe, as well as fully serviced toilets & shower blocks. The on-site hospitality marquee serves good quality food and drinks to hundreds of our guests each night with big screen TVs show practice, qualifying and the race as well as other events throughout the weekend. The viewing bank to the back of the camping area is still one of the best places to view the action either day or night.

 

Find out more about Travel Destinations’ Porsche Curves campsite offers here.

 

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Travel Destinations’ Event Tents
Glamourous camping (Glamping) is very popular on the festival circuit, particularly in recent years. Travel Destinations were the first to bring glamping to the Le Mans 24hrs. Our Event Tents are large (5 metres) luxury bell tents that can sleep up to 4 adults in comfort. The tents are provided with full carpet and mattresses with sheets and duvets; so no sleeping bags are required. The tents have a table and chairs, rugs, door mats and solar powered lighting so all you really need to bring is your toothbrush and a change of clothes. Our Event Tents have the same facilities as our other campers at our Porsche Curves so 24 hours security and serviced toilets and shower blocks are on-site. You can now camp in comfort at Le Mans in one of our Event Tents!
Find out more about Travel Destinations’ Event Tents offers here.

 

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Travel Destinations’ Flexotel Village
The Flexotel business grew out of Holland. They were designed to provide on-site bedrooms at music festivals. Travel Destinations saw that they would be ideal at a 24hrs race & so broght the Flexotels to Le Mans. In the first year Travel Destinations provided 20 rooms. Last year this had grown to 200 rooms creating the largest hotel in the whole of Le Mans! The Flexotels allow you to have your own bedroom at the circuit. The rooms are lockable and can sleep 2 adults. The Flexotel rooms come with 2 beds and all the bed linen. The Flexotel Village is located in the centre of the circuit at Antares-Sud and has its own private paddock with 24 hours security (including space for parking), fully serviced showers & toilets as well as a hospitality marquee offering good quality food & drink all weekend. The Flexotel Village is within 10 minutes walking distance of the start/finish straight and with the tram stop only 2 minutes away, it is also very easy to get in to Le Mans town.
Find out more about Travel Destinations’ Flexotel Village offers here.

 

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Public camping at the circuit
Camping at the circuit has been a tradition for spectators at Le Mans since the race was first run back in 1923. The majority of the 250,000 spectators at the 2014 race camped at the circuit. Camping at the circuit is like camping at any music festival or event. The camping facilities are basic but the atmosphere around the campsites is always electric. There are 12 different public campsites run by the circuit at Le Mans. You will be able to find fans of every campsite, but there are always some camping areas that sell out quickly. Early bookers always benefit from the best choice of camping. Campsites such as Maison Blanche, Tertre Rouge & Houx do sell out early, but that doesn’t mean they are the best available. Our staff have all been to Le Mans and will be happy to help you find the right campsite for you when you call.
Find out more about our public camping offers here.

 

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For those that don’t wish to camp at the circuit, we have other options as well. Off-circuit campsites provide quieter & more relaxed environments for you and your tents, hotels enable you to stay alongside the teams and drivers and chateaux options provide a bit of French flare to your stay and are always popular. In addition to all these offers you can also add to your Le Mans experience with a choice of grandstand seats as well as full hospitality options.

 

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If you like what you have seen here, please call our reservations team to secure your place at Le Mans 2015. You can secure your booking with a deposit knowing that your tickets will be held for you until next year. Final balances will only be due at the end of March 2015.

 

Travel Destinations is proud to be the largest UK tour operator at Le Mans, but we also look after customers travelling from all around the world. This year we looked after the ticket & accommodation requirements of guests from as far away as the USA, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Japan & China.

 

Call our Le Mans reservations team now on 0844 873 0203 (UK) or +44 1707 329988 (International callers) to make your booking for Le Mans 2015.

Book your Le Mans 2015 tickets now!

Book your Le Mans 2015 tickets now!

The noise of engines from this year’s Le Mans 24 hours has only just stopped ringing in our ears, but already we are planning for Le Mans 2015!

 

There are lots of alterations being planned for around the circuit between now and June 2015 so it very important that you make sure that you book your tickets and travel for Le Mans 2015 as early as possible.

 

The dates for Le Mans 2015 have been set. The race will take place on the 13th & 14th June 2015.

 

We are taking provisional bookings for Le Mans 2015 now! We can then reserve the tickets & camping or accommodation that you want, to ensure you are first in the queue for the Le Mans 24 Houes 2015. There will be nothing to pay until the autumn, when prices are confirmed, so there is nothing to lose!

 

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To register your interest; please call us on 0844 873 0203 or email us at info@traveldestinations.co.uk. Please state your name, address, telephone number & what tickets, travel and accommodation you would like. Details of our 2014 offers will be left on this website to give you an idea of cost. All offers can be done with or without channel crossings from the UK.

 

Travel Destinations is an ABTA And ATOL bonded tour operator and is the largest UK operator to Le Mans. We look after an international guest list. This year we have looked after customers from the USA, South Africa, Australia, Japan, China, Argentina, Denmark, Holland, Spain & of course thousands from all over the UK.

 

Travel Destinations is an official ticket agency for the ACO & the Le Mans 24 Hours. We are also a commercial partner with Radio Le Mans, so by booking with us you are not only supporting Radio Le Mans but you will get the chance to meet them as well.

 

Follow us on Twitter @lemansrace & @TravelDest and like us on Facebook.
You can call us on 0844 873 0203 from the UK or +44 1707 329988 from elsewhere around the world.

 

We look forward to you joining us at Le Mans 2015!

Le Mans Classic 2014 on Sale now

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Le Mans Classic
4th – 6th July 2014

 

The Le Mans Classic returns to our calendar for 2014. This biennial event is the highlight for fans of historic motorsport around the world. More than 100,000 spectators will be trackside to view the Le Mans veterans go head to head on this famous track again.
The Le Mans Classic is a must for all fans of motorsport and we have the widest choice of travel, ticket and accommodation offers to enable you to enjoy the 2014 to the fullest.

 

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Over the years, our private trackside campsite at Hunaudieres (the inside of the Tertre Rouge Corner) has become the favourite home to many car clubs and individuals. It allows everyone to enjoy camping at the circuit with the added bonus of 24 hours security and superior facilities. The viewing bank is just metres from your camping pitch with spectacular views of the cars entering the Tertre Rouge corner and the start of the Mulsanne Straight.
We also offer the ACO run on-circuit campsites at Maison Blanche and Blue Nord. These are circuit run campsites allowing people to camp close to the action with basic toilet & shower facilities provided.
The best alternative for th those not inclined to camp is our Flexotel Village. This pop-up hotel provides bedrooms with proper beds, matresses and all bed linen in the centre of the circuit. You can park next to your room in our private area with 24 hours security and make use of our fully serviced showers and toilets and our hospitality marquee. The Flexotel Village has the envious bonus of being just a five minute walk from the Le Mans Classic paddock.

 

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For those not concerned about staying on circuit then we also offer a selection of off circuit campsites as well as hotels just a short drive from the circuit.
As with all Le Mans Classic events we will have our own car parking area for classic and sports cars in the centre of the circuit and we will be able to provide a selection of grandstand seats and circuit track laps for people booked through us.
To book any of these options please call us now on 0844 873 0203. All bookings can be secured with a deposit & final balances will not be due until April 2014.

 

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Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club Ireland Tour 2013

For this year’s Jaguar Enthusiast Club tour of Ireland (it was our eighth tour organised by Travel Destinations to this wonderful country) we travelled to the North West of the country to the beautiful county of Donegal, known by the locals as the forgotten area of Ireland. Our hotel was the 5 star Loch Eske Castle Hotel located just on the outskirts of Donegal City.

 

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Most of our members stayed on the Saturday night in the hotels near our departure port of Holyhead and several of us decided to stop en route to visit the railway station on Anglesey with the longest name for a photo shoot at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!!!.

 

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Our morning departure from Holyhead left on time and we enjoyed one of the smoothest crossings that I have ever had across to Dublin and soon we were driving along almost traffic free roads to our hotel in Donegal and that evening we had our traditional get together and BBQ. Most of our 43 members and their cars crossed over from Holyhead but one of our members and his wife arrived by helicopter, his MK2 being delivered to the hotel on Monday morning.

 

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Included in our itinerary where three road runs, planned by Richard from Travel Destinations, these taking us to all the interesting places which included Glenveagh Castle located in the Glenveagh National Park and a very interesting tour of the Slieve League Cliffs which are said to be the highest marine cliffs in Europe. Our tours also include stops for tea and scones and interesting pubs for lunch. In fact one of our members complained to me that the only problem with our tours was it was all eating and drinking which I am sure included many pints of Guinness. Well we were in Ireland.

 

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Wednesday evening is always our gala dinner night and accompanied by traditional Irish music which gave many of our members the chance to let their hair down and dance the night away and we rounded off the evening with the dance Strip the Willow led by our dance instructor Pat Holgate.

 

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Earlier in the day we had all the cars paraded round the front of the hotel for a photo shoot and thanks go to the members for their patience while we arrange the cars in order, along with two members I was allowed to climb up to the top of one of the turrets to take some stunning pictures of the cars below.

 

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Our last day in Donegal was spent taking a circular route through the Blue Stack Mountains and visiting some of the stunning beaches in the area. All too soon it was time to say goodbye to the staff at the hotel who had made our visit so enjoyable and make our way back to Dublin to take the Ferry back to Holyhead.

 

Thanks to Richard and the team at Travel Destinations for a great tour. Next year our tour takes us to Druids Glenn in County Wicklow and we look forward to meeting all of our members on another trip to the Emerald Isle.
Simon Cronin
Tours Director
Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club

Le Mans; So much more than 24 Hours

Le Mans is such a unique event. It is not just a race. In reality it is a week of events building up to the race itself. Whilst most people will miss the scrutineering that takes place in Le Mans town on the Sunday and Monday before the race, for teams and some spectators this will be when it all starts. It is one of the few times when each of the teams will gather together alongside their machinery providing an exclusive photo opportunity.

Tuesday is the lull before the storm at Le Mans, with the circuit eerily quiet, but the drivers’ autograph session in the paddock gives an opportunity for fans to meet their heroes.

Wednesday at Le Mans sees an increase in fan arrivals and it is the first time the cars take to the track during Le Mans week. Afternoon and evening practice gives fans their first glimpse of prototypes and GT cars doing what they do best. The atmosphere around the circuit visibly lifts with the engine noise around the circuit.

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Most people will arrive at the circuit during Thursday. Suddenly the numbers of tents on the campsites swell, and the spectators around the circuit quadruple as the cars take to the Le Mans circuit for afternoon and evening qualifying. This is when it gets serious out on the track. By the end of the night pole position will have been secured in all classes. The Le Mans 24 Hours will have truly begun.

There is no racing at Le Mans on the Friday of race week. Of course there will be more arrivals at the circuit increasing the numbers to more than 200,000 spectators, but there is also plenty to see and do. Friday has become known as “Mad Friday” as the large numbers of race fans entertain themselves in and around the campsites on circuit. Elsewhere on circuit the pit-lane is open for the first time and it will be difficult to move as thousands of spectators jostle for photographs in front of the garages. How much work is being undertaken in the garages depends on how successful qualifying was. Sometimes you can watch for hours as damage repair is rapidly undertaken in front of tens of thousands of interested eyes. Late Friday afternoon many of the crowds descend on Le Mans town for the traditional drivers’ parade. This carnival of marching bands & dancing majorettes includes each of the drivers being paraded through the streets of Le Mans in open top classic cars. Amazingly the drivers always appear relaxed, calm and willing to join in the party ahead of one of the greatest challenges of their life that awaits them the next day.

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Race day dawns on Saturday and whilst the 24 Hours doesn’t start until the afternoon there is plenty of action on the track before then. Invitational races and parades on the circuit are part of the build up including the annual “Le Mans Legends” race that features a particular era of cars that raced at Le Mans in years gone by. Despite the temptation to get some sleep before the 24 Hours it is always worth getting out of bed on Saturday morning.

And so the race begins. The crescendo of noise and expectation has been building for hours. The crowds are more than 20 deep in front of the grandstands on the start finish straight, the National anthems have played and now the green flag has been waved and they are off. Although this is ultimately an endurance race, it is also a sprint. The cars and their drivers will be racing flat out for the next 24 hours. If they can last until the end. It is a challenge for the spectators too. Where do you watch from and for how long? If you have booked a grandstand seat, then you may watch for an hour or so before wandering to Tertre Rouge of the Ford Chicane for a different perspective, returning to your seats to ease tired feet later in the race. It is also recommended to use the courtesy bus to get to the Mulsanne and Arnage corners. It is too far to walk and the traffic can be heavy, so let the bus take the strain. If you need a break from the racing, then up by the Dunlop Bridge pop and rock bands will be competing with the cars in decibel levels.

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By late evening the temperature will be dropping and so will the crowd numbers in the grandstands and around the rest of the circuit. People have started to drift away from trackside, as the smells of barbecues and grills tempt them away. Dusk shouldn’t be overlooked by those with cameras, the change in light can provide for some of the best pictures. Once full darkness has descended the race feels like it has entered a new stage. The lights from the fairground can be seen for miles and the views from the top of the big wheel are spectacular. Whilst some people will try to get some sleep in their tents at the circuit, others will try and stay up all night. Those that fail are often found the next morning, asleep on the grass at their favourite viewing spot.

Sleep is not an option for the teams, although the drivers may get a few hours to lie down whilst their team mates continue the fight. The same is happening in the media centre where journalists hunch over their computers as they write their continuous updates. Alongside them the Radio Le Mans team will keep broadcasting. They cover every minute of the race and what went before it. Their descriptions of the action and their hourly updates are followed avidly by both spectators and teams alike. They are the voice of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

 

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As the daylight returns over the horizon, the cool air and better visibility enables the cars to hit their peak speeds, providing the track is free from damp. Those spectators that got a few hours sleep are now clutching cups of coffee as they catch up on the night’s events. Some will awake to the good news that their favourite team are still in the chase. Others will be disappointed at the garage door being lowered on their hopes for another year. However, there is still a long way to go. Drivers often report of the smell of frying bacon as they manoeuvre through the Porsche Curves in the morning. A cooked breakfast will have to wait for those drivers in the cockpit.

The final few hours can be tense. In recent years the distance between first and second at the chequered flag has been small compared to the time on track and the distance travelled. In a few occasions the time of a pit stop has separated the winners from the runners up. Again the excitement builds as the last hour ticks slowly bar. Perhaps the longest hour of the race for the leading team. Finally as the clock ticks round to 3pm again the chequered flag is waved and the celebrations begin. Crowds flow on to the start finish straight as the remaining cars funnel back to the pit lane. Being part of the jubilant crowd as the winning team is crowned is something that will never be forgotten.

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And ever so quickly it is over. The hole that is left as the racing finishes is tangible. Spectators begin to return to pack up their tents, or catch up on that missed sleep. There will be a few after race parties happening on the infield campsites Sunday evening, but Le Mans itself will already be preparing for normality come Sunday night. Monday morning in Le Mans really feels like the morning after the weekend before. New friends say goodbye to new friends knowing that they will be meeting again, same time same place next year.

Le Mans is so much more than a 24 Hours race.

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Race day at Sebring

Race day at Sebring

At 9am on Saturday morning we found ourselves standing just over the pit wall on the track next to the Audis and Peugeots. It is Sebring tradition that before the race (which starts at 10:30am) all the cars are lined up along the grid and the public are allowed to wander amongst them and get up real close. Mechanics and support staff are present too, so you can ask questions and take all the photos that you want.

I must warn you though, the grid walk is popular and getting from car to car can be difficult in such tightly packed crowds. However it is well worth it. If you didn’t feel part of the Sebring 12 hours before, you really do now. I am not really one to name drop, but as I walked along the pit wall taking photos, I quite literally, bumped into Dr. Ullrich, the head of Audi Motorsport. Of course I shook his hand, explained that I was from the UK and wished him the best of British Luck. He was very relaxed and enjoying the atmosphere on the Sebring circuit too, so was happy to chat about Audi’s hopes for the season. The new R18 car is being tested at Sebring after the race and will be more than ready for the next round of the ILMC at Spa apparently. Peugeot you have been warned.

Fifteen minutes before the start the grid was cleared and we took up are viewing positions for the race proper. Don’t worry I am not going to bore you with detail about what happened, when it happened and whose fault it was here. I will leave that for others to do. I can tell you though, over the course of the next 12 hours, we were able to walk to all corners of the circuit and usually the viewing is unhindered by large fences and other obstacles.

Sebring has a great reputation as a circuit for race fans and I can understand why. We must have walked every inch of the 3.7 mile circuit (there are courtesy shuttles if you don’t want to walk) and taken decent photos of every car. My favourite section has to be from turn 6 right around to turn 13. A walkway, named “Sebring Boulevard” takes you between the campers and the track all around the area known as Green Park. Not only do you get unobstructed views of the race along this stretch, but you also get to see the best that the Sebring race fans can produce in the form of campsites and self made viewing platforms around the edge. Spectators around at turn 10 were treated to a row of intricate campsites set up over the last few days, including everything from 10 feet scaffold towers, to wild west style ranch complete with fish tank and chicken coop (?). Le Mans fans, the bar has been raised this year!

 

In Sebring

In Sebring

Driving down Highway 27 from Orlando, it soon becomes clear that somehing is going on. First you see a couple of Corvettes on the road, then a few Porsches. RVs are everywhere in this part of Florida anyway at this time of year but there is a definite concentration around Sebring this week.

It is expected that 100,000 people will descend on the town of Sebring for this weekends race, and 2 of them will be from Travel Destinations. Andy and myself (Richard) are here in the USA to meet with hotels, race officials and members of the media to add to our programme for this race.

This year is the first year that we are offering travel, ticket and accommodation offers for Sebring, but we hope that we will be able to offer more and more in the year’s to come.

We arrived in Sebring on Tuesday night, but come sunrise on Wednesday it was obvious we were in a special place. We are staying at the Majestic Cove Condos which are lakeside in downtown Sebring, just 10 minutes from the track. Having breakfast on the balcony watching the sunrise, it was difficult to justify why we live in London at this time of year. It is beautiful here.

The weather is hot. At the track temperatures have been near 30 degrees centigrade. This causes problems for drivers and spectators alike as there isn’t much shade at the track. There are some trees on the infield but they have been claimed by the first race fans to arrive at the circuit when the gates first opened.

The similarities between Sebring and Le Mans are everywhere.

At the track in Sebring

I mentioned earlier that there are plenty of similarities between Le Mans and Sebring. Well that is true. However their are just as many differences.

The atmosphere at the circuit here in Sebring is electric. There is always something going on. Perhaps the biggest difference between here and Le Mans is the access that all race fans get.

The paddock area is open to all. If you want to watch the Peugeot or Audi guys working on their cars then just pop by, park yourself outside their garage and watch. The paddock area stretches the length of the back straight and (I timed this) takes 10 minutes just to walk from one end to the next.

If you want to get up close with the drivers then you can do that to. Today all the drivers will be in the paddock for an autograph session and to meet with all race fans. However, be careful you don’t get too close! Yesterday I found myself in the toilets standing next to Allan McNish. We nodded an aknowledgement, but didn’t shake hands!

For a more informal meeting with your race heroes, we are pleased to be able to offer all our customers access to race team caterers in the paddock at next year’s race. All our customers will receive a pass to get in to the hospitality marquee adjacent to the paddock. In 15 minutes yesterday I counted 20 drivers stop by for a meal (including 2 Le Mans winners) and there were race team mechanics and staff on every table around us.

It was great to spend some time yesterday with Eve from Radio Le Mans and with Graham Goodwin from Daily Sports Car. We will be announcing some new and exciting developments with our friends very soon.

More from our lady In Daytona

Friday 28th January 2011

Well this place just gets better and better! Sorry to rub it in but the sun is still shining and hotting up!

After a bit of chasing around and getting people where they needed to be, the morning has been  a huge success.

All our customers were offered the opportunity to visit the Sprint Tower suites this morning and the control tower. This is where what’s happening on the track gets transferred to the people on the ground – the heart centre of the race.

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So after the obligatory coffee and doughnuts and a privileged insight into the technical competitive side of this event from Mark Raffauf, the Grand Am director of competition, a trip to the roof of the sprint tower was the highlight – a bird’s eye view of the whole track – truly an amazing sight!!

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Back down in the garages all seems to be going well with practices – more people today and plenty more action.  Don’t have a press pass so am sat in the Sprint Fanzone, with a Bud (Light, of course), pretending to look like I’m working hard!

So I managed to blag my way onto a garage tour which was led by Robin Liddell, who this year is driving for Stevenson Motorsport (car 57).  It’s his 8th race at Daytona so he was well qualified to educate even the most ignorant of race goers – just like me.

Needless to say I glazed over when it started getting too ‘techie’, but we bumped into Hurley Hayward, who despite retiring from racing last year, just can’t stay away from the Daytona Speedway. He’ll be in car 59 for Brumos Racing.

My tip for one to watch – Magnus Racing, car 44.
You heard it here first.

H.

Further along the Pacific Coast

I woke up this morning to the strange collective sound of about 30 wild turkeys!  Ugly things really but can’t help feeling sorry for them – Thanksgiving soon comes round.

I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been with the weather here and everybody I meet tells me so – apparently I should be wearing gloves and a hat instead of shorts and t-shirt.  It gets a bit chilly at night though. At the Ranch there is absolutely no ambient light – they are very sensitive around here to uplighting, so there is an opportunity to star gaze in the true sense of the word – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many stars.  It’s a pity I don’t know my Orion from my Big Dipper!

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After a leisurely breakfast I decided to take a drive down into Carmel and a have a good nose around at the multi-million pound houses that look like they’d blow over in a small breeze, before going back to Carmel Valley Ranch for a guided tour.  Although this place has a very nice golf course, they can’t compete with the courses down in pebble Beach – and at $500 a round at Pebble Beach who would want to?
So in order to make this facility more than just a golf course they offer various educational classes – cooking, bee-keeping, organic farming, guided tours as well as fitness classes and lesiure facilities.  Sounds like Butlins?  Believe me it’s far from it – shame I’m not staying longer.

H.

Thursday 3rd February 2011

Time to leave the Carmel Valley Ranch, it’s wildlife, tranquility (and fabulous infinity pool overlooking the links), and head to the other end of the scale – Laguna Seca Raceway. Set high up in the hills in a National Park, this track is like most race tracks when there is no event – pretty desolate – but the scenery and views up here are stunning.

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I am really here in Monterey and Carmel for two reasons – the Pebble Beach Concourse and the racing events at the track such as the Moto GP and the American Le Mans Series.  All good so far, so keep an eye on our website www.traveldestinations.co.uk to see whats happening.

After being driven round the track at a very ladylike pace by the lovely Jeannie, (which was a bit of a relief really as the corkscrew is a 10 storey drop!), I head back to Monterey for what I can only describe as the best steak I’ve had in along time.  Can’t remeber the name of the place but will get back to you on that!

H

Saturday 6th Feb

Well my job here in Monterey and Carmel is pretty much done.
Travel Destinations are now able to get you here, book you a nice hotel, get you to the Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Laguna Seca.

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But I couldn’t leave here without fulfilling my duty completely – after all, when you call the office to book, we need to be able to tell you about the area and what you can do here, so purely  for ‘educational purposes’, I took a drive down the coast from Monterey to Big Sur.  For some reason I always thought Big Sur was ‘surfers paradise’ – but is in fact walkers, hikers, twitchers, nature lovers and campers paradise. Needless to say I didn’t do any of those things, however just cruising along the coast I was extremely privileged to see a pair of Californian Condors, which I am led to believe are extremely rare, whales migrating south along the coast, sea otters, seals, sea-lions and a humming bird  – all in one day.  Just amazing to see all of these animals in their natural habitat.  For some though their natural habitat is dwindling, so I also took a trip to the Monterey Aquarium which is highly educational and a wonderful opportunity to see many creatures of the deep close up.

I am now off to San Francisco for a few days holiday. I know, I know – it sounds like I’ve been on holiday all week!

Have a nice day now y’all and come back real soon.

On the Pacific Highway

On the Pacific Highway

Tuesday 1st February 2011

After getting up extremely early in Florida this morning for a six hour flight west,  it is still only 9.30am and I’ve already had breakfast and lunch!!

I am now driving down the Pacific Highway in California and it is beautiful. Although I have never been here before I have been having a bit of ‘deja vu’ –  the smells of eucalyptus and pine trees,  the rugged  coast, crashing waves, the low rise hills and peaks – It reminded me a bit of the northern coast of Spain (except they don’t have bobcats in Spain;  wandering through a field next to the road without a care in the world – a beautiful animal).

I decided to stop in Santa Cruz for lunch (and unfortunately a parking ticket!). It is an interesting town – part hippy, part surf dude, part Art Deco, but with a really nice atmosphere to it.

Further along the road I got to see more sandy beaches, more crashing waves and more artichoke fields(!) until I arrived at what I can only describe as pure bliss and serenity – the Carmel Valley Ranch.  This where our customers  will spend their time for the Pebble Beach Concours in August.  All of the rooms are actually suites and almost like individual houses –  Brand new, shiny and luxurious – with wild deer walking around outside beneath the balcony!  Can you imagine – sitting on the balcony and a family of deer walk past?  Serene and surreal.

There is a fantastic golf course here at the Carmel Valley Ranch but they aren’t likely to let the unskilled likes of me loose on it. I think will stick to their yoga class. Om Shanti.

Race Day at Daytona

Saturday 29th January 2011

What an amazing day!

I got to the track early this morning for our customers to get their hotlaps.  The incredible Hurley Haywood was their hotlap driver in a very nice Porsche Panamera.  Bit chunky for the track I hear you say?  Apparently not!

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I am still amazed at the spectator access for this event – bearing in mind the teams and mechanics are about to be involved in a pretty big event in a few hours time, there are fans wandering in and out of the garages asking questions, getting in the way and the guys just take it all in their stride.  Hats off to them.

After a bit of sight-seeing (did I mention Patrick Dempsey was here?) there was a mass exodus from the garage area and at 2.15pm as the cars were pushed out onto the pitlane to a big fanfare and marching band, followed by the drivers.

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This is what people have been waiting for – anybody and everybody on the track, lying down on the brand new smooth 31 degree tarmac, mingling amongst the cars, chatting to the drivers, – my mate JPM (Juan Pablo Montoya for those not in the know!), the very talented and not sure quite what to make of it all, Ross Kaiser – (best of luck to Ross)  and so many more familiar and very famous drivers in their own right – just there.  Unbelievable – I mean, it’s not as if they have anything else to do an hour before the race.

Then at 3.30pm – the first rev.  Wow! Difficult to put into words actually – just a fantastic experience.

Just loving it!

H

Autosport International show 2011

Held at the NEC since 1991, Autosport International has been widely regarded as the World’s Greatest Motorsport Show. Running from the 13th – 16th of January 2011, this annual pre-season event covers all areas of motorsport, both professional and grass roots, from Karting up to Formula 1.

Once again the Travel Destinations team will be exhibiting at Autosport International. We will have special guest visits throughout the show, as well as the usual videos, displays and discussion.

Come and see us on stand 6610 and pick up a copy of our 2011 Tours and Events brochure. Tickets are available now from the Autosport International website.

If you can’t make it to the show, order your brochure on this website by clicking the button on the right hand side of this page

The Classic Motor Show

The Classic Motor Show took place at the NEC, Birmingham from the 12th – 14th November and as always the Travel Destinations team were all present on our stand next to the main entrance in Hall 4. This show is often described as the last car event of the season, and for many it is, but for us it really is the beginning of next season. Over the years the Classic Motor Show has been the show at which we launch our new tours and events brochure for the following year. The 2010 show was no exception with the launch of our 2011 Tours and Events brochure alongside the official launch of our re-designed website www.traveldestinations.co.uk, of which this blog is a part.

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Shows of this scale are always a big undertaking for companies like us, as staff, stands, audio and visual equipment and of course the new brochure are transported from the office to the NEC. Setting up on Thursday evening gives particpants a chance to wander the show without the crowds and take in a few of the exceptional car exhibits up close. A quick tip for all exhibitors here, get the number of a good local pizza delivery company, so that you can have pizza delivered while setting up! You will soon find that your exhibiting neighbours are good friends!

Friday was very busy on the Travel Destinations stand and it set the tone for the rest of the weekend. It is always good to be approached by a new customer for more information on Le Mans, the Nurburgring or Spa. Even better if they are returning customer wanting to something again with you. Friday was a day full of these people, with many car club members and motorsport fans popping by to say hello and pick up the new brochure.

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Of course we had lots of new things to talk about for 2011. The 24 hours of Le Mans is always the favourite, but other endurance races are now also getting a look in. The Nurburgring 24 is clearly going to be a popular event, and Spa 24 will not be far behind. We already have quite a few bookings for Florida next year, particularly for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and a few now for the American Le Mans Series opener at Sebring.

For historic motor racing fans looking for a 2011 event in the absence of the Le Mans Classic, the offers to the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nurburgring and the new Spa Classic have shown lots of early interest. The Oltimer Grand Prix will be helping celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type in 2011 so will no doubt attract a large British audience, and the brand new Spa Classic is going to be a hit. It was great to see the race organisers spending some time on our stand on Saturday.

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So what is my personal recommendation for a must do in 2011?
Of course I would like to do everything, but after the success of the driving experience at the Nurburgring in 2010, then I will be first in the queue for 2011. If you like to drive your car then you will love this event. Taking your car on to the skid pan at the professional driving school for one to one tuition from a local racing driver, before experiencing the Nordschleife in the hands of driver from one of the local test centres. It is an amazing weekend, but don’t take my word for it; one of our customers has already contributed to this blog.

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So the Classic Motor Show was a great weekend. If you came by to see us, thank you, it was great to see you. If you missed us or couldn’t make the show, then we are returning to the NEC in January for the Autosport show (Stand 6610) so please do come along.

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An experience of the Nurburgring

After another of our group returned from our “Nurburgring Drivers Experience” we received the following letter.
We don’t often publish this sort of thing, but we thought you might like to know how our customers got on:

Dear Richard and Ben,

Just a quick note to thank you for our Nurburgring Experience this weekend.
As you would have been aware the experience was a gift to me from my wife Anne, after she decided to treat me to a trip where I could take my Austin Healey around the Nordschleife.

The help and advice your company gave me right from the outset was invaluable; as my choice of car for the event was a 1964 Austin Healey 3000, I was delighted with the enthusiasm you expressed at me choosing to bring a more aged vehicle; especially as we were to be by far the oldest and potentially slowest on the event that weekend.

The trip through Europe to the hotel was a real pleasure, your recommended choice of route was excellent; particularly when I compare it to the Satnav route I chose to follow on the return home! We did take the opportunity of stopping at Monschau as advised; it was a beautiful small town tucked out of the way and the perfect place for a bite to eat and a stretch of the legs for an hour or so.

As we neared close to the Nordschleife at 5.30 on the Friday evening, we took the opportunity to call in and see the track. Once there the atmosphere was so electric and contagious we could not resist the chance of taking the Healey around the famed 20km. The blast around the Nordschleife will go down on my list of “must things to do” for anyone with even a drop of petrol in their blood. With the roof down and Anne shrieking words of encouragement beside me, we flew around the track with all my dreams of racing glory coming true around me, albeit we were overtaken by every Porsche, BMW and motorbike in the Eifel region it was still a wonderful experience.

Once we had calmed down and reduced the size of the ecstatic smiles on our faces, we made our way to the hotel.
This was such a good choice, set in a beautiful location away from the hustle and bustle of the day. It was great to feel that we were staying in a family run German hotel as opposed the standard branded hotel that we all know from our trips to any major town or city.

As I had now completed all my personal goals for the weekend; a pleasant drive through three countries, lunch in a beautiful old town, dinner with a few beers in nice hotel and most importantly a first lap of the Nordschleife, I was totally open minded as to how the rest of the trip could go.

But please may I thank both of you for the organisation and the Nurburgring for providing a truly amazing day on the Saturday, the skid pan training and road exercises were brilliant. This day was way beyond my expectations, the level of tuition by Wolfgang Kauffman our instructor for the day was suburb. The endless encouragement and enthusiasm put into the day’s activities was above and beyond anything I have experienced in the UK. The day was perfectly split into the differing activities and was the perfect match of being both hugely informative; learning the capabilities of your own cars performance and handling, as well as being above all else massively good entertainment. To have the opportunity to push my both myself and car to the limits and above in such a well set up safe environment was tremendous. Please pass on our thanks to Wolfgang, the attention he gave to each car was exceptional and his advice and witty remarks helped make for a wonderful day.

Your company and humour on the Saturday evening made the tour dinner go with suitable aplomb and the hotel’s service and food where to a very high standard. The Sunday’s tour of the Jaguar  Test Centre was a nice end to the weekend with the lap of the Nordschleife in the hands of their test driver being a truly awe inspiring and humbling experience. Your efforts at ensuring that we got back to our car in order for us to make a reasonably timed get away were much appreciated.

Once again may I thank you both for a fantastic trip to Nurburgring, which I shall be recommending to everyone as an absolutely unmissable experience in whatever car you may have.

Many Thanks

David and Anne Jones

If you would like to experience a weekend at the Nurburgring please call us on (0844) 873 0203. Due to the amount of one to one tuition given spaces are strictly limited, so please book early to avoid disappointement.