Le Mans 2015 - Ayse's Story
Page 11 - Saturday 13th June
83, 720 and a 7 Hour Stint.....
The build up to the start of the 24 Heures du Mans was as inspiring as it is every year and although the lengthening of the Ten Tenths meeting has now tended to cut down the time that we have to enjoy the pre-race 'festivities', I still enjoyed them and was able to spot a number of drivers, both past and present, mingling down on the track in front of us.
Soon however, the 'show' was under way and the cars flashed past both the start/finish line and my camcorder's lens for the first time, the 83rd running of the world's greatest motor race was under way. The race opened to what we all hoped would be an epic battle between Audi and Porsche with, rather sadly, Toyota falling back at a rate of knots in what seemed almost a forlorn performance when compared to the front-running effort of last year's clear favourites.
This turned out to be a real mammoth session for us in T17. Its one of those aspects of the race that we particularly enjoy, just sitting, watching the race unfold in front of us, getting to the first set of pit stops and then on for several hours viewing the activity in the pits as well as on the track. From those atmospheric moments as the cars make their way around that first pace lap and then burst through in front of us, the grandstand gradually empties as people head off, perhaps back to the campsites to get the barbecue going, or off to dinner somewhere, or just to watch the race from somewhere else, but we sit tight. In 2014, we had left the stand at about 5.45 to go to the Espace Club to meet Allon and Nane (as well as Andy and Julie). Allon was out and about again this year as he didn't have a grandstand seat and he texted me just before 6 pm, again at 6.50 and once more at 7.15, but we were still firmly glued to our seats! In T17, we have the advantage of food and drink 'on tap' and nice loos, so we don't have to wander off anywhere for refreshments or a watering stop!
At 8.45, fully 7 hours after we had entered the grandstand and already nearly at quarter distance in the race we finally decided it was time to get up and stretch our legs. It had been an extraordinarily long time to stay in one place but really didn't feel like it at all, so absorbed were we in the race. I suppose its a clear illustration of our priorities. We go to Le Mans each year to enjoy ourselves of course, but more than anything else we go to watch the race - after all, it only happens once a year....