Those who read my 2008 story will know that last year we had a
visit laid on to the Embassy Racing pit. When I say 'we' I mean the members of
the Le Mans sub-forum at Ten Tenths, where I moderate – occasionally!
Well this year, James, aka Bentley03, who organised that trip had surpassed himself by arranging
trips to the Speedy Racing Team Sebah garages, 13 and 33. These were at 2 p.m. and 3
p.m. and I was lucky enough to have a place on the first of these. I broke
off from my pit wandering to exchange messages with James from which I
established he was very close by and I made my rendezvous with him as
he entered the pit lane at 1:45.
In the first group with James and I were AllonFS (a Tourist of course last
year), Dani, undoz, Nobster and Batmobile (dispensing beautiful cherries from
his garden), plus Bernard and Dominique.
James had the whole thing superbly
organised with entry tickets printed for everyone - to make sure we had no
gatecrashers this year! We were soon into the pits, our tickets taken by ‘Roger
the Truckie’ who handed us over to Team Manager Bart Hayden who then gave us a
splendid guided tour covering everything from tyres to engines, telemetry and
onto the chassis, during which we also met Stephan Gervais, the Marketing and
Media Manager and Steve Wills, the engineer for the P1 car.
The team was running a car in each of the two LMP classes,
numbers 13 and 33 and, without a trace of bias, I can honestly say that the two
cars, in their shiny red and blue liveries, were two of the the best turned out
cars in the field.
It was an absolutely wonderful tour in which it was obvious
that Bart wanted to make sure that it was as good for us as possible. It lasted
a full 55 minutes and we each went away with a team T-shirt. For me, and I
suspect many of the others, this was one of the real highlights of Le Mans 2009
and it ensured (as the team was no doubt hoping) that we became firm Speedy Team Sebah supporters for the rest of the weekend!
I left the Speedy pits and the other “Tenthers” at about 2:40
knowing that I had about 40 minutes left in the pits before I would have to head
off back to the cars to meet up with the other Tourists. So after a bit longer
wandering the pit lane I finally made the now stupidly elongated walk back from the
pits past the back of the paddock up to the stalls at the Dunlop chicane at
which point I realised how hungry I was now, having eaten nothing at all since
the Café Gondrée at about 8 o’clock that morning! So I grabbed a sandwich jambon and some
water and by coincidence as I walked away from the stall, most of the other
Tourists came walking up from the direction of the paddock. The only missing
members of the team at this point were Jeremy and Phil but they soon joined us
at the cars in the garage rouge.