Wednesday, 20 June 2012 11:53 AM
I guess you could call the Le Mans 24-hour race a petrol-powered party for fans of racing, eating, drinking and (hopefully) sunning. We’re just back from this weekend’s 80th Le Mans race, and while I’m not a virgin when it comes to the famous mid-France endurance race, after a few years away I’d almost forgotten what a hard ‘n’ fast weekend it is.
You can stay up and watch the full 24 hours of the race – and you can see those hardcore fans wandering around on the Sunday with eyes on stalks and beer in hand - or try and grab some kip away from the constant growl and howl of the always circulating endurance racers.
I was there to watch the Michelin-rubber’d-runners and had a great view above the big-budget Audi pit in the Michelin media suite – complete with tasty French grub, plenty of cold Kronenbourg 1664 and endless trays of belly-bulging pastries.
The net result of hundreds of racing laps from 3pm on Saturday to 3pm on Sunday was an all-top-three finish for the almost untouchable Audis, a good but ended-early race for the funky new Nissan/Michelin DeltaWing racer, and a high-octane hangover for me powered by French booze and race fuel fumes. My kind of weekend!
Here are some of my pics from the 2012 Le Mans weekend and I’d like to say thank you and congratulations to Michelin for their fifteenth consecutive win at one of the hardest endurance races on the planet. I’ll be there next year for sure.
In the forground we have the specially-made front wheel tyre for the Nissan/Michelin DeltaWing racer. This new racecar relies more on aero for its cornering powers. Compare it to the "normal" Michelin racing slicks
Mechanics swarm over the DeltaWing minutes before going to the grid for the start of the race
High-tech and duck tape
DeltaWing's skinny front tyres perplexed many
Like something from a Bat Man movie
Under all this engineering noise is a 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine to power DeltaWing
Audi's e-tron quattro racer. A diesel/electric hybrid racer that's hard to beat
Classic Group C endurance racers with big turbos, big power and bad attitudes
Michelin supplied the rubber for most of the top teams
Don't fancy yours much!
Audi mechanics take on nicotine and caffeine
Another classic racing livery
Michelin's huge racing tyre operation starts here
The Michelin crew can swap a worn tyre for a fresh slick in 3 minutes flat
Thousands of tyres for the teams. Huge room has A/C to keep the tyres in perfect storage temperature range
Custom Harley, bobber style
Words & pics: Daniel Anslow
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