The Le Mans classic event has taken a special role in the calendar of each classic car enthusiast. During the second July weekend 2016, the eighth edition was held of this racing event. A racing event, in which the history of this famous race track is becoming alive. There is no hesitation. Whoever drives his car on the racing car on the track, runs on full throttle. And this causes exciting neck-to-neck race scenes the on the start and finish line beyond the Dunlop arch. Nearly 120,000 spectators came to watch this spectacle.
Around 550 legendary racing car with impressive Le Mans history, went this year onto the track, starting in six different groups. Pre war vehicles started in Grid 1, race cars from 1949 to 1956 in Grid 2, 1957 to 1961 in Grid 3, 1962 to 1965 in Grid 4, 1966 – 1971 in Grid 5 and racing cars built between 1972 and 1981 start Grid 6.
The Friday is devoted to the practice laps. Spectacular, the racing cars drive their rounds of testing as in real competition. This spectacle runs until the early hours of the next morning, because even at the Le Mans Classic, individual races are sheduled in the late hours of the evening.
For many drivers competition is stepping in the background, because the participation itself and to experience the historical spirit of Le Mans is the fulfillment of the biggest dreams. In a new special run, the wedge-shaped racing cars of the 80s Group C went on the track this year. During the special run of the Jaguars, around 60 vehicles of the Coventry production, including Jaguar E-type, D – and C-type and some XK models, were on the show. Andy Wallace drove his Jaguar D-type, which already won the Le Mans race in 1955, crossing the finish line as the winner. 2016 the Ford GT40 was of course also in the spotlight, because of the 50th anniversary of the 1-2-3 victory in 1965.
Of course the famous Le Mans start should not be missed at the Le Mans Classic start. A spectacle, which the spectators always accompany with raging applause. On the command “Gentlemen, start your engines”, the pilots start running to their vehicles parked on the roadside and start the engines. A roar of engines covers the grandstands and the racing cars start their rounds. However, this kind of starting is only performed as a part of the show. The most races begin in the flying start, as it is performed at Le Mans since the early 70’s. The route provides each rider on a hard test, because the long fast straights and short brake zones in some tightly-drawn curves are a real challenge for man and machine. The races don´t last for 24 hours either, but each group runs three times, each spread over the day.
Entertainment is also provided for the young generation at Le Mans. On Saturday, the starting flag was swung for the 90 participants of Little Le Mans, parading along the Bugatti circuit. Drivers in the ages between 6 and 10 years drive with their equally small racing car on the track. The start is of course also started in the legendary Le Mans manner. The winner is everybody who participated in this “race”.
In addition to the current race action, real entertainment is offered at the Le Mans village. A british F.F.V.E race transporter was exhibited there.
Another highlight was the Le Mans Heritage Club Concours, with selected 24 vehicles that were judged by a high-calibre jury. The vehicles had to have participated between 1923 and today on a 24-hour race of Le Mans to be approved. On Sunday afternoon, the jury then awarded prices to the winner of this Concours.
Best of Show: Ford GT40 Mk2 (Robert Kauffman)
1. Klasse 1923-1939: Lorraine-Dietrich (Philippe Leroux)
1. Klasse 1949-1953: DB HBR53 (Dominique Lanlaud)
1. Klasse 1954-1964: Frazer Nash (Bill Holroyd)
Sonderpreis: Panhard X86 (Pierre Mouette)
1. Klasse 1965-1971: Ford GT40 (Frédéric Collot)
Sonderpreis: Nomad BRM (Christophe Brunhes)
1. Klasse 1972-1982: Inaltera 001 (Edgar Richoz)
Sonderpreis: Lola T600 (Jacques Sicotte)
Sonderpreis “Fidélité”: Porsche 934 RSR (Claudio Roddaro: 6 Ausflüge in der le mans 24 Stunden)
1. Klasse 1983-2016: McLaren F1 GTR (François Perrodo)
Sonderpreis: Marcos LM600 (Emeric Bordet)
F.I.V.A. Preis: CD Peugeot SP66 (l ‘ Aventure Peugeot)
F.F.V.E. Preis: Delage 3L (Jean-Michel Collet)