GT40 Enthusiasts Club

GT40 Enthusiasts Club
Le Mans Trip - 1996.
by: Ken Saunders, Club Chairman

Fortification is the Club Magazine of the GT40 Enthusiasts Club
Copyright: GT40 Enthusiasts Club 1996

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This year's trip to Le Mans will include a tour passing through the Loire valley an area which was greatly enjoyed on our 1995 trip. Our group this year will consist of twelve GT40's plus two other vehicles one being our backup vehicle with a small trailer. This will carry luggage, tool and spares for the group. We will be meeting up with other GT40 Replica Club members on Thursday and on Saturday at Le Mans.

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the first win for the GT40 at Le Mans and taking this number of GT40 replicas to Le Mans will certainly mark the milestone. If our reception in France and particularly at Le Mans last year is anything to go by our reception this year with twice as many cars should be tremendous.

The week will start from the channel tunnel at Dover and you are required to arrive at the terminal by 12 noon on Saturday 8th.June. We will gather together our group and meet with Eurotunnel personnel and the motoring press, visiting the tunnel exhibition centre and restaurant and participating with the cars in photo opportunities prior to our embarkation around 2pm. I will provide each car with full details of the accommodation together with location maps. It will probably not be possible to stay together in one group when we are on the road and you are therefore advised to ensure that you have suitable maps to navigate your own route.

On arrival in France we will motor down to Rouen (- 130 miles) were we will stay overnight. We can visit town in the evening to look around.

On Sunday we will motor on down to Le Mans (- 125 miles) were we will have an opportunity to drive around most of the circuit and visit the Le Mans motor museum. We will stay overnight in Le Mans.

We will then motor on via Chateau du-Loir to Tours (- 50 miles) sight seeing and visiting places of interest. We stay in Tours and motor onto Poitiers (- 65 miles) to visit the Val de Vienne race circuit with, I hope, possible track time. There is also the Futuroscope Theme park nearby. We stay in Poitiers overnight and motor onto Angers (- 90 miles) via the Loire Valley visiting one or more vineyards on route. If you wish to make purchases, unfortunately we have only limited space in the backup vehicle and therefore we will be unable to carry too many crates.

We will stay in Angers and we will have a group dinner at the Restaurant where we had a very enjoyable evening and excellent food on our 1995 trip. The cost of the evening then which included lots of wine was 16OF (21) per person.

We will motor up to Laval (- 50 miles) where we will stay until Saturday morning. On Thursday evening we will attend the final qualifying session (7pm - 9pm and 10pm - 12.30pm) at Le Mans.

On Friday evening we will be attending the 'Grande Parade des Pilotes des "24 heures du Mans" which is a parade of classic cars associated with the 24 hours race at Le Mans with drivers from the race both past and present. We will take part in the parade and attend the official reception in the centre of Le Mans. The 24 hours race starts at 4pm on Saturday but the show starts around 10am.

We have reserved car parking at the Le Mans circuit. Last year we had very little hold up getting into the car park and we were generally ushered through and given VIP treatment. As you know the cars do attract a lot of attention but perhaps because of the security, damage and the like just was not a problem. I therefore do not expect us to have any problems this year. I have not included any accommodation on Saturday night (unless you have specifically booked it) as most of us will stay at the circuit for the duration perhaps catching a quick nap in the car during the night. This is not necessarily easy as you may be kept awake by the enthusiasts using flash to photograph the GT40's.

In the circuit there are a tremendous number of entertainments, snack bars, restaurants, drinking places and stalls offering all sorts of goods for sale. Like on most circuits on major race days the goods on offer are priced to suit the circumstances! Films are particularly expensive.

I recommend that you bring an FM walkman type radio with headphones to listen to the English language radio Le Mans transmissions which start on Wednesday and continue throughout the rest of the Le Mans event providing a commentary on the happenings. Just before the start/finish line and within sight of the grandstand and surrounding area is a very large video screen which during the race provides pictures of the race from various viewpoints around the circuit. You may wish to include a monocular or binoculars to assist with your viewing of the video screen, the activity in the pits or that on the circuit.

At the end of the race are the presentations etc. and if last year is anything to go by we shall get away from the circuit around 5.30pm. We will be staying overnight in Le Mans and we will no doubt arrange for a group 'last supper'. On Monday morning we will leave and drive directly back to Calias and then via the channel tunnel return to sunny England and home to more mundane activities.

I am planning to be there with my GT40, so I will see you at Le Mans!

Robin Sundt.

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