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2007 24 Heures Du Mans - Journee du Test


Circuit De Sarthe - June 3rd 2007

These photos and video were taken on 3rd June 2007 at the Journee du Test – the practice day held two weeks prior to the 24 hour endurance race. Nick and I just happened to be in the area at the time and were encouraged by our families to spend the day there. It was probably the best €4 I have ever spent. Unlike Nick I hadn’t previously been converted at this particular "Cathedral" (see Nick’s "The Le Mans Experience) so I was keen to see what all the fuss was about, even if it wasn’t the "Grande Bouff".

In much stereotyped French style, the approach to the circuit was vague and convoluted, but when roads surrounding the circuit are closed to form part of the track it is easy to see why. However we had wisely pre-bought our tickets (that well spent €4) so when a little side road took us alongside a fortified wall we took a chance that following the wall on foot would lead to a gate. As soon as we stepped out of the air conditioned car and into the pavement splitting heat we knew we were in the right place – the peace was shattered by the violent bark of one of the big block V8 chevvies as it blasted past unseen just the other side of the wall.

We soon found an entry point and spent a fascinating day watching all the teams make the most of the opportunity to test their set ups. We saw the screaming Lamborghini of an independent Japanese Owners Club who sadly had to retire; we saw the infamous diesel Audi R10s buzzing past in comparative silence against all manner of V12 Ferraris and the V8 Chevrolets. And best of all for me was the Aston Martin DBR9s which went on to win the GT1 class – the same cars that I later saw one of at the museum on the Prodrive visit.

It was certainly a defining moment in my life, the recollection of that first encounter will still transport me straight back there.

Mike.



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