Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday Porsche Blogging: Le Mans After 21 Hours

The annual Le Mans 24 hour race is still going on, it will end at 5:00 PM local time (11:00 AM EDT), Audi is still leading the race with their wonderful diesel powered R10 TDI, however Henri Pescarolo and his Pescarolo Sport, a Courage chassis running a Judd V-10, is just five laps back. Henri Pescarolo is the team manager and a former winner at Le Mans; the team is also the pride of France, being based in the town of Mans.

Porsche is doing its job in the LMGT2 category with the Seikel Motorsport team of Frankfort Germany leading the class. Porsche was recently the only serious competitor in this class until Ferrari, Panoz and others decided to take on Porsche. The Panoz Esperante of Team LNT is seven laps behind the Porsche GT3 RSR of Seikel Motorsport.

There were a few changes at Le Mans this year; yesterday they started the race 1 hour late in order to accommodate the TV schedule for the World Cup soccer matches. This is much better than the 1968 race that was rescheduled for that fall due to student unrest in France that summer. They have also moved the “carnival” and its Ferris wheel to the area near pit-in rather than behind the front-straight grandstands. It has been said that some of the best food in France that weekend can be found on the grounds of Le Mans. The usual camp-site mania seems to be occurring again this year, with car nuts from around the continent gathering in camp sites throughout the area. The 8.3 mile circuit includes public roads that wind through the farm country near the town of Mans and contains plenty of suitable camping sites. Many continental car clubs (especially from Britain) attend the race en masse, gathering at designated camp sites and carrying on in what for them is traditional manner (including copious amounts of alcohol). It is somewhat like Sturgis without the Harleys and less tattoos.


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