Le Mans Guide

Le Mans Guide hero image

24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most famous and prestigious events in motor racing.

Experiences

Live the greatest race in the world ...and much more!

Every year some 250,000 spectators descend on a small town in north-western France for the annual Le Mans 24 Hours Race , the most famous endurance race in the world.

This year will be no exception with 56 cars competing in the legendary 'twice around the clock' race on the 13th and 14th of June 2015 . The Audi-Peugeot duel will be top of the bill again. The two rivals both have new cars of very similar performance, so you can be sure of an exciting race and a close finish.

Ferrrari, BMW, Porsche, Corvette, Lotus, Aston Martin ... will all be there battling for the first place.

Le Mans 24 Hours offers a full weekend of events proving that at Le Mans "every second is a new emotion".

The great drivers' parade takes place in the town centre on 12th June, as well as vintage car races and Ferrari's curtain raiser... And of course, the start of the 24 Hours Le Mans at 15:00 on the 13th June.

At Le Mans 24 Hours lasts a whole week!

History

Le Mans 24hr race since 1923

Le Mans has hosted a 24-hour race since 1923, stopping only briefly for The Great Depression and the Second World War.

The race was set up by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) to test both car and driver for endurance and reactions. This has led to car manufacturers being forced to innovate in order to allow better aerodynamics, fuel efficiency and braking and Le Mans regularly features new designs from some of the biggest names in racing (known as Le Mans Prototypes, or LMPs).

Although the 13.6km track, named the Circuit de la Sarthe, has seen many tweaks over the years (most notably the inclusion of chicanes on the straight to stop drivers going too fast) the basic layout has remained the same. Some sections use public roads which can be driven on in the days leading up to the race before being closed off, giving you a unique opportunity to get an insight into the experience of the competitors (except at a slower and safer speed of course).

The events

Le Mans Drivers' Autograph Session

Every year fans get the chance to meet their heroes with the Drivers' Autograph Session, and those lucky enough to get their hands on a General Enclosure, Grandstand, or VIP weekend ticket will get a chance to explore behind the scenes with guided pit walks, offering a unique first-hand experience of the track.

One of the most popular non-race events traditionally occurs on the Friday, when the competitors take part in the Drivers' Parade through the centre of Le Mans. The carnival-style event not only gives spectators the opportunity to get up close to both classic cars and drivers, but also to enjoy a huge street party. Each year is more colourful and livelier than the previous; expect music, dancing and the odd cheeky display of bravado from some of the best drivers in the world today.

If you're feeling the need for speed then the high velocity events begin mid-week, with free practice sessions and qualifying practice sessions warming up the tyre rubber. These are normally followed by more qualifying practice sessions in the following days.

Le Mans 24hr race

As the main race approaches on the Saturday there are a number of support races which make for an equally impressive spectacle. In the morning, the Le Mans Legend takes place, a unique event reserved for cars that have previously competed in Le Mans. Each year a different era is picked from the past and drivers range from amateurs to former champions, such as Sterling Moss.

Of course, after all this excitement it's easy to forget that you have 24 hours of one of the greatest races on the planet to cap it all off. You can watch all the action first hand or on one of the eleven giant screens scattered around the race area, grandstand and village, so you don't have to miss one nail-biting minute.

 

Accommodation and tickets

The ACO opens several campsites around the circuit for the event. Most are only a short walk from the track and are connected to the village by a small train.

You will need to get a special camping ticket, normally one per vehicle required, and the best campsites sell out fast, so be sure to book as early as possible.

Tickets can be bought directly from the ACO at the official Le Mans race website. To see the race you will need at least an Enceinte General ticket (general admission), but separate tickets are needed for the grandstands.

For more tips and advice see our guide to camping in France.

Other sights

The city of Le Mans itself should not be overlooked, with its stunning architecture and amazingly-preserved old town.

An ancient settlement, the remains of a Roman wall and amphitheatre can be seen in town and the cobbled streets may seem familiar as the setting for Gérard Depardieu's film adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Paris is just a 2 hour drive away, so if you want to take a break from the racing festivities and do something a little different why not check out our guide to
shopping in Paris?

Whether you're a huge racing fan or just interested in experiencing one of the most incredible and exciting events on the sports calendar then be sure not to miss the "24 Hours of Le Mans" event.

Circuit des 24 Heures
72019 LE MANS CEDEX 2

Phone : 02 43 40 24 24
Fax : 02 43 40 24 15
Information and tickets at: www.24h-lemans.com

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Photo Credits: Porsche and Ferrari by fisico_6408, classic cars by wineboar, driver and racing car by Level 5 Motorsports.

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from £23
Prices start from £23 per car, each way* *£23 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day. Book your travel now