So, it's just coming up to midday on the 18th September. A little over three weeks since I last posted. Yesterday I watched free practice 2 and 3 and qualifying from Le Mans. This morning I watched free practice 4 and the 'Hyperpole' session. As I've decided that I will (admittedly somewhat bizarrely) write a 2020 'Story', I'm not going to say too much about it here, but it was a truly weird experience.
Right up until 10th August I had still hoped to be there. The ACO's 'Closed Doors' decision came as a huge blow and I knew that this week would be psychologically tough for me, with the race going ahead and not being there for the first time for 35 years. As I sat down to listen to free practice 1 on Radio Le Mans (as ridiculously it wasn't being broadcast on any stream), it felt really strange. When I started watching free practice 2 on Eurosport, listening to the RLM commentary, 'strange' turned to something else. It's difficult to describe the feeling. Both James F and I described it as being 'soul-less' somehow, sitting at home watching something that we should have been completely immersed in at the circuit. I was bordering on angry, certainly massively frustrated but of course powerless to do anything else but try and make the most of it.
The saving grace - and it will be very much that for the race itself - is that I have a car to cheer on. Son Toby has been working for Nielsen Racing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup and ELMS and a couple of weeks ago got the call up to join the LMP2 team for the Big One. I was therefore able to watch the car's progress on screen and on the timing screens and we managed to keep up quite a good dialogue on Whatsapp, with him sending me photos and video as and when he was able to. Thank goodness for that! Something to keep me interested in the event. It is near blasphemous to think of the low level of my enthusiasm for this year's event having lived and breathed Le Mans for the past 35 years but I really feel absurdly indignant that they have had the temerity to run the world's greatest motor race without me being there. The cheek of it!
So, I shall settle down on Saturday at the unusual time of 1.30 pm to watch the race. I plan to watch it all of course and I hope I get some enjoyment from it, I particularly hope that the #24 Nielsen car goes well and gets a finish. After that, I shall write something about Le Mans 2020. It's going to be a much shorter story than usual, that's for sure!