Historic racing event organiser Peter Auto, has announced that the 2021 edition of the Le Mans Classic in July has been postponed to 2022 and will now run from June 30th to July 3rd* next year.
The decision has been made in light of the current health guidelines in France which would prevent it from hosting the event with a large crowd and all its usual fan-facing activities. By pushing the event back a year Peter Auto hopes to put on a spectacular show in 2022.
It has also confirmed that it will hold the Le Mans Classic on two consecutive years for the first time as a result of this change, with a 2023 event now scheduled too. This allows Peter Auto to hold the Le Mans Classic on the centenary year for the Le Mans 24 Hours and add to the celebrations and festivities the ACO is planning for the 24 Hours proper in June 2023.
“The maximum figures of people imposed by the government do not allow us to maintain this event on the initial dates (July 1 to 4, 2021),” said Patrick Peter, head of Peter Auto. “Moreover, even though it had been considered, a Le Mans Classic without fans would not do justice to this event and would considerably reduce the beautiful tribute to the great history of endurance. A Le Mans Classic without the public, without exhibitors and without car clubs is not the Le Mans Classic.
“We will nevertheless meet again in August during the 24 Hours Le Mans race week, with the presence of Endurance Racing Legends cars as the support race. Enthusiasts will have two successive years of Le Mans Classic since we will do another edition in 2023 which will be an opportunity to reinforce the tribute to the centenary of creation of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, added: “Organising Le Mans Classic behind closed doors would not make any sense. This event is made for the public, and the lack of visibility on the current situation generates this logical decision.
“This event loved by all enthusiasts will be held in 2022, before a return in 2023 for a centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans which promises to be exceptional.”
Anyone who has a booking with Travel Destinations for the 2021 Le Mans Classic will be contacted individually in due course by email and phone to discuss options.We would therefore request that you refrain from contacting us to ask about the status of your bookingat this time.
The Travel Destinations team would like to thank you for your patience, loyalty and understanding and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.
*2022 dates currently provisional and subject to ratification. The event may be moved to the second weekend in July if the date of the Le Mans 24 Hours falls a week later than usual. Confirmation is expected in September.
The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign hasn’t even begun and already excitement is building for the 2022 season. The past few months have been packed with positive sportscar racing news, with Toyota revealing its GR010 HYBRID Hypercar, Porsche, Audi and Acura all committing to the LMDh formula and Glickenhaus and Alpine revealing their Le Mans Hypercar class driver squads for the upcoming season.
After a steady stream of news from the aforementioned collection of OEMs almost weekly since last November, today it was Peugeot’s turn to make the headlines with more information concerning its 2022 Le Mans Hypercar effort.
The French marque, which is returning to the Le Mans 24 Hours after a decade-long hiatus, has revealed more information about the status of its new chassis and named a roster of seven drivers for the 2022 season.
Let’s take a look at the most important aspect first: the car itself. Peugeot has opted to create a Le Mans Hypercar because it allows a greater level of aerodynamic and philosophical freedom than IMSA’s forthcoming top class LMDh platform (which is eligible to compete with Le Mans Hypercar under a converged set of rules).
The car will be powered by a 2.6-litre bi-turbo engine, which will produce up to 680 horse power. The ICE will be assisted by a battery co-designed with partner company TOTAL, which will add an additional 200kw boost from harvested energy to the front wheels when traveling in a straight line, making the car (part-time) four-wheel-drive.
Jean Marc Finot, theDirector of Stellantis Motorsport, says the car will be “100% a Peugeot Sport car, with our DNA. The regulations give us a lot of freedom in the design. You will be able to recognise the hypercar as a true Peugeot.”
Behind the scenes, the design and manufacturing processes appears to be on schedule. Despite the clear potential for the sort of delays, hiccups and general issues that can hinder every race car’s inception, Peugeot believes it is on track to get the car out testing before the end of the year, therefore giving the team ample time to prepare for the 2022 season opener which is likely to be at Sebring in March.
“We are going to build the first engine in the next few weeks and hope to put it on the engine dyne before the end of April,” says Olivier Jansonnie, Peugeot Sport’s technical director. “We will then test the front electrical engine on our rig and put the front and rear together on our four-wheel-drive dyno in November.
“As for the aero development. The brand styling elements was the most challenging thing, as well as meeting the required performance levels to cater for the Balance of Performance regulations. We know what the car is going to look like. We have to go into the details and deliver the design and release everything for production at Summer time.”
Simulation work has also begun, and that’s where the input of Peugeot’s new driver crew comes in. After conducting a lengthy study, and whittling down a huge list of potential drivers from “50 to 12”, Peugeot has settled on a diverse driving crew featuring youth and experience, from sportscar racing, Formula One and beyond.
Perhaps the most high-profile signing is Kevin Magnussen, fresh from his debut in sportscar racing at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona last month (below) in the wake of his departure from Formula One.
Magnussen brings both credibility, marketability and heritage to the programme. He’s a rapid driver, with an extremely high ceiling, who has experience of operating at the pinnacle of motorsport for the likes of McLaren and Haas’ F1 teams.
But his surname is, and always will be, etched in sportscar racing lore. This is thanks to his ultra-successful father Jan Magnussen, who after a brief foray in Formula One himself in the late 90s, went on to forge a lengthy career as a Corvette Racing factory driver, picking up multiple Le Mans 24 Hours class wins, countless trophies from major sportscar races in the USA, and multiple titles along the way. Though he no longer races for Corvette full time, he is still very much involved in sportscar racing, and will take to the FIA WEC grid this year with Danish outfit High Class Racing in LMP2.
“I’m so happy for Kevin to have this opportunity with Peugeot, they have a great history at Le Mans,” Jan Magnussen told Travel Destinations. “He’s in for a fantastic time and he has a chance to reach his own personal goal of fighting for victory at Le Mans. He really enjoyed Daytona, it was fantastic for him, he was in the fight until the last 10 minutes. He’s super happy with where he is, an is loving his time with sportscars and Ganassi Racing so far.
“This on top of it too is fantastic. He’s quick to adapt, he’s done it his whole career, this will be no different. The Peugeot is going to be a sophisticated car, they’re going all in. I have no doubts he’ll be fast when the time comes!”
Wouldn’t it be something to see both father and son challenge for Le Mans different class wins in different in the same race next year?
As for the rest of the squad, young gun (and fellow Dane) Mikkel Jensen joins Magnussen, along with former Audi LMP1 ace (and Le Mans winner) Loic Duval, multiple Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne, LMP1 stalwart Gustavo Menezes, former F1 and DTM driver Paul Di Resta. Japanese Super GT specialist James Rossiter has also been named as a seventh member, though he will act as a test/reserve driver.
“This line-up is stacked, when I saw it I was shocked,” Menezes told Travel Destinations. “Peugeot is a giant in the automotive field, and it is making giant moves in motorsport with this line-up. We’re all eager to get behind the wheel later this year, it is going to be a busy fall and winter for all of us!”
This selection is a real statement of intent for Peugeot. Beating factory efforts from the likes of Toyota, Alpine (assuming it continues in LMH beyond 2021) and eventually Porsche and Audi, will be extremely tough. But the French brand knows what it takes to win Le Mans, and will hope that its work today is laying the foundations for a fourth overall victory at La Sarthe and an FIA World Championship title to boot.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Sarthe Prefecture have announced that the 2020 running of the Le Mans 24 Hours will be held without spectators in September.
Prior to today’s announcement multiple solutions had been explored to allow a capped number of fans to attend the race during the current COVID-19 situation, including a zone system which would have split the fans track-side into 10 areas. However, after lengthy discussions with the public health and safety authorities the ACO and the Sarthe Prefecture decided that the best move was to run the event without fans.
“The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans will go down in the annals of history as, sadly, the world’s greatest endurance race will be run this year with no spectators trackside,” Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest commented.
“Over the last few weeks, we have looked at many ways in which we could hold our event in September with fans present, albeit in limited numbers. However, given the constraints involved in organising a festival-scale event over several days in the current situation, we have opted with the local government authorities to hold the race behind closed doors. There were still too many question marks regarding health and safety.
“We know that our fans will be as disappointed as we are by this decision but, with public health in the balance, it really wasn’t a difficult call to make. You don’t compromise where safety is concerned.
“Fans will not miss out altogether. They may not be at Le Mans, but our media teams and service providers will bring Le Mans to them! We are sure that we can count on everyone’s support and understanding at this time.”
Anyone with an existing booking with Travel Destinations to attend the Le Mans 24 Hours this September will be contacted directly by a member of the team to discuss the available options in the next few days.
The 2021 calendar of historic races by Peter Auto has been released, featuring nine events across the year. With Travel Destinations you can book a travel package and be there to experience the highlights with trips to the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or and the 10th running of both the Spa and Le Mans Classic all now on sale.
The 10th staging of Le Mans Classic is no doubt the centre-piece of the year for Peter Auto. The 2021 running will be held on July 1st to 4th, and promises to be bigger and better than ever. As usual, a selection of grids featuring iconic cars from Le Mans history racing day and night on the full Circuit de la Sarthe.
Before that though, over in Belgium during May (14th – 16th), the Spa Classic returns. It is another increasingly popular event for fans, during with a wide variety of historic machinery hit the challenging Ardennes circuit.
Then, a month later in France, the 56th edition of the Grand Prix de L’Age d’Or will take place at Dijon. It presents a rare opportunity to see some of the most spectacular historic race cars – everything from sportscars, single-seaters and touring cars – on a circuit with an ‘old school’ charm.
Below is the full calendar, with the events we are selling packages for in bold. Call our offices on 01707 376 888 to book a trip today…
4-5 March – Series Test Days – Circuit Paul Ricard (France) 26-28 March – Dix Mille Tours du Castellet – Circuit Paul Ricard (France)19-24 April – Tour Auto Optic 2000 – Rally (France) 14-16 May – Spa-Classic – Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) 4-6 June – Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or – Circuit Dijon-Prenois (France) 1-4 July – Le Mans Classic – Circuit des 24 Heures (France) 17-19 September – Monza Historic – Autodromo di Monza (Italy) 21-25 September – Rallye des Légendes Richard Mille 8-10 October – Estoril Classics – Estoril circuit (Portugal)
Apologies for not posting content on here recently, but rather than doing nothing for the last couple of months, all the Travel Destinations team have been working remotely and have been very busy trying to assist all our customers with their future travel plans.
All our events up until the end of August have now been postponed; either to dates in September & October or to similar dates in 2021. All events originally scheduled for September and October retain their positions in the calendar and whilst they continue to be reviewed by the relevant authorities, if the events can go ahead, we will be there!
The Travel Destinations team would like to say a genuinely big thank you to all our customers for your patience and understanding during what has been difficult times for everybody. Quite early on we decided that we should try, where possible, to contact all our customers individually to discuss their bookings and the best options available to them. This has been quite an undertaking and has taken time, so we are grateful for everyone bearing with us.
We are so pleased that in the majority of cases, customers have chosen to transfer their bookings forward to the revised event dates. Not only does this help us, but it also gives us all something to look forward to, which is really positive looking forward. Thank you.
Thankfully, as some lock-down restrictions are lifted, from this week, we are now able to return to our office. Initially this will be limited to a few staff at a time on a rota basis, whilst others will continue to work remotely. The phone has already started ringing, so we are now trying to answer as many calls as we can. You can reach us on our usual number +44 (0) 1707 329988, but if initially you can’t get through, you can still contact us via email (email@example.com) and we will call you back as soon as we can.
All the new dates for our events have been confirmed on our websites www.traveldestinations.co.uk and www.lemansrace.com and we will continue to update these as further news is announced, so please do keep checking-in for future events.
Thank you again & we look forward to seeing you on your travels soon.
July is upon us. What a first six months of 2019 we have had. We have completed so many motorsport events. There have been successful visits to the USA for Daytona and “Super-Sebring”, we have ventured even further afield for the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia. Then closer to home we have already visited Spa-Francochamps twice and survived the incredible double header that was the Le Mans 24 Hours followed by the Nurburgring 24 Hours. Just around the corner we have the Spa 24 Hours too followed by the Nurburgring Oldtimer Grand Prix, but beyond that there is still so many motorsport events to look forward to.
For classic motorsport fans we have three great events to attend this September. Each is unique and well worth taking a look at. First up is the Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix. At the time of writing we have just a few hotel rooms left available for this event. Historic racing doesn’t get more picturesque than this with the track winding through the Dutch sand dunes. Certainly, one not to be missed.
Similarly, we have a last few hotel rooms available for the Circuit des Remparts event in Angouleme. The tight street circuit around, the French town’s walls, not only provides a technical challenge for all the drivers, but it provides exceptional views for spectators too. With other activities such as a fun concours & touristic rally, adding to the weekend’s events, Angouleme really is a worthwhile visit.
Rounding out September’s historic racing trilogy is the Spa Six Hours. We describe this weekend of historic racing, as an event organised for drivers, that the public are allowed to gate-crash. Whilst there may be no fair ground, entertainment and off-site events, the Spa Six Hours excels in providing excellent grids with access to all areas for all spectators. If you want to get close to some of your favourite cars from the past, then the Spa Six Hours is perfect for you. Hang out in the garages, wander the paddocks and relax in any grandstand whilst enjoying the on-track action.
We have something special lined up for October. If you have yet to experience a VLN race at the Nurburgring, then this is the way to do it. The VLN is the sister series to the Nurburgring 24 Hours & for the deciding race of the season we have teamed up with professional racing driver & driving coach David Pittard, to provide a unique way to enjoy the race. As well as 4-star hotel accommodation, just minutes from the track, our offer includes race-day hospitality with the Walkenhorst Motorsport team and a guided garage visit with David during the race. Not only that, but as David is driving a BMW in the VLN, we have added the option to add passenger laps around the Nordschleife with David as your driver. This will be as close to racing the famous circuit as most of us will ever get. This is an amazing package and one we think you will really enjoy.
The Daytona circuit needs no introduction. Watching racing around the famous banking has to be on every motorsport fan’s bucket list. The Rolex 24 at Daytona in January is the perfect excuse to fulfil those ambitions. We make things easy for you with a choice of hotels; one adjacent to the track and one overlooking Daytona beach. We can arrange flights from the Uk and car hire if required to enable you to enjoy your time in Florida.
March 2020 sees the return of “Super-Sebring”. This sees not only the traditional 12 Hours of Sebring IMSA race, but also one of the longer rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship in consecutive days. We love the fun atmosphere and relaxed nature of the Sebring circuit and both races provide on-track competition second to none. Our private condos were hugely appreciated by all our guests this year and we had a great crowd enjoy the racing with us. We will be repeating the Super-Sebring experience again in 2020, but places are limited, so we kindly encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment.
As an official Le Mans 2020 ticket agency, Travel Destinations are already planning ahead for next year. Not only does 2020 provide us with the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, but also the Le Mans Classic in July. Both events are always popular so it is important to plan for Le Mans 2020 now.
Le Mans 24 Hours; 13th & 14th June 2020
The Le Mans 24 Hours is always a spectacular event. Le Mans 2020 will also mark the finale of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship season and the last opportunity to see the LMP1 class race in its current format. Already committed to being there are manufacturers such as Toyota, Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Ginetta and more will be added to create a 62 car grid. Travel Destinations offer track-side camping, private glamping & a pop-up hotel. Click here to read more about our Le Mans 2020 offers.
Le Mans Classic; 3rd – 5th July 2020
The Le Mans Classic returns in 2020 and it will be bigger and better than ever. Attracting a crowd of more than 130,000 this biennial event is a glorious retrospective of Le Mans on the full circuit. Featuring cars that raced at Le Mans from 1923 through to 2010 there is always something for everyone to enjoy on track & wandering through the paddocks and displays is a joy to behold. Once again Travel Destinations will be at Le Mans 2020 with camping, glamping and hotel offers. Click here to read more about our Le Mans Classic offers.
Both these Le Mans events are very popular and we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment. You can reserve your place now. To book your place at Le Mans 2020 with Travel Destinations, please call our reservations team on +44 (0)1707 329988
The Le Mans 24 Hours 2019 created a multitude of stories. There were winners and losers throughout every hour of the race and in each and every class. Here we highlight just a few:
Winner: The No. 8 Toyota
It is in the history books already. The No. 8 Toyota won the Le Mans 24 Hours 2019. The Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050-Hybrid, driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima & Fernando Alonso, crossed the line first and climbed to the top spot of the podium at the end of the race.
A strange one this. Throughout the race the No. 7 Toyota showed greater speed and performance. It lead through much of the race and was first from 2am until the last hour of the race. Then a puncture and sensor failure relegated the car to 2nd, allowing the more high profile No. 8 car to win. Conspiracy theorists will say that Toyota “engineered” the problem to allow their preferred team to win. Alternatively had Toyota allowed the No. 7 to regain the lead through team orders, they would have been criticized by the same theory. Ultimately Toyota were the only manufacturer in the field and all they could do was lose from there.
Winner: SMP Racing
By finishing 3rd overall and the first non-hybrid, non-manufacturer car, SMP Racing deserve a lot of credit. Their performance was unrecognizable from last year and they were good enough to hold off the never-ending challenge of Rebellion Racing
Winner: Signatech Alpine
The LMP2 class is crowded with excellent teams. By definition of LMP2 rules they all have similar machinery. So by winning the class at Le Mans 2019, Signatech-Alpine showed they are the class in the field. It also helped them to lift the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Winner: AF Corse Ferrari
Prior to Le Mans 2019 there was not much talk about Ferrari. They have been at Le Mans and in the FIA WEC for many years, but in qualifying they were quiet and in a class that featured 5 different manufactures (Porsche, Aston Martin, Ford, Corvette and Ferrari) some with 4 cars each, Ferrari were overlooked. That they came from behind to beat the favourites, shows that you should never overlook the prancing horse.
Loser: Aston Martin
The Le Mans 2019 weekend started so well for Aston Martin. On Thursday they claimed pole position in GTE Pro with an outstanding lap by Nicki Thiim, in the last few minutes, then on Friday following the ACO’s announcement on Hypercars for the 2020/21 season, Aston Martin announced they would be competing with two Aston Martin Valkyries. Then things turned for the worse. First they were hit with a Balance of Performance reduction, that sadly saw them unable to compete at the front, then as the cars dropped down the field, the cars suffered problems and ultimately they crashed out under the cover of darkness.
Winner: Ben Keating
Not many people would have predicted a win for the Purple Ford GT in the GTE Am Class at Le Mans 2019. However, with consistent speed and by avoiding incident, they claimed a well-deserved win. Ben Keating not only manages & brings the finances for the team together, but he drives as well. As the bronze driver (and potential weakest link in the driver line-up) it was the American’s performances behind the wheel that set the foundation for the win.
I seem to spend a lot of my life talking about tickets; whether it is plane tickets, ferry tickets, train tickets, football tickets or speeding tickets, as a whole, the word seems to crop up a lot. It seems most appropriate today to talk about Le Mans tickets!
Le Mans tickets are unusual in that the majority of the tickets are still purpose printed Le Mans tickets printed in an office in Le Mans & then dispatched around the world. In recent years, the ACO have also adopted the print at home tickets for members and people booking direct from the ACO website. I won’t say much about the print at home Le Mans tickets, other than to say check your toner/ink levels before you print as it is important the barcode is OK to scan.
Official Le Mans tickets are a little different. They are designed to fit in to lanyards or stick in the windscreen of cars. They are colour coded so that marshals & volunteers can direct cars in the right direction and so that barcodes can be easily scanned. However, be aware that these tickets are printed using a thermal process, so they need to be kept away from heat sources, so please don’t try to laminate your passes or leave them in the sunshine for long periods (a bit of a design floor for camping & parking passes, designed to be displayed in the windscreen).
Whichever Le Mans tickets you purchase it is important that you only get them from an authorized source. That is either the ACO direct or an official licensed Le Mans tickets agency such as at Travel Destinations. The ACO do not like Le Mans tickets bought via resale channels. It is against their terms & conditions and any Le Mans tickets found being sold like that will be voided immediately.
The most important ticket is the General Enclosure or General Entrance ticket. This allows a person to access the main parts of the Le Mans circuit. It is a pedestrian only ticket and each individual must present the ticket when going in and out of the main part of the circuit. Essentially the General Entrance ticket gives access to all the public areas around the circuit. This includes the grass banking areas from the Porsche Curves around to the Tertre Rouge corner, the concrete steps below the grandstands on the start-finish straight as well as the corners at Mulsanne & Arnage.
The General Entrance ticket gives you more than just viewing areas though. It allows you access to the fan zone & village, it enables you to access the funfair & attend the music concerts by the Dunlop Bridge each night from Wednesday. It also allows access to the museum during race week and gives you access to the “Navettes”, the circuit shuttles/trams that move people around the circuit. These Navettes are particularly important if you wish to visit Mulsanne and Arnage corners without having to move your car. The shuttle to Mulsanne (route 5) now departs and returns to the East entrance (near the tram terminal). You can also take the shuttle (route 3) from the Porsche Curves to Arnage corner. Route 4 also links the two far corners. For practice and qualifying your general entrance ticket allows you access to any of the grandstands (although not on race days!) and it also gets you access to the pit lane on Friday from 10am in the morning. So, it is a really important tool. Be careful with it though, as lost tickets cannot be replaced at the circuit. You will need to buy a new one!
In addition to your General Entrance ticket you can also choose to add a grandstand ticket. It is important to note that you still need the entrance ticket, as all the grandstands are within that restricted area. Each of the grandstands or Tribunes, has both a number and a name. For example, the Dunlop stand is also known as Tribune 5. Most of the grandstands are located along the start/finish lane, with grandstands 11 – 22 side by side opposite the pit building. Tribune 34 is above the garages in that same area. The only grandstands away from the start finish straight, are Tribunes 23 (on the Ford chicane) Tribunes 4 & 5, up by the Dunlop Bridge, and (when demand allows it) Tribunes 1 & 3 follow the Esses, beyond the Dunlop Bridge. Grandstand seats are a separate ticket to your General Entrance ticket, and will be for a specific seat in a specific stand from the Saturday morning until the end of the race on Sunday.
If you are planning on staying overnight at the circuit, then you will need a Le Mans camping ticket. It is not possible to erect a tent or park a motorhome in a designated car park. This entitles you and your vehicle to reside in one of the circuit campsites. These campsites are open from the weekend before the race, until the Monday after the race. The camping tickets vary in location and price. They also vary in size and facilities, but other than one campsite they all entitle you to 7m x 5m pitch. The campsites are colour coded in to 4 areas, and on arriving at the circuit, you should follow the coloured signs to your camping area. Essentially the colours are as follows: Yellow: Beausejour, PZ54 (motorhomes only) Arnage and Mulsanne. Green: Houx, Houx Annexe, Epinettes & Garage Vert Red: Tertre Rouge & Expo Blue: Maison Blanche, Blue-Nord & Blue Sud
The camping pass will have your named campsite, a specific pitch (only if it is a numbered campsite) and there will be tent symbol in a coloured box. It is that colour that you should then follow to access the circuit. Your camping permit should also be displayed facing outward in your windscreen so that circuit staff, can see in which direction you should be heading.
Parking passes look similar to camping passes, with the exception that they have a large letter P on them and no camping symbol. They follow the same colour coding as the camping and passes should be displayed in the windscreen. In recent years the rules for car parking have changed & the ACO have introduced a number of free-parking areas around the circuit. These include the blue car park and its neighbour Heronierres, Acti-Sud and Raineries the other side of the airfield as well as well as M1 adjacent to the MM arena. These free parking areas don’t require permits and are allocated on a first come/first served basis. The other car parks require a permit and there is a charge. These include Blanc, Rotonde, Expo, Rouge & Vert. Only the parking Blanc area has numbered parking spaces. There is also now a charge for parking at Mulsanne and Arnage on race days (they are free for practice and qualifying).
There are further ticket options that you can add to make your Le Mans experience different. One of the tickets I often get asked about is the pit-walk. If you want to get in the pit lane on Wednesday before practice and then on Saturday before the race, you are going to need this ticket. At £650 or the equivalent in pounds, I would question its value. Remember that the pit lane is open for most of Friday for all with a general entrance ticket. Whilst the drivers autograph session is a lot earlier on Tuesday. So this limited access ticket is relatively expensive for what you get. However, some people still choose this ticket option.
The final addition would be to choose access to hospitality. This option is for the few not the many, but if you want a lounge with a view of the track, bar and food available 24/7, behind the scenes tour and private shuttles around the circuit then this is the ticket for you. Unless you get an invite from a friendly team or manufacturer, expect your bill to be upwards of £1000 though.
In the end it doesn’t matter what you pay and what tickets you get, just for the privilege of being at the circuit for the Le Mans 24 Hours you have to get one!
The majority of people that visit Le Mans do so by car and we receive lots of questions every year asking about driving to Le Mans, what they need to take and what documents they need to bring. It can be daunting driving in a foreign country, particularly if you haven’t done it before, but in reality, it is fairly simple driving to Le Mans.
There are however, some things that you should bring with you & certain things that are unique to driving in France and driving to Le Mans. We covered passport and travel documents in the previous article, so here I will just concentrate on what is required for driving to Le Mans. The first is perhaps obvious but somehow easily overlooked and that is your driving licence. You need to be at least 18 and have a full valid driving licence (so not provisional) to drive in France. If you are planning to hire a car then in addition to your licence you should also arrange to either print or share your driver record via the DVLA (in the UK) as proof that you are not banned from driving. Now the big discussions over Brexit may have muddied the waters here, but for now at least, If driving from the UK, you do not currently require an International Drivers Permit to drive in France. Your UK licence is sufficient. However, residents in other countries should check their requirements through a local government source.
You should have your vehicle registration document (V5c) with you. In theory this shouldn’t be just a copy. This is to prove that you own the vehicle, should you be asked to do so. Similarly, and this is more common these days, if you are renting or leasing the vehicle, you should have a VE103 form, showing that you are entitled to take this vehicle abroad. This needs to be obtained via the leasing or rental company before driving to Le Mans.
All good so far then. You must be insured to drive your vehicle. In France the minimum is third-party cover. You should then have your motor insurance certificate with you & have the contact number for your insurer available should you need to contact them (often this isn’t on the certificate!). In recent months, there has been much talk about the need for Green Cards when bringing your car from the UK to Europe, however, for now at least, that isn’t necessary.
I hope that everyone is aware that you have to drive on the right in France, so in the limited time we have available here, I just want to highlight some of the other differences that you may come across driving to Le Mans. At some point you will probably need to refuel. Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane is readily available as is diesel (called Gazole), however you should be careful which pump you choose. “SP95-E10” is common, this is 95 octane unleaded with 10% ethanol. This is not suitable for all cars. Equally be careful of B8 biodiesel, this is normal diesel with up to 8% biodiesel. Again, this is not suitable for all cars. If you are in doubt you should check your car handbook, but ultimately, I would recommend using the standard fuels. Just as an aside foreign registered credit cards aren’t always accepted in automated petrol pumps, so it is worth seeking out a manned station, however, some local petrol stations will be closed on a Sunday too.
Remember speed limits in France. Particularly when driving to Le Mans as the Gendarmes are aware a motor race is happening and that there are going to be a lot of high-performance cars around. Speed signs are in km/h. So in a built up area or village the speed limit is 50km/h (or roughly 30mph). Single carriageway roads away from buildings will likely be 80km/h (or roughly 50mph), whilst dual carriageways are 110km/h (or 68mph). On motorways the speeds vary, but 130kmh is the maximum which is about 80mph. On the spot fines (with a receipt) can be given by the local police, so you have been warned.
There are some compulsory items that you are required to carry or display whilst driving to Le Mans:
– A warning triangle to be displayed in advance of the vehicle should you breakdown or be forced to stop by the side of the road
– At least one, reflective jacket or vest (gilet Jaune) readily accessible in the vehicle (not in the boot) and this should be worn should the driver need to get out of the vehicle near to the carriageway. It is advised that you should have one per person in the vehicle should you all need to evacuate, but this isn’t currently the law in France.
– Although you may not be planning to drive at night, it is illegal to dazzle oncoming drivers with your headlights in France. This applies to rain, fog, tunnels or just cloudy conditions, so your headlights should be deflected or set for driving in France
– Finally, unless you have a European plate with a GB indicator, you should also display a GB sticker.
– Other items that are not compulsory but are recommended include a fire extinguisher & a first aid kit, which are both useful items to have anyway.
Two other things that you should be made aware of:
– Radar detectors are forbidden. You are not allowed to carry or even transport such a device. For cars with sat-nav, gps capabilities, then legally you are required to disable the fix speed camera identifying part of the device, usually via the points of interest function. Fines for not doing so can reach €1500!
– Breathalyzers: To cut a long story short, the French government brought in a law saying that it is compulsory to carry a breathalyzer certified by the French authorities (ie carrying a NF number). However, as of January 2013 (some time ago) they also introduced a law stating that no driver can be penalised for not having a breathalyzer. This is basically because there were not enough breathalyzers available. Officially yes it is a French law, however the fine for not complying has been postponed indefinitely.
Finally, French motorways often have tolls. These can often be paid by card as well as cash, but if you are driving on your own, it will often mean you have to run around the vehicle! If you want to avoid paying by cash or card, it is possible to arrange a tag account in advance on-line. You will need to arrange to pay by direct debit & allow time for the tag to be sent to you.
France has recently introduced low emission zones in certain cities. This means to drive in these areas, you will need to purchase a vignette/sticker for your windscreen. Currently this only affects areas of Paris, Lyon, Lille, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Marseille. Now generally this shouldn’t affect cars driving to Le Mans. However, if you are planning to extend your stay in France and are visiting any of those cities, then you should check requirements before you travel and be careful as there are 6 different types of sticker depending on the emissions of your vehicle.
This year, Travel Destinations has guests travelling to Le Mans from all over the world. Whilst the majority will be coming from the UK, we will also have significant numbers travelling from the USA, Australia, Middle East, South Africa and elsewhere around Europe. As part of our introductory blogs, in association with Radio Le Mans, I thought it would be interesting to start by taking a general look at travelling to France and to Le Mans & things that you will need.
Let’s start with the basics & try and clear up a few myths. Unless you have a European Identity Card & already reside in mainland Europe then you are going to need a passport. Your passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay in France. Travelling to Le Mans from certain countries you are also requested to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure, but currently that is not the case if you are travelling on a UK passport. Every year we get contacted by people who have either forgotten their passports are just didn’t think they were required for travel in Europe, so it is always good to have your passport with you & check that it is in date before your travel. The current Brexit situation may have muddied the waters as far as duration is concerned but at present you just need a passport valid for the duration of your stay. If in doubt just check your country’s official government website which will have a section about travelling abroad.
The ongoing Brexit debate also brought up the subject of visas for travelling to Le Mans. Just to be clear, at present, nothing has changed, so visas are not required for UK citizens travelling to any EU countries including France. In fact, providing you are staying for a limited period only, visas are not required if you are travelling from the USA or Australia either. Currently visas are required to enter France if you are travelling from some African, South American and Far Eastern countries, but again I would always check with the official government website at least a month before travelling to ensure you have the correct documentation.
When ever I travel, the two first (& last) things I always check are passport and money. Generally everything else is replaceable but you can get anywhere if you have these. We have covered the passport, so let’s talk about money. The official currency for the whole of France is the Euro. Euros are readily available from your local currency exchange or bank, no matter what country you are in. France is not yet a cashless society, so I always recommend having a small amount of Euros available as well as a major recognised credit card. Money is most secure in its plastic form, so keep your card for payments of €30 or more. If you may require more cash, then a bank or debit card are best used for withdrawing Euros from an ATM. Don’t use your credit card for this as you will get charged. Before travelling to France it is worth letting your credit card provider know where you will be. There is nothing worse than filling your supermarket trolley, only to find your card is declined because it is viewed as an unusual transaction!
Nothing should go wrong on a short visit to Le Mans, but let’s face it, certain things happen when you least expect it. That is why Travel Destinations always recommend that everyone travelling to Le Mans, from whichever country, should always have Travel Insurance cover. Now, many British & other European visitors may say that they don’t need insurance, because they have an EHIC card. For those not familiar with EHIC, this is the European Health Insurance Card, that entitles you to medical treatment throughout Europe. It should be noted that it doesn’t guarantee free treatment, but discounted treatments should you need it (some of which can be free). So, for example, in France a patient may be expected to pay for a consultation with a doctor, but 70% of that cost can be reimbursed by EHIC. Patients that stay in a hospital overnight, can expect to pay too! So, whilst EHIC compliments travel insurance, it shouldn’t be seen as replacing it. Travel Insurance not only covers you before you leave home, but it will also repatriate you in the worst-case scenario. In addition, it can cover delays, cancellation & belongings, so it is very important for everyone to have.
Security is a hot topic throughout the world, and travelling to France is really no different from travelling to anywhere in the western world. Recent protests by the yellow vest brigade (Gilets Jaune) shouldn’t affect travelling to Le Mans, but those staying in Paris before or after should be aware that protests do happen (usually at weekends) and we would recommend to just avoid the areas that they congregate. At Le Mans, most of the time common sense should prevail. Petty crime does happen at Le Mans, much as it does at any festival or event around the world. Take sensible precautions, like keeping money out of sight & secure. Don’t have all your documents and money together in one place. If you don’t need it all the time, then lock it away in your car or a secure place. Keep your ticket in a lanyard around your neck. Note that lost tickets cannot be replaced at the circuit! You will need to buy a new one!! If you do require an emergency service whilst in France, then the number to dial or save in your phone is 112.
So before travelling to Le Mans: Check you have your passport, your money & your tickets. Then don’t worry, bring common sense & sense of fun and you will have a great time!
The Le Mans Classic has always focused on the cars that raced at Le Mans from 1923 through to 1979, however the perceived success of the introduction of both the Group C cars (1982 – 1993) and the Endurance Racing Legends (1994 – 2010) at the 2018 event, will no doubt see the extension of the Le Mans Classic reach in to the current century.
Travel Destinations are official ticket agents for the Le Mans Classic & continue to offer the widest range of offers for those wishing to attend and spectate at the Le Mans Classic 2020. These offers include exclusive trackside camping, glamping and hotel rooms.
It is possible to add grandstand seats and hospitality to all bookings, and those arriving in a classic or modern sports car, can even choose to join others on the famous Le Mans track for a couple of laps.
For those ready to confirm their Le Mans Classic 2020 with a deposit before the end of February 2019 there is a special incentive. Travel Destinations will be honouring all those bookings at 2018 prices, so not only can you guarantee your attendance at Le Mans Classic 2020, you can also save money by booking now!
Buying the motorsport fan in your life a Christmas present that they can enjoy can be tricky. They probably already have enough pictures of their favourite cars and books about their favourite drivers, whilst the cupboard is full to bursting with unwatched race DVDs. So what do you do? Fortunately the staff at Travel Destinations are here to help you with this festive predicament.
So these are our motorsport gift suggestions for this Christmas. What are you going to choose?
You can make a reservation for any of the motorsport events featured on this website with just a deposit & we will send you a gift letter appropriate to that event.
*Alternatively you can purchase Travel Destinations gift vouchers. These are available in various amounts from £50.00 upwards. These can be sent straight away to be ready for Christmas day!
Call Travel Destinations now on 01707 329988 to book the perfect Christmas present for the motorsport fan in your life.
For those that are looking to test themselves or learn new skills, Travel Destinations have also added a fantastic ice-driving experience with a long weekend in Sweden. Spaces are strictly limited and will sell out, so we recommend early booking.
2018 begins in Daytona, Florida with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This is the start of the Weathertech Sportscar Championship and is your first chance to see new technology and international drivers take on the banking at this famous circuit. Our hotel on Daytona Beach is the perfect place to stay and enjoy this great event.
Continuing out travels in February, we visit Australia for the Bathurst 12 Hours. If you have never visited the Mount Panorama circuit before, then this is a must. We not only have downtown hotels and apartments available for this race, but we include 3 days hospitality so you can enjoy practice, qualifying and the race from the privileged position on the pit-lane roof.
We are back in Florida in March for the 12 Hours of Sebring. This is America’s oldest and most prestigious sports car race. In 2019 Sebring will also host a round of the FIA World Endurance Championship “Super season”, but you can also visit in 2018 & stay in our lakeside condos, just a few minutes drive from the circuit.
May’s Spa Classic goes from strength to strength and the event now attracts more than 30,000 spectators each year. With a mixture of classic endurance racing, Group C racers and historic touring cars there is enough variety to entertain everyone. We have a selection of nearby hotels and camping available to accommodate everyone, and entertain all our customers in our hospitality suite overlooking Eau Rouge.
The Le Mans 24 Hours needs little introduction. Following the withdrawal of Audi and Porsche there is guaranteed to be a new name on the winner’s trophy. Toyota will be back, and this time with an F1 champion behind the wheel. They will be joined by a good number of privateer LMP1s adding to the fun. The ever competitive GTE Pro class sees the return of BMW to take on the might of Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin, Corvette and Porsche so there a plenty of manufacturers present too. As always Travel Destinations will be offering on-circuit options including our exclusive private trackside campsite at Porsche Curves, our Glamping option (Event Tents) and our pop-up hotel (Flexotel).
The pinnacle of historic motorsport is July’s Le Mans Classic. It is unrivaled in its scale and history. The racing only features cars that once raced at Le Mans, from the 1920s through to the 1980s (now including Group C). If the on-track spectacle is not enough for you then the gathering of more than 8,000 classic cars on the Bugatti circuit may tempt you away. Much like the 24 Hours, Travel Destinations has private track-side camping, glamping and pop-up hotel rooms available at the circuit, as well as hotel rooms, camping and B&B options further afield.
Endurance racing also returns in July with the 24 Hours of Spa. Being track-side, watching as Audi, BMW, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Nissan & Bentley all speed through Eau Rouge through the day and the night is a joy to behold. The racing is punctuated with a pop concert and fireworks display above the paddock at night as the cars continue around the track. We have both camping and hotel options for this event enabling you to enjoy the whole spectacle.
August sees the Nurburgring host the Oldtimers Grand Prix. This historic motor racing weekend, has a mixture of single-seater and sports cars compete around this historic circuit. Wandering the paddock is like going back in time as the mechanics work on this classic machinery. We have trackside camping or a 4 star hotel to choose from when you attend this great event.
September is a busy month for classic cars and historic motor racing. The Circuit des Remparts event in Angouleme (South West France) is quite unique. The Sunday of a long weekend of car events, sees a full day of historic racing around the walls of the old town. This tight street circuit is overshadowed by the town’s cathedral and spectators fill the stands at every turn; it is quite a sight and well-worth the drive down to see it all in person.
Mallorca classic week is organised by the island’s residents with a focus on classic cars both resident and visiting the island. With the emphasis on the social side, there are gatherings and displays around the island with competitions and scenic drives to some of the most beautiful parts of the Mallorca. It may seem a long way to go, but with ferries taking the strain the driving distances are shortened and you could participate by clocking up less than 1000 miles in your car but stay for two whole weeks.
The Spa Six Hours in September has always felt like a racers weekend that spectators have been allowed access to. There are few restrictions on access and teams are always relaxed and happy to chat. There are a variety of grids racing over the weekend, with the highlight being the classic endurance race on Saturday afternoon that continues in to the autumn night. If you like your GT40s, D-Type Jaguars and AC Cobras competing at speed, driven by skilled drivers then this event is perfect for you. We have a range of hotels and camping available within 10 minutes of the track, so you can enjoy it all in comfort.
You can secure your place at any of these events now. Reservations are open, but availability is limited, so please call Travel Destinations now, on 0844 873 0203.
The 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.
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.
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.
Following on from the FIA WEC Six hours of Mexico, the whole series moved across the border to Austin, Texas for the Six hours of the Circuit of the Americas. Of course our man in the stands went with them and brings you these talking points.
Porsche’s dominance continues While the LMP1 battle at the head of the field was far more entertaining in Texas than it was in Mexico City, Porsche still had a clear advantage most of the way. Currently on a farewell tour, Porsche LMP1 Team is desperate to dominate and sweep the FIA WEC titles to add to the Le Mans crown once again in 2017. On track, the battles between Toyota and Porsche during the 6 Hours were thrilling, but the end result unfortunately never felt in doubt.
In the second half of the race, Porsche pulled away from Toyota, scoring another 1-2 finish, with the No. 2 crew of Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhardt and Earl Bamber taking their fourth straight overall win – the streak dating back to their Le Mans triumph. It was manufactured though, the No. 1 crew since Le Mans has had the pace in the race to win each race, prevented from taking the win by team orders each time. In some ways, it’s understandable, in others, it’s a shame. While Porsche would be deserving champions at the end of the year, the title race’s excitement level has suffered as a consequence. Toyota must get a better result at Fuji, and have luck go its way if it is to have any chance of taking the title fight to Bahrain. Because the points gap, seems pretty insurmountable.
Alpine is back After dominating much of last season in LMP2, Signatech Alpine finally got back to winning ways in Texas; Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Andre Negrao proving untouchable at CoTA. While poor luck at times earlier in the season struck, the catalyst for its big performance in the USA appears to have been Negrao. The Brazilian, who joined the No.36 crew in place of Matt Rao at Mexico, has proven to be one of the quicker Silver-graded drivers in the LMP2 field, putting them in good shape going forward.
Don’t count out the French team in the final three races of the year, as it looks more than capable of racking up more wins after battles with Jackie Chan DC Racing and Vaillante Rebellion’s ORECA 07 Gibsons.
Porsche’s 2017 911 RSR still searching for its first win Saturday’s 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas was another near miss for the 2017 Porsche 911 RSR, which looks more and more capable of taking a win with each passing race. The race in Texas though, was its best to date, with the No.92 finishing second in GTE Pro, the highlight coming midway through the race when Kevin Estre fought his way past the two AF Corse Ferraris after the race’s only safety car, to take the lead.
In the end, it was Ferrari’s day, but Estre and teammate Michael Christensen fought hard, almost taking the lead again late in the race when the winning No.51 Ferrari suffered a puncture and had to make an unscheduled stop in the dying minutes. It’s fast, and now reliable, it’s only a matter of time before Porsche finds the top step of the GTE Pro podium for the first time since 2015.
Farewell CoTA Last weekend’s race at CoTA appears to be the last for the FIA WEC going forward. On the calendar since the 2013 season, the Austin-based circuit has represented the series’ marquee event in North America, and one which has always been popular with the teams and drivers. It failed to take off though, as it was never embraced by the locals and when held as a standalone event this year – without the IMSA WeatherTech Series – it felt more like a club meeting in terms of atmosphere than a real World Championship.
The circuit, which itself is incredible, challenging for the drivers and great to watch for those trackside, was unfortunately never embraced by sportscar fans in the USA. The crowds suffered from the event’s poor timing – always run on a weekend in which the local College Football team was playing – severe September heat, and hefty ticket prices. It’s a shame, because those who did attend over the years are likely to miss the trip to Texas for the FIA WEC. Sebring is back on the calendar as its replacement though, for a 1500-mile race, for a double-header with IMSA, that should prove to be an extremely popular weekend of racing for fans and series stakeholders alike.
AMR back on track in Am After a shaky start to the season, and another tough run at Le Mans, the No.98 Aston Martin Racing crew is back in the lead of the GTE Am championship after taking its second win at CoTA. Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy have always been arguably the best top to bottom lineup in the class, but have often suffered poor luck when fighting for wins. The trio should have won at Silverstone had the final lap crash with Spirit of Race not occurred, and were poised for a good finish at La Sarthe before a puncture spoiled their chances.
Now though, after a win at CoTA, they look like they’ll be the team to beat in the final three rounds of the season. The old Vantage is still a strong package, the drivers are too. The threats though, may be real – Clearwater Racing is competing on ‘home turf’ in Asia for the next two races, and Dempsey Proton (despite a rough time in the USA) is capable of winning races.
The Le Mans 24 Hours 2017 may be most remembered for beautiful weather and surprise results; the race was run under sunshine and cloudless skies with track temperatures in excess of 30 degrees centigrade, and surprise results as most of the LMP1 manufacturer team cars fell by the wayside allowing two LMP2 cars on to the winners podium.
Although this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours had a relatively low attrition rate, the opposite could be said of the manufacturers in the LMP1 class. By the end, no car had avoided lengthy time in the garage ore retirement on track & only two LMP1s managed to complete the 24 hours. The writing was perhaps on the wall early when a Toyota sustained damage in the early laps, causing debris to hit the ByKolles Racing team car. Despite it limping back to the pit lane, the car was never able to get going again and the garage door was pulled down early.. With the numeric disadvantage of only 2 cars, Porsche suffered a blow when the No. 2 car had to spend an hour in the garage for a rebuilt front axle, relegating them out of the top 50.
Toyota looked to dominate the first period of the race from pole position. They secured a 1-2 for much of this time but could never really pull away from the lone Porsche during this time. The No. 7 Toyota lead the way and looked particularly fast in the early stages. However it was all going to go wrong for Toyota as darkness fell. One by one, they experienced power problems. Only the No. 8 car managed to return to the race, but after losing more than 2 hours in the garage, they were never in contention for the overall win, despite setting the race’s fastest lap.
The demise of Toyota’s challenge left the No.1 Porsche with a free run at the chequered flag. They managed to survive the night and most of the morning, until, with just four hours to go, oil pressure problems left them limping with just electric power down the Mulsanne straight. Despite Andre Lotterer’s best efforts the car ground to a halt and could not get going again.
The demise of the No. 1 Porsche briefly opened the window for an LMP2 win, as No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca-07 Gibson, inherited the lead. However, their hopes were dashed, with the flying return of the No. 2 Porsche. Despite their early delay in the garage, the No. 2 Porsche came flying back through the field. Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber & in particular Timo Bernhard got the best out of the car, and managed to avoid and pass the traffic with ease. They took the lead with almost exactly an hour to go and didn’t look back, eventually crossing the finish line more than half a lap of the second placed car. A remarkable turnaround then from the No.2 Porsche team, who were not even in the top 50 cars after their technical woes.
Whilst the top class suffered with a very high attrition rate, the opposite could be said of the biggest field in the race; LMP2. Only four of the twenty-five cars in this class failed to finish. This is all the more remarkable considering there were new regulations for this class this year, and none of the contenders had completed a race of this distance. Despite many expert predictions to the contrary the LMP2 class not only showed the necessary endurance, but also very nearly pulled of the overall win.
For the majority of the race the two cars from Vaillante Rebellion showed their experience and stayed at the front of the pack. Having raced LMP1 cars over the last few year, the Rebellion team clearly know a thing or two about how to race at Le Mans. The G-Drive and CEFC Manor TRS Racing teams, also showed strong performances, but ultimately the story of this class enfolded late on. Having watched the LMP1 cars disappear in front, and finding themselves more than 10 laps behind the leaders, the LMP2 cars started to climb the leader-board as the manufacturer LMP1s began to retire. When the leading No.1 came to a halt on the track, it was the No. 38 Jacki Chan DC Racing car that caught up and inherited the lead of the race. They managed to defend that position from other LMP2 challenges, and for 2 hours they continued at the front. It would have been the most remarkable story. A David vs Goliath type victory, however it was not to be. Despite the best efforts of Thomas Laurent, Oliver Jarvis and ultimately Ho-Pin Tung, behind the wheel, they were unable to compete with the superior speed of the Porsche No. 2 car that reeled them in; hunting them down shark-like and then passing them with only an hour of the race to go.
Despite this the all involved with the No. 38 car should be immensely proud of what they achieved; not only winning the LMP2 class, but finishing second overall at Le Man. The No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion ended second in class, so took the third step on the overall podium which was just reward for the excellent Rebellion team.
There had been much criticism before the race about the rule makers and the changes made under the balance of performance regulations. It is a complex thing trying to make all cars competitive and in the past, this has been hugely unsuccessful. However, credit where credit is due, they definitely got it right this time and they provided the spectators with a remarkable race. In fact had Hollywood script writers come up with the story they would have probably rejected the idea under grounds of lack of reality.
No one manufacturer was able to dominate this class. Even Ford’s numeric advantage didn’t help them get ahead. Hour after hour, often minute after minute, the lead changed hands. The racing was so close, that as cars peeled off to complete their pit stops, the next car would inherit the lead. Once that car pitted the baton was passed on. And do it went on throughout the race.
Quite unbelievably going in to the last hour of the 24, each manufacturer had a car on the lead lap. Corvette, Aston Martin, Ford, Porsche and Ferrari all had a chance to win. Nobody was able to pull away and seconds separated all five cars. In the end it came down to pit lane strategy and a bit of luck as to when the race was actually going to finish. Aston Martin were leading, but had to have an extra stop for fuel. This opened the door for Corvette. With the other three cars fast catching, Corvette with Jordan Taylor at the wheel, left the pit lane with Aston Martin and Jonny Adam filling its mirrors. It was going to go right down to the wire. The two cars continued to lap just seconds apart as Jonny Adam looked for a place to attack. It looked as though Jordan Taylor had done enough to keep ahead and take the win, when the Aston Martin braked late at Mulsanne and tried to pass. Quite legitimately the Corvette closed the door as they exited and the corner, but there was contact between the two.
The two cars continued around for one more lap, but suddenly the Corvette had an issue and cut one of the chicanes on the Mulsanne straight, skidding across the gravel, but retaining the lead. However, Jonny Adam could sense he might get one more opportunity. It came literally at the start of their last lap. Coming through the Ford chicane on to the start finish straight, the Aston Martin took advantage of the damaged Corvette and powered past. Despite the great skills of Jordan Taylor there was nothing he could do to protect the lead. As the Aston Martin disappeared to take the win, salt was rubbed in to Corvette’s wounds as the No. 67 Ford managed to catch the limping Corvette and demote them to third in Class. Nevertheless all teams involved should take great credit for their efforts. This was a very hard fault battle that really entertained the fans, and should be remembered for a very long time.
The battle in GTE Am was not as close as the Pro class. In the early running, it appeared that the No. 98 Aston Martin would run away with it. However, technical issues dragged them back. The speed shown by the Larbre Competition Corvette in qualifying never reappeared, and it was left to the Ferraris to dominate the class. The No. 84 yellow and black, JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE took the lead in the darkness and was not in the mood to relinquish the position once daylight returned. For hours they remained at the front of the class, often mixing with the back markers of the GTE Pro field. They managed to spend the minimum of time in the pit lane and came home to be quite comfortable winners in the end. The other class podium slots were also filled by Ferraris, clearly the car to have in this class, with Spirit of the Race and Scuderia Corsa coming home second and third.
Overall this was an excellent race, and one that will be much talked about around the trackside barbecues tonight. Porsche were the outright winners, but the plaudits will be taken elsewhere in the classes below. Le Mans 24 Hours 2017 will be remembered for the hot temperatures around the circuit and the amazing racing that took place on it. Roll on Le Mans 24 hours 2018.
You can book with us now for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2018 and the Le Mans Classic 2018. Price details and dates are available on this website. Please call us to make your reservations. A deposit will be required at the time of booking.
The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship moved on to Belgium and the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit this last weekend. As always this is the last FIA WEC race before Le Mans, so whilst there were battles on the track for championship points, there was also a lot of planning for the Le Mans 24 Hours. Ever present, our man in the stands was present trackside to follow all the action and bring you this exclusive report, looking at the main talking points and what we learned from the race.
1. Toyota’s Le Mans chances look good Toyota Gazoo Racing has started the FIA WEC season with two wins from two races, and a Le Mans outlook which has arguably never been stronger. The 2017 TS050 Hybrid is a winning machine, with the regular drivers in the No.7 and No.8 cars both proving to be in the form of their lives heading into the big race next month. The question remaining though, concerns the aero-package. At Spa, the No.9 car of Nicolas Lapierre, Stephane Sarrazin and Yuji Kunimoto debuted the low-drag configuration of the car, which the team will race at Le Mans, while the No.7 and No.8 full-season FIA WEC entries ran the high-downforce kits that the team will use at the six-hour races all season.
While the performance (a fifth-place finish) for the Le Mans option is likely down to the team using the race as an extended test session for both the car and drivers, it was interesting that it didn’t feature all weekend. The car did briefly take the lead when Lapierre out-braked himself into La Source at the start, but after that it failed to feature in the race for the podium, finishing far behind the two other Toyotas and both Porsches.
The difference is that Porsche has been running its own Le Mans kit all season so far, and has therefore had much more race experience with it, which is confidence building, as even though it hasn’t won yet, it came close at Spa with the No.2 919 Hybrid, which would have been involved in a grandstand finish had Brendon Hartley not lost time in the pits due to a nose change late in the race following a clumsy collision with the No.36 Signatech Alpine.
It remains to be seen how close the two marques will be on-track at Le Mans because of this, though it has all the makings of a classic should Toyota have some speed up its sleeve.
2. Aston Martin struggling for pace? Aston Martin Racing has had a remarkably quiet 2017. While its two Vantages are still relatively fresh from combining to score the Teams’ Championship and Drivers’ Championship last year, so far this year they haven’t looked like even sniffing a podium.In GTE Pro it’s been all Ford and Ferrari so far, with Chip Ganassi Team UK and AF Corse in turn dominating Silverstone and Spa. Porsche has had flashes of pace, but the new car looks to be a few months from being perfect in the reliability and consistency department. Le Mans could well be a different story though. Le Mans will have a separate and thus far undetermined Balance of Performance applied, and this could favour Aston Martin’s Vantages as the cars have looked to be struggling.
In addition, the No.95 did produce one single lap in Free Practice 2 at Spa which put Dane, Marco Sorensen seconds quicker than his teammates, and atop the standings in the class. After that it was unable to produce a similar time, but it begs the question, is there something in reserve?
3. The Ferrari 488 has arrived As mentioned above, the Ferrari 488 dominated at Spa, and in the second half of the race proved totally untouchable. It has been reliable – which it wasn’t last year – and now has the speed to match. AF Corse’s driver line-up too seems to be strong from top to bottom, with newcomer Alessandro Pier Guidi looking both quick and consistent over his stints in the car.
The team finished the race 1 & 2, and looked unstoppable. If they can continue their form at the Le Mans 24 Hours, then they may well emerge as title favourites, should Ford not keep tabs, the Porsche get up to speed and Aston pick up the pace.
4. The new LMP2s look reliable Before the season started there was much speculation as to how reliable the new LMP2 cars would prove. In testing the cars were suffering from electrical woes, and gearbox issues which often prevented teams from having extended runs. Silverstone and Spa though, have been very encouraging, the 2017 cars looking strong over long distances all of a sudden. Last weekend there was only one retirement in the field, which was Tockwith Motorsports’ Ligier JS P217, which suffered from a gearbox failure at the very end of the race. Tockwith is new to racing in LMP2 though, and the FIA WEC is a difficult challenge to master.
Le Mans may be a different story, as going for twenty-four hours is much harder than six. But so far the signs are positive, and Le Mans’ potential to become a race of attrition is looking increasingly slim.
5. And race well together too! As well as being reliable, the race at Spa put to rest the nay-sayers who assumed the racing in the FIA WEC’s LMP2 class would be poor, with the entire field being made up of Oreca 07s. The cars are aerodynamically sophisticated and performance wise much more powerful, which on paper in effectively a ‘spec series’, has the potential to produce processional racing. So far that hasn’t been the case, especially at Spa, with the 07s able to get a good tow and race close together.
The drivers are enjoying racing with the new kit, and so are the fans. So when Le Mans rolls around, with a diverse 23-car grid, it could be the class to watch!
The next round of the FIA WEC will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking place on the 17th -18th June 2017. If you would like tickets to be at the big race of the season then please call the Travel Destinations team now on 0844 873 0203. Availability is limited, but we can still look after you.
This last weekend saw the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue take place at Monza. This was a first chance for the public and the media to see this season’s cars on track and it revealed some insights in to what we may expect in the forthcoming FIA WEC season. As ever, our man in the stands was trackside in Monza and has filed his latest report.
The 2017 LMP2s flexed their muscles Last week at Monza, for the first time in a public setting, the new breed of LMP2 cars were shown off, and they didn’t disappoint. The new LMP2s are quick, look sleek and are being driven by arguably the best crop of drivers in the category’s history this year. While the FIA WEC LMP2 class doesn’t have any variety in chassis, it won’t detract from the racing. At Monza, the Oreca 07s – in their high downforce configuration – all managed speeds close to 200mph with their Gibson engines, with the best lap time – Bruno Senna’s 1:36.094 – eclipsing the 2008 LMP2 pole time by almost a second. And when it comes to the full season, we expect that figure to rise, especially at Le Mans, as at the Dunlop test before the Prologue one team managed to reach 220mph in the high downforce package.
Who knows what can be achieved down the Mulsanne straight this year?
Either way, the important thing to note here is that the LMP2s are likely to be quicker than LMP1 cars in a straight line, which could provide some hairy moments in heavy braking zones. Those images of LMP1 cars skipping past the LMP2 field may be just memories of seasons gone by.
Porsche’s new GTE car impresses Porsche’s new 911 RSR GTE car continues to impress. It is reliable, and notably fast. Michael Christensen set the quickest time of the Prologue – a 1:47.379 on Saturday – as the team consistently sat at the top the timing screens. The car also ran without any hiccups, racking up a ton of mileage and getting its drivers even more tuned into its new characteristics.
While testing times win no awards, they are an indication of what we can expect to come. For this year the Balance of Performance system has been overhauled for the GTE Pro teams, and at Monza the cars were running with their baseline BoP. So it is first blood for Porsche GT Team heading into Round 1 at Silverstone next week.
LMP1 reliability Both Porsche and Toyota’s new LMP1 challengers were officially unveiled at Monza and initial signs were good; Not only in their continued advancements in hybrid technology, but in their ability to complete long runs. All four factory LMP1 hybrids on show managed to complete well over 1000km of running over the two days, with the No.2 Porsche 919 clocking up the most mileage from 327 tours of the circuit, which totaled just a fraction under 1,800km.
None of them spent any extended periods in their garage aside from during the thunderstorm on Saturday night, and aside from a couple of brief technical hiccups, there were no dramas on track either. The preparation from both Toyota and Porsche in the off season therefore looks to have paid off, with Porsche confirming it had completed at least one 24-hour test, and Toyota stating that it had completed four 30-hour runs.
After last year’s shaky start to the season on the reliability front, this year could be a turn around, and the races at Silverstone and Spa could turn into sprint races rather than races of attrition & constant niggles.
Dunlop makes further GTE gains Dunlop has drawn in more interest in the GTE side of its endurance commitments, with both Dempsey Proton Racing and Gulf Racing making the change away from Michelin tyres for this season. Last year Aston Martin Racing took the risk and ran with Dunlop tyres, which at the start of the season left the two Vantages in the GTE Pro class heading into Le Mans with consistency, but not much to show for in the outright pace department. From Mexico onwards though, and with a new compound, Aston Martin made incredible strides, winning races and eventually the Drivers and Teams championship. For this year, Gulf Racing and Proton Racing are hoping for similar results in GTE Am, as their 2015-spec Porsches – and Aston Martin’s No.98 entry – take on the likes of Spirit of Race and Clearwater Racing with their different sets of rubber. The WEC’s GTE tyre war is now in full swing, and should be fascinating to keep tabs on as the season progresses.
Monza magic impressed the paddock This year’s trip to Monza was the first for Le Mans Prototypes in an officially sanctioned event since 2008, and it was greeted positively up and down the paddock. Not only is it a circuit which everyone enjoys making the visit because of its history, but it is a valuable place to test on too. The Paul Ricard circuit, where the Prologue took place in previous years, is hard to test on because of its hard winds and unique surface which is tough to read when It comes to tyre testing. Monza meanwhile provides a good simulation for the teams ahead of Le Mans, and it showed, as most teams made the most of the chance to run their cars on both days.
Fans turned up in their droves too, making for an extremely busy pit walk on both Saturday and Sunday, and giving the grandstands a bit of an atmosphere at times. There’s certainly a case for Monza being put onto the full FIA WEC calendar for a race in the future, which would prove popular with the series’ increasing supporter base.
This weekend sees the 65th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring. This is one of our favourite races on the motorsport calendar and this year looks set for another exciting race. If you like small tight circuits, old fashioned concrete tracks, lots of action and of course the Florida sunshine then you just have to go to Sebring. Here our man in the stands takes a look at what we can expect from the race this weekend.
Cadillac held back?
After dominating proceedings at Daytona, the three Cadillacs racing at Sebring have been pegged back by the IMSA Balance of Performance process. The three DPi V.Rs have had weight added and had the air flow to the engines reduced in an attempt to allow the other prototypes to compete over a single lap. Whether it will work at Sebring or not remains to be seen, as the Cadillacs proved to be the most reliable, as well as the quickest in almost all conditions at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The prototype field which Action Express and Wayne Taylor Racing is up against, as a whole, is still impressive following Daytona. Entries from Mazda, Cadillac, Ligier, Oreca, Riley and Nissan grace the class, making for the most diverse prototype grid on the planet. Only DragonSpeed has fallen off the list since January. With the gloves off at Sebring, it’ll be very interesting to see who actually emerges on top!
Alex Lynn out to impress
While the Cadillacs entered are the same as at Daytona, the driver lineups have seen some tweaking. The most notable change heading into the race is Wayne Taylor Racing’s addition of British driver Alex Lynn. Lynn takes the place of newly-retired Max Angelelli in the team’s third seat for the endurance rounds of the WeatherTech Championship this year, and is set to impress on the North American endurance stage. Since moving over from single-seater racing last year, Lynn has raced with Manor in the World Endurance Championship as well as United Autosports in a one-off LMP3 race. He’s fast, consistent and used to high-pressure situations. If you watch a lot of sportscar racing, then you’ll be seeing a lot more of Alex too. With appearances in the VLN championship and Nürburgring 24 Hours with BMW, Petit Le Mans with Cadillac and the full World Endurnace Championship with G-Drive Racing. He is going to be busy.
Sebring Title Defence Beckons For ESM
After winning both the Rolex 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours last year, Extreme Speed Motorsports is back for another crack this year to try and repeat at least one of its high-profile victories from a year ago. At the Rolex 24, the Ligier-based Nissan DPi impressed over the full race, with only minor issues setting it back and preventing it from truly challenging for a podium spot in the final hours.
In its return to Sebring since its big win, it continues to field a stellar lineup, with Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and Pipo Derani in the No.2 car and Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Bruno Senna and Brendon Hartley in the other. We still don’t know for sure who the favourites for the overall title are this year, but we’ll have more of an idea after this weekend. If ESM take on the punishing airfield-based circuit this weekend and come away with a good result, then it’s game on for the remainder of the season.
Ford Brings Three
Ford Performance is set to field a trio of GTs in the GTLM class this year, after taking a quartet of them to the Rolex 24 Hours. Out to win the big races, Ford knows that it has the chance to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, Rolex 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours in less than nine months if it can seal the deal this weekend. Driving the third car is the World Endurance Championship crew of Billy Johnson, Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla in the No.68, which should provide a formidable third bullet in the Ford gun. It would be mightily impressive but not necessarily surprising to see them win its second Floridian race this year; as even a year later the GT still looks just as much like a prototype (if you squint your eyes) as it did at its debut. The GTLM field will be close though, with Porsche, Corvette and the Risi Ferrari all looking capable of taking the win at Daytona. There is not much between them as they head to Sebring.
GTD looks wide open
After Alegra Motorsports took a surprise victory at Daytona, with its Porsche 911 GT3 R that had a quiet run to the front, anything can happen going forward. Alegra will race at Sebring – after its impressive run prompted it to extend its commitments for 2017 – but it’s so close that we will likely see a second winner in as many races. Will the Acura NSX GT3 show its true potential? Can the Mercedes AMG GT3 runners mimic their European counterparts? Is counting out the Audi teams going to be a mistake? At this point we just don’t know, which should make the GT3-based class a fascinating watch.
It certainly looks like Travel Destinations guests trackside at Sebring this year are going to be royally entertained on the track. With the addition of the Club 12 bar and grill in the centre of the track alongside live music and entertainment throughout the weekend, there is plenty going on around the circuit too. It is going to be fun!
If you would like to be at the 12 Hours of Sebring next year, then you can register with us now to be the first in line to choose your travel, accommodation and tickets. Register your interest by calling Travel Destinations on 0844 873 0203 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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!
The 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship touched down in Austin, Texas for a 6 hours race that was dominated at the front by the Porsche teams. However, with Audi taking the other 2 steps on the podium there is clear evidence that there is no room for error this season.
Sunshine and warm weather greeted all the teams on the grid for the Six Hours of the Circuit of the Americas, with the 2 Porsches heading the field. In the early stages the two frontrunners were battling each other with the No 17 car managing to pass its sister for the lead. The Audis and Toyotas were also fighting for the minor places but it appeared the Porsche was the car to have.
As the race continued the spectacle became a little scrappy with mistakes and penalties ruining team strategies and some of the excitement. The No. 2 Toyota driven by Mike Conway was the first to exit the battle after losing control on the kerbs and hitting the barrier quite hard. Audi had an unusual pit stop issue when an airline got entangled with a tyre causing the mechanic to slip; a one minute stop go penalty for the incident delayed their progress. Porsche were not blameless either as the No. 17 car also incurring two stop go penalties, one for just overshooting the garage.
All these incidents enabled the No. 18 Porsche to extend a big lead and all was looking good for them until electrical issues caused the car to return to the garage (only to return for the final lap). Audi perhaps sensed a chance to take the race and certainly pushed hard, but the No. 17 Porsche managed to avoid any more problems and penalties and ultimately lead the LMP1 cars home by just over 60 seconds. The two Audis gained good points in the overall Championship with their 2nd and 3rd place finishes. On reflection this was perhaps a missed opportunity for the Audi team.
In the privateer LMP1 class victory was taken by the ByKolles CLM car after both the Rebellion cars suffered electrical issues.
In the LMP2 class the Ligier Nissans of the G-Drive team claimed 1st and 3rd place on the podium with relatively untroubled runs. KCMG claimed a very creditable 2nd place having started at the back of the grid following a penalty from qualifying. Behind them there was a scary incident for the No.31 ESM Ligier when brake failure occurred through turns 19 & 20, which led to hitting the kerb, becoming airbourne and impacting hard with the barriers. Fortunately Ed Brown, who was behind the wheel at the time, was OK; the car, however, was not.
Porsche were also the dominant car in the GTE Pro class, with an unchallenged 1-2 on top of the podium. Aston Martin Racing had looked quick early on, but their fight was quickly dampened by the Porsches. The No. 51 Ferrari that has set the standard in this class over recent years, was besieged by technical problems and pit lane penalties and didn’t feature, whilst the sister Ferrari got ahead of the Aston Martins to claim the final step on the podium.
Ferrari fared better in the GTE Am class. The early challenge of Corvette and Aston Martin faded in the Texas heat, leaving a battle between Porsches and Ferraris. Dempsey Racing’s Porsche looked strong and led after a great stint from Patrick Long. The No. 82 AF Corse Ferrari was eventually able to pass them, only to be overtaken themselves by the No.88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche that had made up ground from the very back of the grid. However, the eventual winner was the Championship leading SMP Racing Ferrari that waited until the last hour to hit the front and then didn’t look back. They now have a 35 point lead over the chasing pack in this year’s championship.
The FIA World Endurance Championship now changes continents again and moves on to Japan for the 6 hours of Fuji next month.
The 84th Le Mans 24 Hours will take place on the 18th & 19th June 2016 and you can reserve your place to join us trackside now. The dust is just settling at the track from this year’s race but already we are open for reservations for Le Mans 2016. The dates for Le Mans 2016 were confirmed in a press conference at the circuit in the build up to this year’s race, and as an official agent for the Le Mans 24 Hours Travel Destinations are able to guarantee you the best tickets and accommodation options available.
Although prices will not be confirmed until later this year, you are still able to reserve your place with us now. Deposits to secure your booking will be required once prices are published and balances will not be payable until 10 weeks before the event. As always, if you are booking your travel and tickets with us you will be covered by our ABTA bonding, so you can book with confidence.
Travel Destinations are able to offer you the best options for staying at the circuit so you don’t miss any of the action. More than 260,000 people attended Le Mans 2015 and the majority of those people camped at the circuit. The most economical option is to book a permit to camp in one of the circuit (ACO) run campsites. These are large campsites located on the circuit, with basic facilities but within walking distance of the track.
For those that are happy camping but prefer better facilities, then the Travel Destinations Porsche Curves campsite is ideal. Located trackside at the famous Porsche Curves, our campsite offers 24 Hours security, fully serviced showers & toilets, a hospitality marquee on site as well as a great viewing bank at the rear of the campsite.
For those who prefer something different, then our Event Tents are a great solution. Glamping has become popular at festivals in recent years, so we have brought glamping to Le Mans, adjacent to the Porsche Curves! This very popular option offers large tents that sleep up to 4 adults, with full carpet, mattresses and all bed linen. The Event Tents come with table and chairs as well as solar powered lighting. The Event tents are located in a secure area managed by our staff & have fully serviced showers and toilets as well as access to a hospitality marquee serving food and drinks throughout the weekend.
For those that won’t camp, but want to stay on the circuit then our Flexotel Village is the best option around. This “pop-up hotel” offers individual bedrooms in the centre of the circuit. Each room can sleep up to 2 people and come with proper beds and all bed linen. The Flexotel Village has private, fully serviced showers & toilets as well as plenty of secure car parking. The Flexotel Village benefits from 24 hours security and its own hospitality marquee offering breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout your stay.
Travel Destinations can also offer a variety of camping and hotel options away from the circuit.
Prices for all these options at Le Mans 2016 will not be available until later in the year, however the prices for this year’s race will remain on this website to act as a guide. All options can be purchased with or without your chosen travel option included. Please browse through all the different available options and then call us to reserve your place. All reservations will be made by telephone, allowing us to discuss your needs and to help us find the right product for you. Call us now on 0844 873 0203 (UK) or +44 1707 329988 (rest of the world) to reserve your place at Le Mans 2016.
Taking a look at the numbers from this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race with our resident statistician Graham Goodwin.
1 – Number of minutes separating LMP2 podium finishers 2 – The number of Le Mans rookie drivers aboard the winning car and the number of positions gained by the No.99 Aston Martin on the final lap! 3 – Number of different leaders in LMP2 4 – Number of cylinders in the engine of the winning car (the first time a 4 cylinder car has won since 1927) 5 – Class wins by Oliver Gavin 6 – Number of different leaders in LM GTE Pro 7 – Number of cars whose fastest race lap beat the 2014 pole position time 8 – The number of class wins scored by Corvette Racing – and the number of British drivers finishing in podium positions 9 – Finishing position of LMP2 winner 10 – The number of months since Gaetan Paletou won GT Academy and became a racing driver! 11 – Factory LMP1 cars – and number of different engine makers across the grid. 12 – Number of LMP1 finishers (though one was later excluded) 13 – The number of different nations represented by teams (31 different nations on the driver roster) 14 – The number of starters in the LM GTE Am grid 15 – Number of official retirements from the 55 starters and the number of turbocharged cars on the grid. 16 – Number of British Drivers to finish the race
17 – The number of consecutive years that Audi has finished on the podium – and the number of 2015 drivers with at least one F1 race on their cvs 18 – Consecutive wins by cars shod by Michelin tyres 19 – 2015 was the first ever Le Mans won by a car carrying No.19 20 – Slow Zone Periods in race 21 – The number of consecutive Le Mans race starts from Emmanuel Collard 22 – The number of the one Nissan GT-R LM NISMO to finish (albeit unclassified) 23 – The number of GT cars on the entry 24 – Number of years since a current Formula One Driver won Le Mans
And the number to call to book your place at Le Mans 2016 is 0844 873 0203.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.