Friday, 9 June 2017

Le Mans 2017: Things to do in raceweek

The action during race week is not only to be found on track, but also in the villages surrounding the iconic Le Mans circuit. We've selected a few events which are surely worth a visit, celebrating the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

Museum exhibition

This year, everyone with a general enclosure ticket for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will have free access to the museum next to the circuit to discover its collection of 120 cars who have made part of the history of the 24 Hours.  

Picture © ACO


Next to the permanent collection, a temporary exhibition celebrating the Formula 1 Grand Prix which was run on the Bugatti circuit in 1967 will be on display under the title "Le Mans 67 – An exceptional grand prix".  This was the only French Formula 1 Grand Prix organised by the ACO on the Bugatti circuit.  Several Formula 1 cars of the era and 1967 will be on display, luke a Lotus 49, a Cooper Maserati and a BRM P115. The race winning Brabham Repco of Jack Brabham will also be on display. 

Le Mans legend Henri Pescarolo won the Formula 3 race that weekend, the Matra F3 he drove in 1967 will also be on display in the museum. 

New additions to the permanent collection of the museum are 2 Onroak cars. The OAK Racing Costa Art Car and the Morgan LMP2 SRT 41 of Frederic Sausset. 



The 2013 OAK Racing art car was designed by Fernando Costa and features a multicolour cover featuring signposts, the artist's favourite material. It was entered by OAK Racing and driven by Jacques Nicolet, Jean-Marc Merlin and Philippe Mondolot. The Morgan LMP2 was entered last year as the "Garage 56" car by SRT 41. The car was fully adapted for Frédéric Sausset, the first quad amputee who has raced and finished in the Le Mans 24 Hours. 

R'Hunaudieres


On Tuesday 13th June, the third edition of the R'Hunaudieres in the small city of Ruadin across the Mulsanne straight will be held from 16.00h to 23.00h.

This years edition will highlight the 70th anniversary of Ferrari.  The centre of the town will be closed for all traffic, giving Ferrari fans the chance to admire the most beautiful cars of the Italian marque.  Ferrari has won Le Mans nine times between 1949 and 1965, and is one of the legendary teams in the 24 hour race.

French driver Fernand Tavano will also be honoured this year. Tavano drove the 24 Hours of Le Mans nine consecutive times from 1956 to 1964, each time at the wheel of a Ferrari. His best finish at Le Mans was in 1960 when he finished fourth overall and 1st in the GT Class in his Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta which he drove with Pierre Dumay. An exposition well be set up, celebrating his career as a driver.

Admission to the exhibition and the town centre is free for all.

More info on their facebook page.

Arnage dans la course

For the fourth year, the "Arnage dans la course" event will take place on Thursday 15th of June.  This edition will pay tribute to Le Mans legend Henri Pescarolo and Matra. Pescarolo raced 33 times in the 24 Hours and won four of them. Matra is one of the iconic French racingteams from the past.

Not only will all the cars Pescarolo participated in during the 24 hours on display (1/43 scale) but also several exceptional cars that will take part in the the exhibition in the centre of Arnage. Many models of Matra will be on display, as will the Pescarolo 001 & 002. The presentation of the Pescarolo 004 and 005 will take place during the day. Lots of other cars will join in for the exhibition; Ford GT40, AC Cobra, Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette ...

The event starts at 9.00h with a car exhibition at the Town hall square 'till 12.00h.  From 12.30h to 12.00h a parade will run through the main street of Arnage. The car exhibition will continue from 14.00h to 17.00h.

Admission is free, food & drinks vendors will be on-site.

More info can be found at www.arnagedanslacourse.com

Classic British Welcome

The Saint-Saturnin Classic British Welcome originated from a passion for Le Mans and the 24 hour race. It’s a fun, colourful car show to welcome visitors to Le Mans, held every year, on the Friday before the 24 hour race. Over a thousand classic cars of all shapes and sizes, from all around the world, gather in Saint-Saturnin on the northern outskirts of Le Mans.

This year's theme is Marcos, a small British sportscar company which was founded in 1959. Exactly 50 years ago, Marcos entered a factory team in the 24 Hours with a Mini-Marcos. The car didn't finish though due to an oil pump failure. Still it was quite an achievement for a small car company to enter a car in the legendary race. Marcos returned in 1995 to La Sarthe, and this time managed to finish the race despite being stranded for 2 hours due to an electrical fault. 

Around 70 Marcos cars are expected in Saint-Saturnin on Friday, who will join the cars on display in the main hall and many other cars on the field. Several exhibitions, food stalls, live music, merchandise stands and much more will keep you busy for a few hours ! 

The festivities start at 9.00h, and are - as always - free to enter.
More info to be found at http://www.classicbw.org/?ln=UK

Virage de Mulsanne

Over the past years, the annual meeting at the infamous Mulsanne corner has become a tradition in the build up to race day.  The theme for this year's event is Jaguar, so expect some nice British machinery on display on the track in Mulsanne. 

Starting 9.00h to 16.00h at the Mulsanne corner : exhibition of classic & collectors cars and historic racing cars on the track, thematic exhibition of Jaguar (racing) cars, presence of past and current Le Mans drivers, exhibition of Ray Toombs, illustrator and artist ... 

19.00h to 22.30h on the Place Jean Moulin (Mulsanne centre): exposition of exceptional cars in front of the town hall, parade through the streets of Mulsanne, free concert.

Live music, food & drink stalls will be present during the day. Entry is free for all ! 


More info is available at www.viragedemulsanne.org


Kristof Vermeulen.



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