Where to begin with Le Mans Classic! The bi-anual historic race weekend that really does trump the rest. For starters it’s run on the full Circuit de la Sarthe and it is also run over 24hrs, meaning you get to see the cars run at night. It is a magical spectacal watching the cars of the past blast into the night, spitting flames and brake discs glowing. Something all racing fans have to see.
We had been out the the event before but purely as spectators. This time we were competing! We had hired out the car and would run the car for fellow Porsche specialist Paul Stephens and also to experienced historic single seater racer Neil Shinner. Neither had driven a SWB 911 in anger before.
We got of to a difficult start with Paul only completing 2 laps of practice/qualifying with engine troubles and getting towed back to the paddock. An engine change and a missed night practice later we were ready for the first race on the Saturday but unfortunately our one flying lap qualified us 62 out of 75. Meaning an uphil battle for the rest of the weekend. The first race begun and we quickly began to climb the field, make up places and finished 48th. Then we re-prepped the car, re-fuelled and I think shut our eyes for a matter of minutes before our night race at 4.40AM.
Again with our poor qualifying and improved race we started race 2 from 58th on the grid. Race 2 proved to be fairly chaotic from the start with cars going off, slow zones, safety cars red flags and re-starts. We’d climbed up the field to around 38th and were still going well and the race was red flagged with 11 minutes to go. We were hoping for a re-start and after some confussion a re-start is what we got and continued to gain places to finish 30th and 3rd in class.
After the race even though we all wanted and I think needed sleep we prepped the car and re-fueled ready for the final race. This time I think we managed to get 2 hours sleep before our final race at midday Sunday. Our stronger results from race 1 and 2 meant we started a little higher up in 41st. The final race was a lot calmer all round but again we made up places and finished 31st and 3rd in class again.
Le Mans Classic is a fantastic event and when competing you really do get the full Le Mans experience. Full of highs and lows but at the end once you’ve completed all your races it’s very reqarding. Thanks to Paul and Neil for putting your trust in us and I’m sure we’ll be back in two years time.