Trip to Le Mans - richy
Anyone else been in the past or going this year?
Been wanting to go for a few years but always shyied away from it nearer the time. Booked our tickets for the race and ferry at the weekend so it's definatly going to happen this year.
Anyone got any advise to give to a couple of Le Mans virgins?
Trip to Le Mans - David Horn
I went a few years ago with my dad when he was on a business trip. It was OK, but probably not worth going for especially. Navigating there was fairly unpleasant, but should be easy in the world of sat nav.

Avoid a little cafe along the autoroute that serves yellow chips. Made me ill for days.
Trip to Le Mans - richy
Just re-read my post, sorry forgot to mention going on June 16th for the 24h race. That should make it more worthwhile I think!
Trip to Le Mans - Altea Ego
"Avoid a little cafe along the autoroute that serves yellow chips. Made me ill for days."

Ah that will be the "Spécial Pommes Frittes pour le RossBifs" on the menu.

Ooooh Noo You dont want those!

TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Trip to Le Mans - stevied
Here's some advice: don't floor it as soon as you leave Calais and get a stiff fine! Although the comedy value of being followed by an 'Allo 'Allo plod on a ridiculous motorbike is quite high!
It's a lovely drive, IMHO. Once you get past Rouen, the road is breathtaking in parts.
Trip to Le Mans - Citroënian {P}
Get access to some maintained toilets, preferbly in the ACO stand. If you throw yourself at the mercy of the campsite loos, you'll regret it....If you can manage access to a shower, all the better.

Get there early and be sure to pop into the cafe on the Mulsanne to watch the exotic cars before they close for the race.

Listen to John Hindhaugh on LeMans FM - take a little radio to listen to, it's really good- sad to say that even when I don't make it over there I listed to this on the web over the weekend.

Make sure you get out to the far side of the circuit at during the night, and be sure to sit amongst the trees at the start of the Mulsanne in the dark - the noise as the cars come over, brake and then shoot off is immense - accompanied by the glowing disks, exhausts and flames shooting out as they change down - magic!

Don't plan to get away from the circuit anytime early on the Sunday, unless you leave as the flag goes down at 4pm - predictably lots of traffic; you don't want to be trying to get to a ferry at 7:30 from Caen....

A lot of people seem to think that the whole drive from the ferry to the circuit is without speed limits - there's enough police around to make this a bad idea - and I've seen enough British registered cars in fields and roundabouts to suggest this isn't such a good idea.

You'll have a great time, it's a brilliant experience.

--Lee .. Welcome to Anytown USA
Trip to Le Mans - Citroënian {P}
Oh, and check out

Very good British based website.
--Lee .. Welcome to Anytown USA
Trip to Le Mans - smokie
Thanks Lee, I moderate at the ClubArnage forum too :-)

This is at - slightly less regulated than here. If you want any help from people with ever such a lot of experience of Le Mans, you'll find them there!

This thread in particular has a wealth of information and maps etc (it needs updating for 2006)

2006 will be my 9th year, and it just gets better every year...

Trip to Le Mans - Citroënian {P}
Could do with an edit button....

Be sure to get into town for the drivers parade, and then stay for some food - we ened up having pizza with Martin Brundle and Ricardo Patrese one year...
--Lee .. Welcome to Anytown USA
Trip to Le Mans - Sofa Spud
It gets very crowded and if the sun is out it seems that much fiercer than in UK. Outside the ACO enclosure is hut where they issue free race position charts every hour or so. It's difficult to follow the race simply from watching the cars because they're all on different laps and some of them might have spent an hour of two in the pits.

When you want a break from hours of watching noisy cars going past very fast have a look a the motor museum - it's well worth a visit.

The trinket shops are expensive if you're looking for gifts to bring home.

Take care on the roads down to Le Mans - leave the speeding to the other Brits, Dutch etc in their TVRs, Morgans and Porsches. I haven't been to Le Mans for a few years but I'm told the police are getting very hot on foreigners booting it down to Le Mans

Sofa Spud
Trip to Le Mans - AN Other
Never been to the race, but Le Mans as a place is rather disappointing if you're used to the usual type of French town - dirty, not very attractive, not much to do in the evenings, and obviously possessed of a fairly substantial race relations problem.

I wouldn't be tempted by a night out there, and would do my "French" shopping somewhere else.
Trip to Le Mans - smokie
I've had some rather good nights out in Le Mans, though not during Race Week. I wouldn't say it's better or worse than any other medium size town for the other problems you mention too - never seen any trouble there, which is more than I can say for my home town!

It has the same shops as other towns too.

I spend race week there every year, plus the test weekend (and sometimes visit the other events there).

Usually, people that go to the race camp and socialise at the circuit so the nightlife and state of the town is rather incidental anyway...

For an event which attracts in excess of 250,000 people it is all remarkably good natured and trouble free - unlike some other sports...
Trip to Le Mans - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
I've been to Le Mans twice- once on race weekend.
The centre is clean and attractive, as are most French towns, and the cathedral is well worth seeing.Interesting shop selling Tin Tin and Asterix the Gaul bits and pieces.
Perhaps I am easily pleased.
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
Trip to Le Mans - Altea Ego
"Interesting shop selling Tin Tin and Asterix the Gaul bits and pieces."

"Perhaps I am easily pleased."

NOds - Yup!

TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Trip to Le Mans - mike hannon
The old centre of Le Mans is quite attractive and you can waste time spotting all the handprints and autographs of former 24-heures winners scattered around the shopping centre on bronze plaques in the pavement.
I believe this is a 'Le Mans Classic' year - the one to go to in my opinion.
Beware on the drive down and back - I read yesterday the number of fixed and mobile scameras in France has now reached the 1,000 mark and some of the proceeds from last year's fines (200 million euros) will be financing an extra 500 installations during 2006. Who said the French will never copy anything British?
And please remember, a town name sign with a red border means an automatic 50kph (31mph) limit, whether or not there are separate speed limit signs, as the gleeful gendarmes hiding just behind it with the radar gun will explain to you as they write the ticket...
Trip to Le Mans - smokie
Yep, there is a Classic this year - far less busy than the main event.

It's been previously discussed with respect to speeding, but I'm told that French police can also confiscate any equipment they believe to be a camera , radar or laser detector. (Wonder where that leaves me with my TomTom for which I'm hoping to get the Freench speed camera POIs)
Trip to Le Mans - Lud
Always seemed to me that the race weekend would be a bit gruelling unless you had a hotel room hard by the circuit, came early and left late. The Classic event would certainly have some interesting cars in it though, unlike all the unrecognisably similar Audis and Toyotas they have these days.

Some years ago at a political conference, I think in Eastbourne, held by a third world political movement, I met the then mayor of Le Mans, a socialist lady, who was a delegate. Naturally I tried to talk to her about the 24 hours, but she had nothing interesting to say about it and was indeed thoroughly hostile to the event, I suspect partly because it is so big that it effectively escapes all local control.
Trip to Le Mans - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
Was there in 1988 when the Jaguars won. The rolling start was tremendous with the incredible bellowing from all the engines.
[Much nicer than the painful shrieking from F1.]
Jan Lammers went hammer and tongs from the start with a light fuel load apparently to tempt the Porsches into a mistake and called in at the pits after 40 mins or so. The crowd groaned but that car went on to win IIRC.
The glowing brake discs and the funfair lighting up at sunset meant that this event for modern vehicles was anything but 'dull'.
Tiff Needell broke down in a Cougar with a bit of swearing involded as we walked past.
We nipped into town in a vintage Alvis atound 9pm and it was pretty quiet.
I also usually prefer Historic or vintage racing myself but I'd definitely recommend the 24 Heures du Mans!
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
Trip to Le Mans - AR-CoolC
I too will be popping my Le Man cherry this year, I'm not exactly sure where we're camping as a mate who has been for the last 4 years is doing all the organising.

Can't wait. I'm the same as you and have intended to go a few times but never made it for one reason or another.
Trip to Le Mans - richy
Thanks for all your replies guys, some really helpfull stuff.

AR-CoolC, we will be staying in the 'Beau Sejour' lay by area, if you see two young balding blokes in a red MR2 then come over and have a beer with us. Will have to see nearer the time if any other backroomers will be attending.
Trip to Le Mans - AR-CoolC
I spoke to my mate last night, and we are staying just down from the Dunlop bridge, I can't remember the name of the camp site.
Having a beer sounds like a plan, as you say nearer the time start another thread.
Trip to Le Mans - richy
Less than 2 weeks to go now, will be taking the friday morning speedferry and staying at the Beausejour campsite area, anyone else on here likely to be going?
Trip to Le Mans - Citroënian {P}

No, I can't make it this year -

You'll have a great time though, it's something special, LeMans

Lee -- There\'s no place like
Trip to Le Mans - smokie
I got back from Test weekend last night and will be packing up ready to leave next Sunday to go for the main event. Also travelling Speedferries and staying on Maison Blanche.

The new motorway makes the trip easier.

I expect one of the Audis will win (again). They are diesel powered and are one of the quietest motor racing cars you will ever hear.

Quick advert - did I mention earlier in this thread the other forum I moderate? It's all about the Le Mans 24h (loosely) and can be found at There are some particularly useful items for newbies in the Help forum, and one of the members is collating a huge .pdf full of facts.
Trip to Le Mans - Vin {P}
Link to (much) earlier thread on the same subject:

Trip to Le Mans - AR-CoolC
Were leaving Northampton at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, hoping to get there around tea time.

Staying in Chapelle, which by all acounts is a very noisy place, but hey it's only once a year.

I'll keep an eye out for a red MR2 LOL.
Trip to Le Mans - stevied
Yep you can easily get done by les flics as you leave Calais. My record, set in 2003, was 7 minutes out of Calais. Waved down by René on his bogseat and fined. Very nice to me though. Smiled as he wrote out the ticket... think my French speaking helped a bit.

Le Mans is great. Don'ty get lost in Rouen on the way down though. It was like National Lampoon when me and my mate went "Hey Pete there's Rouen cathedral again..." repeat 4 times as we lapped the ring road.
Trip to Le Mans - Dereksn51
Getting lost in Rouen is de rigeurs for us Brits heading down that way.I did it the year before last when the French cleverly closed a road and diverted everybody to who knows where.The diversion signs just stopped!!And the AA map route went out the window.Anyway as I'm going that way again in 4 days any of you much travelled individuals give the idiots guide to getting through Rouen and onto the A28 without tears?
Trip to Le Mans - John Lemans
Hi richy,
I've just joined in with 'The Back Room' and picked up your enquiry about Le Mans.
You have made a decision you will not regret and if you have even the slightest interest in motor sport you will never look back.
I made my first trip in 1969, and this year will be my 33rd trip. Yes, you can say I am a fanatic.
Anyway, some practical advice. Hopefully you have accomodation or a campsite sorted out, if you have not you are too late !
You can wander from the stands area up towards the 'porsche 'curves' and in the other direction down to 'tetre rouge',both are worth spectating from.
If you have transport you can get to 'arnage' and also to the end of the 'mulsanne straight' They both have veiwing areas and you can get in using your entrance ticket.
Access to half way down the mulsanne straight at the famous restaurant, which is now a 'chinese'! but access is a nightmare and the view is not that good.
I could go on as you will gather but 'email' if you have any querys that you need to have answered...............cheers
Trip to Le Mans - smokie
"Hopefully you have accomodation or a campsite sorted out, if you have not you are too late !"

Check the Sell or Swap forum on the web site I mentioned above. Late cancellations mean some people are reselling camping tickets. At face value too!

This year they have lengthened the pit lane exit for the benefit of the bikes - so the cars coming out of the pit lane drop right into the racing line of cars approaching the Dunlop curves. Should be a lively area...

Trip to Le Mans - smokie
This may look like another blatant plug for my "other" forum, but anybody going to Le Mans, whether for the first or twentieth time, would benefit from the Le Mans Guide which the forum members have just completed. It is a 72 page pdf file and is packed full of useful information, including sections on public transport, where to drink, pit allocations, shopping, how to get there and much much more.

It can be found through this thread.
Trip to Le Mans - richy

So, anyone on here staying in any of the campsites within the track? Could be helpfull having allies at strategic locations around the track...
If so anyone's welcome to join us for a beer at Beausejour!
Trip to Le Mans - AR-CoolC
Richy, good to meet you under the Dunlop bridge, did you like our barrier removal to get our mates on the track at the Porsche curves? lol.

Smokie, there was a bunch of guy's camping across the unused part od the track from us that had Arnage flags, was that you lot? They left behind a large gazeebo.

Well what a fantastic weekend, lovely weather (apart from Wednesday night) and fantastic racing. All finished off by a full chap blast from the Porsche curves to the start of the Mallsaine (sp?) straight on Monday morning.

I hope everyone had a good weekend who was there.
Trip to Le Mans - richy
Hey Wes mate, thanks to you guys I got my first taste of track driving (go karts hardly count do they?) what an experience. Does your mate with the M3 need some new tyres?

Already planning to go next year with more of us, gonna have to get there earlier so's not to end up next to too many french on the campsite!

If you give me your email I've some pics of us on track and video of chasing that EVO back from the Mulsanne.

BTW, "how's that new Zafira?" - covered in dust and splattered bugs and with 1200 more miles on probably, still a free hire car!
Trip to Le Mans - richy
for all those that couldn't go but want a taste of the action:
Trip to Le Mans - AR-CoolC
Yep that was a great 3 minutes.

Some of the comments we got about the Zafira were very funny, people really did think we had it for a three day test drive, even though we were there for 6 days. lol

Just keep the how to get onto the track quiet, as we don't want too many people knowing about it ;)

Mods, I'm happy for you to pass my e-mail address on to Richy.

Ask Honest John

Value my car