The Le Mans 24 hour motor race is on 16-17 June 2018 . The year 2013 was the 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Sarthe, Pays de la Loire) – although the preparations and practice dominate the town for several days before and after.
The “24 Hours of Le Mans” technical regulations distinguish two major car families: The “Prototypes” and “Grand Touring“, each of which is split into two parts. Each category fights rigorously for victory in its class.
The “Prototype” category refers to cars exclusively developed for competition on track and which meet the technical regulations of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. The performance levels and technological development make this category overeign in endurance.
The “Grand Touring” category features cars derived from models homologated for road use and which can be purchased. A minimum of 100 road cars must be built by the major car manufacturers and a minimum of 25 for the smaller makes. Easily identifiable by the public, the GTs always achieve great success.
Since 2002, Le Mans Classic (6-8 July 2018) has become the necessary complement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And somehow the showcase of all high-technologies which were born and fine-tuned there, year after year. The drivers who risk their lives behind the wheels of cars belonging to the glorious past (which are often older than they are) realize that mastering these machines each time is far from an easy affair. The essentials of the sport were no doubt the same; speed, grip, competition, passing or being left behind. However, the driving technique differs every time from the high rides of the Twenties, which were already fast, to the powerful beasts of the Seventies. Le Mans Classic will see to it that the skills needed to drive these cars will never be lost. Having fun is a serious business.
Unless you are a real fan, then it is probably best to avoid the town for the weekend and a few days either side, as the traffic, crowds and road closures can make life challenging. However the autoroutes A28 ( from the Channel coast to the Loire Valley), A11 (Paris – Angers) enable you to avoid the City Centre and the southside of the town where the race is run.
At other times Le Mans is worth visit – an elegant city with a well-preserved old town (Cité Plantagenêt), Cathedral, ramparts, riverside walks along the banks of the river Sarthe etc
Le Mans is twinned with Bolton, England.
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