«The Club Arnage Guide to the 24 hours of Le Mans 2015 Every input was pure reflex - things were coming at me everywhere I looked. For about 50 ...»
73 The Club Arnage Guide to the 24 hours of Le Mans 2015 The A.C.O. village With its numerous bars, food outlets and shops, the A.C.O. village represents the hub of the circuit. ‘Le Village’ sprawls from the Dunlop Chicane and the furthest reaches of the Interior Musée campsite, down towards the pit straight, where it peters out into a maze of team hospitality tents which fill the paddock area behind the pit lane. At its centre is the main square which is served by a giant TV screen, showing live streaming of the race. Here you will find the majority of the modern permanent structures which house toilet facilities, retailers and hospitality suites. Food and drink is expensive wherever you go around the circuit but not extortionate. The Village is no exception, and you will find a good variety including fast food, basic sit down meals, crêpe stalls and bars which serve beer, brandy and champagne in abundance. This place really comes alive during the race and at night the atmosphere is friendly and inviting, encouraging you to stay up to the wee hours and follow the race for as long as you can keep your eyes open!
Around twenty signs in Michelin colours have been erected to make it easier to find your way around, in addition to more of the traditional plans of the circuit on the “Decaux” boards.
Golf Course There is a 18 hole course at the bottom of the Mulsanne Straight, not surprisingly it’s called “Golf des 24 Heures”.
Drive down Mulsanne Straight, turn right at the Mulsanne Corner roundabout and turn first right in to Golf Club. The club house is the building on the inside of Mulsanne corner.
Golf des 24 Heures Phone: +33 (0)2 43 42 00 36, +33-(0)2-43 42 00 10 (Clubhouse), Fax: +33 (0)2 43 42 21 31 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://golfdes24heures.free.fr First aid – the Medical Center Sometimes bad luck hits and you might be in need of a doctor. The Medical Centre is near to the old Motor Museum building. Plenty of doctors and nurses are on duty there and usually you will find someone who speaks also English or German. The author of these lines brought a mate of him there some years ago and these people did a great job.
They were very friendly and helpful and there is probably a lot of volunteer work involved, so full kudos to these people! A new purpose built medical centre was opened in May this year, which replaces the old pre-fabs so it should be even better equiped now.
There are also a few paramedic vans posted around the circuit - ask for “poste de secours” or “poste medicale”. In '09, there was one in the car park next to the Bleu Nord campsite, just opposite the circuit entrance. The paramedics were extremely helpful when we needed some assistance - they were glad of something to do. Nb - if you need treatment make sure you can show them any drugs that you are taking already (legal or illegal).
Banking services / ATMs at the circuit There are 3 ATMs at the circuit. One is located near the center of the village, next to the Racing Legends stand, as you come from the new tunnel it is on the left as you enter the new village area, the second is at the opposite end of the same row of buildings, on the way to the “Restaurant du Balcon”, the third is by pedestrian entrance E3 (from Parking Blanc.) Internet Access Wi-Fi Hotspots: A free wireless internet access point is available at the McDonalds on the Mulsanne straight (1st chicane), actually all McDonalds branches in Le Mans seem to offer this service. A commercial hotspot seems to be available at the racetrack, a search on the internet found this company: Neuf Telecom, Rue des Raineries, Le Mans, Phone +33-(0)2- 43402510. According to www.jiwire.com there is now a free Wi-Fi connection at Arnage airport. This appears to be provided by Orange and runs on 802.11b. If this proves to be accurate then those campers on Bleu Nord might be able to access this hotspot. Should you stumble across other Wi-Fi hotspots this year, please update this page or drop us a mail.
French Data SIM Card offers in the UK: There are several offers on the web for Pay-Monthly data SIM cards for use whilst in France, e.g. at http://www.0044.co.uk/france/data-sim-card-pay-monthly.htm#tabs.
Data SIM Card offers in France: There is a SFR store next to the Carrefour and where you can buy such cards, see http://www.sfr.fr/mobile/offres-detail/pass_internet_3g_plus?vue=000mg0. In 2011 a USB stick with a SIM to access the internet cost 9.90 € for 3 days, you could recharge those for 9.00 € for another 2 days unlimited internet access.
There are also good PAYG offers from Leclerc and Auchan supermarkets and from Orange. An overview about other options can be found at http://prepaidwithdata.wikia.com/wiki/France. However, please note that French internet is very regulated and you must produce proof of identity and address to sign up in France. We're not aware how these companies react to overseas visitors so any feedback on this aspect would be most welcome.
Visitors with physical disabilities A first-hand report by Deborah Dudley From the A.C.O. website: “People with a physical handicap of 80% or above will be granted free entrance to the circuit on the presentation of their disability certificate. The accompanying person must normally pay for their ‘General Enclosure’ ticket. A ‘disabled reception’ has been put in place near to the ‘Consiergerie’ and the ‘Porte des Italiens’ (In the stands area), ‘Tribune Dunlop’, ‘Musée’ and ‘P5’ (Village). These points have been added to the permanent buildings: ‘P16’, the stands situated above the team garages, the race control centre, the A.C.O. stand, ‘Houx’ and ‘Maison Blanche.”
That's it for the official version!
In reality, the situation is both better and worse. Following a car smash in 2008, I have now had the opportunity to sample the A.C.O.'s disabled facilities at first hand. There's no doubt that you're better off with a helper (or preferably two given that we're talking, in my case, about nearly 40 hours without sleep here), mainly because the surfaces at Le Mans are poorly suited to the average wheelchair. Every bit of gravel or broken beer-bottle conspires to make your passage around the circuit a nightmare and a trip out to Tertre Rouge, Arnage or Mulsanne is virtually impossible although some of my fellow wheelchair users have driven round to TR during qualifying without being challenged. Whatever, you can still have a good time.
If you're alone, there is a disabled person's Concierge - I have never found out where they are based because since this was added, I have always found that one of the helpers tends to find me, and they are a great help in showing you around, pushing you up ramps, and explaining the best places to go. As well as the two stands listed, there are according to the ACO, also places to watch in the Pits grandstand and at Race Control, but I've yet to find these. If you should do so, please let me know for next year's guide.
A.C.O. members have the added problem of needing to get their wristbands from the horribly-placed new members area up by La Chapelle. Without my galant helper the first year, I would have been well and truly stuffed in this respect. However, having had one dreadful experience with this, I went to the ACO truck just by the tunnel exit in the village and they were able to provide me with a wristband which saved a lot of hassle. If in doubt, ask - many of the ACO staff and helpers speak French. If you have seats in the ACO grandstand then in theory, disabled people can get in via a lift and the staff were, as ever, eager and willing to help. However, when I did ask I was taken up to the top (nice view and all, no doubt) where, unless one had a helper to go and get some assistance from the staff, one was stuck, as the lift had no call button on the exit side! Goodness knows what you're supposed to do if you need the loo….. or a drink…. or to go home again… On the plus side, the disabled loos are good, easy to access, and these days available all around the cicuit. There are even disabled-accessible showers in the lavatory block behind the pits grandstand. The tramway system makes direct access between the ciruit and the city of Le Mans a piece of cake, although the downside is that you can't get from corner to corner very well. However, it's one of the easier ways to get to Tertre Rouge as it's ramps all the way (although some are pretty steep and hard work in hot weather). The little trains are an option for those with limited mobility but not for those unable to tackle a step or two.
The A.C.O. is doing its best to accommodate people with disabilities but ultimately this is a motor racing circuit and, let's face it, it's huge and in many ways has out of date facilities. Whatever, you can still have a good time and one thing I felt the first time I had to do this was that at the end of the race that I had done it - I watched 22 out of 24 hours of the race - I breathed in the atmosphere and I felt the real LM buzz. What more can you ask?
76 The Club Arnage Guide to the 24 hours of Le Mans 2015 Le Mans – Not Just ‘Boys With Toys.’ By Robert Walsh So, as you’re probably aware by now, I love Le Mans. I do, it’s like an itch I can’t scratch. Every year I start planning my next trip in November and then I’m off again every June. Now, some people think that Le Mans (and racing in general) is simply boys and their toys, that there’s nothing more to racing than a bunch of blokes rocketing round and round in circles for 24 hours. Others might see racing as unjustifiable on safety and environmental grounds, what good comes of drivers risking their lives and expending vast amounts of fuel, tyres, oil and a myriad of other consumables just so three drivers can stand on a podium and waste perfectly good champagne by spraying it everywhere rather than drinking it? It’s environmentally unfriendly, physically dangerous and unjustifiable in the modern world. Sorry to say this, haters, but the facts say otherwise.
YOU. ARE. WRONG.
And now I’m going to explain why… Chances are that most of you, even the most environmentally-concerned, safetyconscious, politically-correct muesli-eating, sandal-wearing killjoys among you, drive a vehicle of some kind. Not some fire-breathing, supercharged, gas-guzzling two-seater sportscar that you’ll never get to stretch to its limits on ordinary roads, but ordinary road-going cars, vans and suchlike that you can buy just about anywhere. And you’re probably thinking that a bunch of speed demons whizzing round a track for 24 hours has absolutely nothing to do with you. Guess what?
YOU. ARE. WRONG.
One of the purposes of the Le Mans 24 Hours is the conception, testing and improvement of new technology. Since the first race in 1923 that covers all manner of things that appear on pretty much ANY road-going vehicle you might ever have driven. Improved engines, improved tyres, improved brakes, aerodynamics, new fuels and engine management systems that you’ll find on your daily driver were devised, tested and refined at Le Mans long before they became standard on the car and/or van parked outside your house and, just to make it clear that you yoghurtknitters profit as much from the race as anybody else, here are a few relevant facts.
Engines. Every vehicle has them, and a lot of the improvements that you’ll find as standard on your road car were once cutting-edge ideas developed for racing. It was at Le Mans that engines were constantly improved to give greater reliability, higher speeds, better general performance and increased fuel efficiency. Yes, my tie-dye-wearing brethren, it was on the racetrack that this demand first arose. It was from racing that engines improved to the point they’re at today and it’s from racing that the standard engine-management systems on today’s road cars, the reliability that gets you where you need to be when you need to be there and improved performance that gives you some extra power just when you need it.
The aerodynamic revolution that was the D-Type Jaguar.
77 The Club Arnage Guide to the 24 hours of Le Mans 2015 Aerodynamics. Simply put, the better the aerodynamics on your daily driver the faster it can go, the less fuel it burns to get you where you’re going and the smaller the engine needed for the same performance. Guess where aerodynamics and car design met in the middle? Yes, you’ve guessed it, it was Le Mans. To win the race drivers needed higher top speeds while putting the minimum strain necessary on engines, brakes, gearboxes and transmissions. That meant lowering a car’s weight and making it as streamlined as possible. Designers had been toying with aerodynamics (still a somewhat black art at the time) even before the Second World War, but it was Jaguar designer Malcolm Sayer who used principles of aircraft design to produce the C and D-Type Jaguars in the 1950’s. After the Jaguars spent much of the 1950’s sweeping all before them at Le Mans other teams followed suit and that also trickled down into everyday road cars. More on the Jags and a certain other vital innovation later…
The C-Type Jaguar, with its then new-fangled disc brakes..