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Le Mans 2018 - Ayse's Story

Page 10 - Toby Est Arrivé!

Friday 15th June



There was of course no rush to do anything this morning as after the circuit goings-on of the last two days, Friday was the final chance for a chill-out day before race day.  The main event of the day was the arrival of the final member of the Le Mans crew.    This would be Toby's second Le Mans, having come over with me for the full week in 2016.  This year, with his commitments with McLaren he wasn't able to get the time off and having done the full thing once, he was quite content to come over for just the main event. 

The morning rituals of shower, coffee and get dressed were leisurely performed this morning and after a call home I checked to make sure that James was still in the land of the living.  Toby was travelling on the night boat, getting in at about 8.30 am French time.  We started messaging around 9 am by which time Toby was off the boat and motoring down, expecting to get to Le Mans by midday. 

James F also let me know around the same time that he and Ramona had decided to take a full day away from the circuit and would instead be doing a spot of sightseeing.  We agreed that I'd borrow his Parking Blanc ticket in case we decided to take two cars into the circuit later.  Allon was also on the texts and I explained the situation to him.  He was inclined to take a morning stroll up to the Classic British Welcome at St Saturnin, so I said we'd see him later as James and I thought we would probably do the same after visiting the bar.  Bearing all of this in mind, James and I decided there was no point to rushing up to the bar so James got his head down for a bit more kip while I mooched around sorting out batteries and the like for the weekend. 

Toby arrived in good spirits just before 11.40.  I had already paid for his room and got his key so he was able to get settled in straight away.  We headed up to the bar for coffee and then headed down the road to have a look around the cars at the Classic British Welcome, Toby finally picking up some food on the way.  We spent an entertaining hour or so there before heading back to the hotel to meet Allon.  After some debate about taking two cars, it was decided that we'd all squeeze into mine.  My 1-Series is ostensibly a four-seater, but as a three-door car, it favours just two so it was quite cosy in the back!  We left at about 1.20 pm, arriving in Parking Blanc. 




James and I had no need to mingle with the masses getting into the pitlane having already done it on Tuesday so we left Toby and Allon to have a wander while we looked around the Village.  We bought some of the special 'Pink Pig' and 'Rothmans' t-shorts from the Porsche stall at the bottom of the Village.  I got a Rothmans one for Tony who had decided to take a raincheck on Le Mans this year. 

I confess that throughout all of this I had a weather eye on my watch as I was concerned about getting away from the circuit and back into town.  We had intended to take in the Driver Parade but in the end we all agreed that getting parked up and then out again in time to be back to eat at a sensible early hour was just going to be too difficult so we decided to leave the circuit and head back to the hotel.

It turned out to be a good plan as James F and Ramona were still in town and James messaged me to say that they were going to be some time getting out with all the road closures and were hoping to eat a bit later than planned.  Unfortunately for them, my 'crew' were famished and were determined to do the opposite and get some food early to make sure we got an early night.  I had also collected a nasty twinge in my back and it was really playing me up and I was keen to make sure it was well rested before tomorrow.  So we agreed to hang on until Allon had called home, intending to leave for Del Arte at 6.15.    James and Toby came to my room for coffee around 5 pm, which had me in a small panic afterwards as Toby wandered off with my key! 


It was then a case of another meal at Del Arte, the highlight of which was watching Toby devour a huge 'sharing' dessert all by himself!  Then back to the rooms for that most important sleep of the year!