What exactly is it that lures people to follow sport? Is it the thrill of the event, the camaraderie, the anticipation of victory, the rekindling of childhood dreams? All of my life I have been surrounded by men with a craving for motorsport. Restoring and nurturing their own prized Austin Healey’s, MG’s, E-types, Triumph Spitfires and Porsches, or trailing round enthusiasts car ‘meets’ and visiting the circuits and infamous events at Goodwood, Thruxton, Brandshatch, Silverstone, Bonneville, Nurburgring, Spa, Monaco, Daytona, Nazareth, Laguna Seca, Thunder Hill or Infineon. Enjoying track days, racing Mazda Miata’s and loyally being avidly glued to each and every Formula One event of every season since as far back as I can remember, at least 1975!
All of the men in my life have shared this passion for cars and especially racing cars. Top of the list of their favourite events has to be ‘24 Heures du Mans’. An event testing the speed and endurance of both the car, its drivers and their team. Attracting a larger global crowd than any other racing event, made even more famous in the 1970’s by Steve McQueen and this year celebrating its 80th year. An almost annual pilgrimage since 1987, this year I was invited to be part of it, my 3rd time although not for sixteen years! And despite the rain and ‘brrrr’ would I, francophile that I am, refuse the opportunity to return on the Chunnel to the Loire Valley barely 2 weeks after having left it?
Glamorous, sexy, and alluring, the smell of brake dust, oil and petrol pervading your nostrils, male testosterone rippling its muscles amongst the crowd, the roar and screech of high performance
engines, the anticipation and the thrill. An entire weekend dedicated to the motorcar and twenty four hours of power, of speed, of skill, of fortitude, durability and survival that is ‘24 Heures du Mans’.
Spending the event with specially treasured friends, being plied with champagne,
the experience was romanticized by the charmingly cosy ‘Petit Potager’ where we rested our weary selves each night.
More than anything how can you not be beguiled by the joy of the man you love glued to his Le Mans radio, relishing every single second of this experience,
screaming engines, shared passion and exhilaration for racing, speed and cars!