anyone been to watch le mans?

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  • anyone been to watch le mans?
  • although i’m not a huge motoring nut,i must admit to wanting to go and watch le mans (along with iom tt) once before i die. (also just been farting about the course in forza 3 in an R2 koenigsegg alan mcnish had better watch himself 😉

    for anyone who has been,how was it?


    I’ve not but know quite a few people who have.
    They drive down in something fast (M3, Jag XF, TVR), camp, drink, watch, stagger home.

    Always seem to enjoy themselves. I’ve never been despite being invited a number of times, not really my thing.


    I went when I was 18 with my Dad and his mates. It was great if a little dull at times. I got the squits on the last day which tainted my view a little.

    Premier Icon tenfoot

    I went 4 years on the trot, but didn’t go last year and am not going this year.

    The first year, we stayed on Bleu Nord , which had no security and people nicking stuff from people’s tents. The last 3 years we have stayed on Maison Blanche, inside the circuit. The first 2 years of that were fine, but on my last visit I had my camera stolen from the boot of my mate’s car – the plonker went to sleep with his keys on the floor of his tent, rather than at the bottom of his sleeping bag (Glastonbury survival habit).

    We usually get there Thursday and come back on Monday. Different campsites have different levels of rowdiness. MB, where we stay, generally isn’t too bad, but it’s not unusual to be listening to someone’s Euro Techno until 4am, instead of sleeping. The Beermountain website gives you a good idea of the nature of each site.

    The race itself is brilliant. There’s a real thrill watching cars shooting by at 100+ mph, in the dark at 3am. Because of the 4 different classes there is a lot of overtaking.

    I would go and take a look. I said I’d go once, just to check it out, and went 4 times. I will probably go back again sometime, when I can get my head around sleeping in my tent again. Being a light sleeper means I spend most of the 4 days on three or four hours of sleep a night.

    Not seen it but drove up the mulsanne straight on way home from hols this year. Must be awesome to see them race on it.

    Iom not seen tt but been round circuit. Nw 200 is another option with benefit of seeing racing rather than time trial


    Went several years ago. Fabulous experience – then you could walk around the pits and see the cars being prepared. Great atmosphere especially in the last couple of hours of the race. There was a large funfair and lots of other non-racing things to do. We camped very close to the circuit so sleep was only possible after extensive intake of wine and beer to overcome the noise from the cars braking and changing gears for a bend we were camped nearby. The year we went Jaguar overtook Porsche in the last hour or so – the cheers were the equivalent of England scoring a last minute winning goal in the World Cup final. Also driving down through France you would go through villages in the early morning and the street would be full of old MGs, Morgans or Austin Healeys – quite a strange sight. Things have probably changed in the intervening years but would definitely go back.

    Premier Icon totalshell

    went a half dozen times in the late 80’s.. remember the loooong nights the bearded ladies with snakes in the funfair, the mini bottles of amstel, the pit walkabouts, the stalls of models of le mans cars.

    used to take the coach tours, was 75 quid back then paid extra for tours of the track and trips to various vantage points

    too old to sleep rough amongst beer bottles and hot dog wrappers..


    I’m not a fan of endurance races. I have mates who go every year though and love it


    I’ve been twice and would go every year if I were allowed/could afford it. Definitely stay inside the circuit if you go, Maison Blanche is excellent. For a boozy weekend away with the lads it’s remarkably well behaved IME.

    +1 for the 3am experience, especially at Arnage corner, fantastic. Also watching the sun come up over the esses. If you’re a keen photographer you can get some fantastic long exposure shots with headlights snaking through the track.


    Went in 2010. Had a great weekend…slightly ruined by falling asleep on the French motorway when driving home and hitting the central reservation. Luckily only suffered one blow out, no panel damage and didn’t hit any other cars.

    Premier Icon pictonroad

    Yes, absolutely fantastic, camped right in the middle and experienced everything. Mad Friday in the middle of the campsite was brilliant.

    Would 100% go every year if I had the cash.

    Top tip. Take a bike (and a D lock..) we went to all the furtherst reaches of the track at night. The cars braking from 200 to 60 in front of you lap after lap, always pin point accurate, was a unique experience.

    Also, don’t pick up bits of broken car, the carbon goes straight into your skin and takes AGES to pick out again.

    Premier Icon Sideways Tim

    I’ve only ever been to the Classic, which has more appeal for me anyway. Vintage cars giving it the full beans is spectacular and they do a series of races over the 24 hour period, so there’s always different stuff coming round. We tootle down in some old cars, rent a house 20 minutes away and have a thoroughly splendid time. It’s worth the trip just to see the selection of metal getting on and off the ferry.

    b r

    We went about 10 years ago.

    Best thing was because we’d gone on a motorbike we could do a full circuit ‘tour’ on the Sat evening. Everyone else it seems just parks up and camps at one corner/place.

    And because the French love bikes it meant we could ride/park pretty much everywhere.

    Also bought cheap start tickets off an old-bloke who’s wife/daughter wasn’t coming – just him and his son. Sat opposite the pit lane entrance and big screen 🙂


    Been about 10 times.

    Just do it.


    Awesome experience, i recommend it even for non-motorsport fans as following the race is to me secondary. Even the drive to/from Le Mans is cool as you’re in a long procession of high-end sports cars and assorted classics with local populations in the villages you pass through lining the streets for the spectacle – just watch out for radar-toting Plod. To me it’s about the crowd-based antics around the circuit be it drag-racing on the roads around the camping (until the CRS tipped up {i didn’t hang around}), or quaffing a beer beside the Mulsanne Straight with cars blasting by at silly speeds just metres away… and at night it gets better especially at the braking zones!
    It’s cheap, too, but it’s been a few years since i was last there.

    My Top Tips – earplugs/tripod-type camping chair/loo roll.

    I’ve been a couple of times about 12 years ago, and we camped on the airfield’s campsite & walked/bussed round the field to the main gate.
    It was cheaper & quieter & the idiot-quota was improved compared to being infield.
    Really good fun, I definitely recommend trying to travel in something that’s not boring so the road trip becomes part of the fun. I enjoyed the night-time racing most, flames/glowing discs/crashes, etc!

    On the Friday we also went to the little village with the hotel that Aston Martin used to garage their cars at before the race, there’s a good atmosphere there around the bars & restaurants. It’s called CHARTRE SUR LE LOIR, worth looking up.


    Went in 2010 and had just a fantastic time – I was with a bunch that’s been going for years, will deffo go back when cash and holiday allows. It was, for us, as much about what happened off track as on it.

    Keep your windows up when you arrive onsite.

    Lots of beer- and washing-up-liquid-fuelled silliness goes on…

    … Until les Flics turn up. In which case, calm down and go somewhere else for ten or fifteen minutes, then as soon as they’re gone, it all kicks off again. Happy days.

    These things are impressive. Super quick, and super quiet – at full tilt, the loudest noise is the air being parted by that glorious bodywork.

    Leave the pit bikes at home.

    Precision work.

    I spent a good few hours at night pottering about by myself, and had an absolute ball.

    Some Danish chap did all right, so they tell me.

    A fantastic and memorable experience. Will deffo be there again at some point.

    Went the year before last, and went to the TT last year. Both lads trips, both big piss ups.

    We stayed inside the circuit, and spent 3 days on the lash. It’s great to wander around, lots to see and do, racing is good to watch, with lots of good vantage points, with long walks in between. We drove down in convoy, it doesn’t take too long, don’t speed as you get closer to the circuit though, they are out to get you.

    Showers and toilets are pretty grim, but to be expected. Most of the camping have power outlets, so take an extension lead and you can enjoy stereo/tv?/fridge/etc etc.

    I’m still amazed at the filth left behind by most of the campers, people buy cheap tents/gazebos/clothes/ebay fridge and just drive off at the end leaving all their filth behind. Pretty minging.

    Food consists of ham and cheese baguettes, burgers, hot dogs etc, so expect to return in need of greenery.

    I’d recommend it, it was superb, as was the TT. 😀


    Just do it. I remember the first time I went, arriving on the camp site and the engine noise of the cars out on a practise session making the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It is a very special place/event.

    I’ve been a few times since – our routine is to travel down on the Thursday, via the tunnel, and stick to the motorway. It’s not quite as good for car spotting, but a lot quicker than going the old A / B road route. Stop in Calais to stock up on beer. Set up camp late afternoon, start drinking.
    Friday – pit lane walk, then take a tram into Le Mans and spend the day there, see the drivers parade.
    Saturday, watch the classics, then find a good spot for the start, maybe watch the band in the evening (the Stranglers were good one year I seem to remember,) see how long you can stay awake, try to sneak into the grandstand on the start finish straight in the middle of the night.
    Sunday morning, take the car down to Arnage and watch from there for a bit. Back to the camp site, pack up and make a speedy exit to beat some of the traffic the second the race has finished. Drive to Honfleur and stay overnight there (great restaurants).
    Monday, leisurely drive back to Calais, tunnel, then home.

    God I wish I was going this year!
    The Classic is good too, slightly less rammed – more access to the cars and good viewing spots.
    Ear plugs are a must, as are wet wipes if you can’t be bothered to queue for a shower. Don’t bother trying to compete with the ‘professional’ campers with their cinemas, swimming pools etc, just take what you need. I’ve never had anything nicked, but try to avoid being there on Monday as the sites get stripped by pikeys who will take anything lying around.


    Went three years on the bounce – ’07-’09. Bloody loved it!! Went on my own and stayed inside the circuit in a tent at Camping Houx. By the time I’d pitched my tent I had a beer in hand from the guys next to me and offers of sharing BBQ’s with others nearby!
    The place is one giant party for the whole 5 days, with the added excitement of some racing.

    A few things to consider:

    The drive down is something to be savoured. I used the N138 for half the journey down and you will be joined by loads of exotica making the pilgrimage. Much more interesting than the Autoroute!
    Don’t rely on using your car to get around, take a cheap BSO or buy one out there. Makes getting around so much easier!
    Stock up on food in one of the nearby supermarkets when you arrive, the one at the end of the Mulsanne straight is well stocked (Champion?)
    If the burger vans aren’t to your taste there is a McDonald’s on the industrial park for quick and safe food when out that way.
    If you do take the car anywhere during the weekend you will be expected to do racing starts and will definitely get water-pistolled at some point. More fun watching the posh brigade burning their clutches on their flash toys!
    You have to be present for the Depart and Arrivee (start/finish), it’s the rules.
    Try and get a view of the cars on the Mulsanne, preferably at night. It will blow you away.
    Take a waterproof cover for your race ticket and keep it safe, they scan them at every access point. Ruin it and you’re screwed.
    The classic race on Saturday morning usually has the best racing all weekend as they are all going flat-out for an hour or so. I saw the Sauber-Mercedes C9, Jaguar XJR-12 and the Porsches getting thrashed while having a full english breakfast!!
    Take a portable FM radio, Radio Le Mans broadcasts all weekend in English and is full of driver interviews, latest news and plenty of banter.
    Try and get out to all of the circuit at different points, you have 24H to get around so experience all of it if you can. I rode out with a sleeping bag one night and watched the cars all around the circuit in warmth and confort. It’s a bit surreal being woken up at 3am by a Corvette thundering by at 160mph!!

    Loved every year but haven’t been since as it got samey and I’ve been going to the Alps every summer recently. Will go again sometime, probably in the next few years!

    Premier Icon Straightliner

    It is a great trip, and worth doing at least once. Like a number of the others, I’ve done it several times, although I haven’t been for a few years now.

    The drive down and back really is part of the fun; although we always went on A/B roads after Rouen to avoid funding the police Xmas party. We would head down early Thursday morning and then stop for lunch in a nice village somewhere before heading on to the circuit, setting up camp and heading to the local supermarket for supplies.

    Friday morning is a great chance to drive a lot of the circuit, as they are switched back to public roads, and there are usually organised meets of some impressive exotica at specific locations. Friday evening in Le Mans town is the drivers parade which is good opportunity to see the drivers close-up, and to have one (or several beers). Le Mans has a lovely old town if you’re feeling at all cultural.

    Camping/facilities often leave a little to be desired, but it’s funny how so many guys with expensive tastes in cars are prepared to put up with a few days in a dusty campsite in a rubbish tent with limited number of showers/toilets. It’s all part of the overall character and madness of the event.

    A grandstand ticket is not particularly expensive, and can be a good place to chill out away from direct sunshine if it’s hot – the campsites don’t usually have much in the way of tree cover.

    Traffic around the circuit on Saturday lunchtime is horrendous – if you’re going to go out then make sure you’re back by mid-morning.

    Taking an old bike is a nice way to see the far reaches of the circuit, particularly at night. Don’t take anything special, a very cheap eBay option that just about rolls along would be perfect, and you could even leave it there afterwards if it’s cheap enough.

    The Pistonheads website always has a section devoted to Le Mans each year so you can pick up more useful info there.


    +1 for everything said really, good fun lads weekend 🙂

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    Very intesting thread and thanks as its in my bucket list. I’ve a couple of friends who’ve been a number of times, both started off camping but now do hotels, as above the drive down is part of the event, they tend to go down Thur and leave Sunday before the finish (ok ok I hear the screams). They like the pre face atmosphere, the start and of course the night driving. They sometimes leave circuit after the start and have a good dinner outside then return for some of the night before back to hotel for a kip then drive home so as to be at work for Sunday. I appreciate this is a bit soft but there is an alternative to the camping.

    Premier Icon Sideways Tim

    That’s pretty much what we do for the classic. You get to drive the french roads a bit more, time it right and you miss the traffic, plus the eating is a million times better off circuit. We go to Arnage on the sunday, as it’s nice and quiet.

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