Saturday, June 22, 2013

Le Mans

Another French event. It's the 24 hour Le Mans, this weekend - celebrating its 90th birthday and still retaining a certain glamour. There's the cars of course: bigger and sexier than F1s; hitting 200mph down the 6km back straight at night; and the weird thing of driving constantly for 1,440 minutes.
I visited it once, on a camping holiday, in August 1970. We were expecting just to see an empty grandstand and track, but they were shooting the Le Mans film starring Steve McQueen. As my brother and I leaned against the barrier oggling the cars, who should be taking a breather just 10 yards away? But of course it's not all glamour. This year, the Danish driver Allan Simonsen was killed within ten minutes of the start, the first fatality since 1986.  

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