The Wednesday of Le Mans
'week' always seems like the start of part 2 of our trip. Counting our
arrival in France on Saturday evening, we had already been in France for four
days and we were yet to see a car under power but that would change today.
Despite my customary protestations and predictions on
Ten Tenths that
Le Mans would be lovely and sunny this year, in truth I wasn't at all optimistic
that the weather would smile on us much for the rest of the week - it certainly
hadn't so far!
I was up and about bright and
early as usual by 8.30 and with a long day in prospect the now seven-strong team
headed up to the Bar Havane for a dose of hyper-strong coffee and excellent
croissants and pain au chocolat laid on for us by Madame. We also posed
for what tend to be rare 'team photographs'..... We popped back
briefly afterwards to the hotel to collect cameras and waterproofs (see, not so
much optimism....) and made another stop at Auchan as I was toying with buying a
data sim for my iPad, but I decided against the unnecessary additional expense.
We arrived in Parking Blanc at
12.45 and were greeted by none other than 'Bicycle Man'
(see last year's
story). We had struck it very lucky with our parking spaces this year
as we were in the second row from the entrance, a terrific spot to get in and
out of. Bicycle Man duly appeared and made his way over to us to
myopically scrutinise our ticket at significant length before professing himself
satisfied with our selection of parking space.
We had to make decisions about
what to wear and what to carry with us as although it was dry at that moment,
rain was forecast later, but it was still pretty warm. So I divested
myself of my bodywarmer (that I normally live and die in) and instead wore my
waterproof coat over my t-shirt. It's plenty warm enough if it gets chilly
but would also keep the rain out. We walked into the circuit and straight
under the track. I should have mentioned that it was just James, Toby and
I at this stage as Tony, John, Andrew and Paul had gone separately as they
needed to find some disabled parking so that Paul could make use of his buggy.
In all my years I had never
done a pitwalk on any day other than the Friday and hadn't even expected to be
able to get in at this time but we had no problem at all. More importantly
though, unlike on Friday when the pits are absolutely jammed with people all
day, it was incredibly quiet with possibly no more than fifty people along the
entire pit lane. So we were able to have a good long look at all the cars
without having to wait for a space or look over people in front of us. We
stopped for quite a while at the Corvette pits chatting with a member of the
team (who I completely failed to recognise at the time as crew chief Danny Binks),
who was already predicting that the sandbags that the Fords had carried at
Silverstone and Spa were about to be removed. And how right he was!
Once again, I have an
abundance of shots of the cars in the pitwalk as both Toby and I were snapping
For me, the star of the
pitwalk was the #49 Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda in it's fabulous metallic
orange/gold livery. It just looked fantastic and the fact that it was
actually sitting there 'whole' on the pit apron made it all too easy to take a
lot of photographs of it. An A+ from me to the man or woman or designed
the livery for that one!
We had a terrific hour or so
in the pits and left at about 2 pm to walk up through the village.