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Le Mans 24 Hours


lmSadly, as a result of the Le Mans organisers taking the decision in 2010 to refuse to sell tickets or camping slots to third party retailers other than registered tour operators, the TVR Car Club can no longer offer its members the opportunity to buy tickets for this fantastic weekend of racing.

 

This won't stop many hundreds of members making the annual pilgrimage to the world's most famous motor race, booking their tickets through one of the many operators who do offer packages (albeit consisrably more expensive than we used to offer!).  For the Le Mans virgin, we would suggest that you have a look in the Discussion Forums to see which tour operators other members are using and if possible travel together with other members who have been before.  It really is a unique weekend.

 

Classic Le Mans

 

clmIn recent years, the Classic Le Mans has become increasingly popular with TVRCC members and for 2014, the club is pleased to annouce that we have joined forces with Fast Track Tours and 1st Tickets to offer memmbers what we believe is the very best package to see this iconic race.  Click here for full details.

MapsBeginners GuidePhotoslinksTeam Reports

 

Maps
houx campsite map
le mans circuit map
Houx Campsite
To download a JPEG map of the Houx campsite (admitted now a few years out of date so the ACO may well have moved the plots around), please click on the map above.  Please note, this is a large file (1.1MB) and may take a little while to download if on a dial up connection.  The TVRCC can offer no gurantees as to its accuracy!

Beginners Guide and tips for a more enjoyable Le Mans


lm 1) Electricity
- Houx campsite has elecric points - but you will need a euro plug adapter and probably an extension lead. Points for most lights and loudest stereo. Extra points for television and satellite (no really it does happen!)



2) Water - There are also standpipes for water, with a suitable hose connector, water can be piped direct to your campsite where the experienced will have rigged up a shower. Showers like this can end suddenly when your neighbours disconnect your supply to fill their kettle. Extra points for solar water heating and a curtain for privacy.



3) Pools - Paddling pools are very popular - bigger is better to gain the respect of your neighbours. Great for soaking those aching feet - and keeping your beer cold. Extra points for throwing TVR staff in!



4) Cooling - However to keep beer cold properly a fridge is essential, power is available so no excuses - except a fridge doesn't fit in a TVR, but you are going down in a group with a van containing all your camping gear so the fridge can go in there can't it. Extra points for freezer section with ice cube making facilities for afternoon G&T's.



lm5) Dust - If the weather is good, and the last few years have all been scorchers, then Houx rapidly takes on Sahara proportion levels of dust. Your TVR which you polished for weeks before you left the UK will look like something used in a Lawrence of Arabia epic. A bucket and wash leather will temporarily return its good looks - or you could drink more beer and ignore it as it will need doing again every time someone drives past! Huge respect and points for the few cars that are always spotlessly clean.  Whatever you do, don't be tempted to write your name in the dust as the tiny particles act like a cutting paste and can leave your words indelibly etched in your lacquer!



6) Shade - Many of the pitches are under trees which provide some shade but if you are in the middle of the campsite you will need some shelter if you are typically British and go 'lobster' coloured at the first sign of anything other than rain. Garden 'gazebo' dining shelters are popular but take some tent pegs in cae the wind gets up. Extra points for walls and windows, double points for window boxes.



7) Living Space - Houx pitches are all marked and give you enough space for a TVR and decent family sized tent. Groups tend to pool their plots, parking their TVRs in a line at the edge for easy access, and the tents in the middle round the paddling pool of choice. On no account encroach onto your neighbours plot - especially if the don't have TVRs! To avoid anyone (usually French) encroaching on your plot suitable posts and marking tape are popular. Extra points for crime scene barriers and ornate picket fences.



8) Toilets - There are central toilet facilities, at least the French idea of them, consisting of cubicles with the famous hole in the ground thing that they seem to enjoy. Availability of toilet paper here varies - don't chance it, take some of your own just in case. There are also showers with plentiful hot water, however queues reach extraordinary lengths between 8.30am and lunch. Discipine is ensured at all times by the "Madame" who sits at the door, occasionally she will wander in with a hosepipe and give everything a dousing. If you happen to be in a cubicle you could if you were using a civilised facility just lift your feet, however as there is nowhere to sit as it were you will get wet feet! Extra points for getting back out past Madame without a tip at the desk.


There are also portable 'potakabin' type toilet/shower facilities on Houx. These are modern and usually clean. They are managed by the french family who appear to live in their car alongside the trailer!
Latest tip from Nik and Mel (Tango Tandem) TVRCC cyclists raising funds for Hearing Dogs charity:
forget toilet paper and get yourselves Wet Wipes, medicated, sweet smelling and oh so good on botties that have been on the saddle for 3 days let alone you driver/passenger types. Do they block the facilities? Don't know, don't care!


lm9) Grandstands - Known as tribunes, they offer a reserved seat and in many cases welcome shade to watch the race. Seats are mostly plastic and after ten minutes very hard and uncomfortable. Some people hardly leave them, others prefer to check out all the other good viewing points and return from time to time. A square of camping mat can help ease the pain. Extra points for a fluffy cushion!



10) Shopping - Either the big supermarket in Le Mans if your sense of direction is good, or there is a good one in Arnage that is easier to get to. Go in the opposite direction to all the sportscars loaded down with beer and clinking like milkfloats. They know you are coming and will have removed most of their usual stock except; beer, beer, wine, bread, various sausages / BBQ type meat and a range of cheapy barbeques and charcoal. Extra points for barbecuing those white sausages that look like they are pure lard!



11) Eating Out - Loads of similar food outlets in the track village offering chicken, burgers, frites, baguettes etc. Usually reasonable, sometimes quite good. 'Churros' stalls almost impossible to walk past due to fantastic smell but sugar overload could kill. Don't be tempted by the cafe in the centre of Houx campsite unless you like experimenting with 'meat of indeterminate origin'. Off site, there are many great bars and cafes all round the area, Arnage in particular is always popular (read heaving in every bar) but worth a visit to watch all the different cars going by. Extra points for asking for extra mustard on your hotdog baguette - a whole pot of super strong eye watering 'dijon moutarde' is a normal serving

lm

 

12) Drivers Parade - Essential to get the full atmosphere. Be on the TVRCC coaches on time at 4pm on the Friday. Make a clear note where to meet later - remember you will have consumed biblical amounts of beer inbetween getting off the coach in Le Mans and trying to find your way back to it! The seasoned veterans will have booked a table in any of the good restaurants, if you haven't then good luck or all that drinking will be on an empty stomach! Extra points for viewing the parade from on top of a bus stop - you know who you are!

 

lm13) Photos - Some great photo opportunities as you can get up close. Especially: open pitlane on Friday, drivers parade in Le Mans on Friday night, start of the race trackside if you get there early, end of the race when everyone invades the track - if you can run fast. Otherwise bring a camera with a good zoom or your pics will have lots of scenery and tiny cars. Extra points for bringing a mountain bike, chucking it over the fence as the race finishes and being amongst the first at the winners podium!

 

 

14) What to drink? - Hmm difficult one this. Let me think. Nope, must have killed too many braincells last Le beerMans, Ah got it... beer. Lots, then some for afters, and more for breakfast! Don't bother with cans or odd shaped bottles, the little stumpy bottles are the best as you are expected to create a towering extravaganza outside your tent. Use of 'no more nails' frowned on if found out. Extra points for logos made up out of bottle tops screwed back on - see the Dorset crowd's beer supplies right or the East Sussex efforts below.



15) Driving like a looney - In a word, don't. French plod comes in two flavours; local gendarmes who tend to be reasonably easy going and then the serious paramilitary ones with the big boots and guns who hang round in large groups (usually at the end of the toll routes with stop watches!). They especially like the Mulsanne Straight on the Friday before Le Mans and Sunday night after the race as soon as the roads open to the public again and tend to dish out unpleasant repercussions for anyone wayward. We all know TVRs are louder, faster and better looking than well, let's face it everything else, whereas all the others have something to prove, and will proabably attract the attention of the above trying to do so. No extra points for being caught, actually that's not strictly true: wasn't there some rumour of points being added to your licence for offences in France as well as an on the spot fine...

Paul Calland, tvrcc webmaster --- Got any other good tips? please let us know.

The Essential Le Mans Packing Guide by Debbie Morgan

 

Tent

Sleeping Bags

Mallet

Airbed

Pump for air bed

Electrical Cable (x100m)

French Socket Adapter

Roll of gaffer tape

 

Wash Kit

Nurofen/Alka Seltzer

Wet Weather Gear (in case)

Small FM Radio & earphones

Ear Defenders

Ear Plugs

Torch

Suncream

Soap

Shower Gel

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Deodorant

Towel

Wet ones

Mobile phone

Mobile phone charger

Camera

Camera battery charger

First aid kit

BBQ

BBQ Tools

Fairy Lights

Portable fridge

Mini Calor Gas stove

Saucepan

Electric kettle

Fairy liquid

Pan scourers

Tea Towel

Cutlery – inc tea spoons

Plates

Cups/Mugs

Bin Bags (for rubbish and in case it rains)

Toilet Roll

Kitchen Roll

Collapsible bucket/water container

Bottle opener

Hairdryer

Le Mans Tickets

            Entrance

            Grandstand

            Camping

            Driver’s parade

Ferry Tickets

Passports

Euros

E111 card

Car insurance details

Car recovery details

Prescribed Medication

Spare prescription glasses

Warning Triangle

Tyre Weld

Paddling pool

Flag

Flag pole

 

Tea/Coffee

Sugar

Milk (small cartons UHT)

Personal

Trousers/jeans x 2

Shorts x 2

Underwear

Socks

Polo shirts x2

T-shirts x 2

Rain coat

Boots/trainers

Reefs/sandals/flip flops

Jumper

 

 

The Hangover Guide

Its really aimed at office workers but works at Le Mans too!


1 star hangover
No pain. no real feeling of illness. You slept in your own bed and when you woke up there were no traffic cones in there with you. You are still able to function relatively well on the energy stored up from all those vodka redbulls. However, you can drink 10 bottles of water and still feel as parched as the Sahara. Even vegetarians are craving a Cheeseburger and a bag of fries.

 

2 star hangover
No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You may look okay but you have the attention span and mental capacity of a stapler. The coffee you hug to try and remain focused is only exacerbating your rumbling gut, which is craving a full English breakfast. Although you have a nice demeanour about the office, you are costing your employer valuable money because all you really can handle is some light filing, followed by aimlessly surfing the net and writing junk e-mails.



3 star hangover
Slight headache. stomach feels crap. You are definitely a space cadet and not so productive. Anytime a girl or lad walks by you gag because the perfume/aftershave reminds you of the random gin shots you did with your alcoholic friends after the bouncer kicked you out at 1:45 am. Life would be better right now if you were in your bed with a dozen doughnuts and a litre of coke watching daytime TV. You've had 4 cups of coffee, a gallon of water, 2 Sausage Rolls and a litre of diet coke yet you haven't peed once

 

4 star hangover
You have lost the will to live. Your head is throbbing and you can't speak too quickly or else you might spew. Your boss has already lambasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. You wore nice clothes, but you smell of socks, and you can't hide the fact that you (depending on your gender) either missed an oh-so crucial spot shaving, or, it looks like you put your make-up on while riding the dodgems. Your teeth have their own individual sweaters. Your eyes look like one big vein and your hairstyle makes you look like a reject from a second-grade class circa 1976. You would give a weeks pay for one of the following - home time, a doughnut and somewhere to be alone, or a Time Machine so you could go back and NOT have gone out the night before. You scare small children in the street just by walking past them.



5 star hangover
You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is actually annoying the employee who sits next to you. Vodka vapour is seeping out of every pore and making you dizzy. You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth. Your body has lost the ability to generate saliva, so your tongue is suffocating you. You'd cry but that would take the last drop of moisture left in your body. Death seems pretty good right now. Your boss doesn't even get mad at you and your co-workers think that your dog just died because you look so pathetic. You should have called in sick because, let's face it, all you can manage to do is breathe . very gently.

 

6 star hangover
You arrive home and climb into bed. Sleep comes instantly, as you were fighting it all the way home in
the taxi. You get about 2 hours sleep until the noises inside your head wake you up. You notice that your bed has been cleared for take off and is flying relentlessly around the room. No matter what you do you know, you're going to chuck. You stumble out of bed and now find that your room is in a yacht under full sail. After walking along the skirting boards on alternating walls knocking off all the pictures, you find the toilet. If you are lucky you will remember to lift the lid before you spontaneously explode and wake the whole house up with your impersonation of walrus mating calls. You sit there on the floor in your undies, cuddling the only friend in the world you have left (the toilet), randomly continuing to make the walrus noises, spitting, and farting. Help usually comes at this stage, even if it is short lived. Tears stream down your face and your abdomen hurts. Help now turns into abuse and he/she usually goes back to bed leaving you there in the dark. With your stomach totally empty, your spontaneous eruptions have died back to 15-minute intervals, but your body won't relent. You are convinced that you are starting to turn yourself inside out and swear that you saw your toensils shoot out of your mouth on the last occasion. It is now dawn and you pass your disgusted partner getting up for the day as you try to climb into bed. She/he abuses you again for trying to get into bed with lumpy bits of dried vomit in your hair. You reluctantly accept their advice and have a shower in exchange for them driving you to the hospital. Work is simply not an option. The whole day is spent trying to avoid anything that might make you sick again, like moving. You vow never to touch a drop again and who knows for the next two or three hours at least you might even succeed.

OK, now hands up all those who have never had a six star hangover!! Thought so!

 

Photos
Friday: pit lane open to all
and you can really get close up
Sunday: 3am night time atmosphere is electric
As all the cars finish the crowd surges forward
Bottle Wall
The famous East Sussex Bottle wall!
Houx campsite
You don't have to bring your own race transporter as your support vehicle...but it helps!

 

 

Links

 

For more Le Mans information why not check out the following Le Mans Links:

Le Mans.org - UK version of the official Le Mans website with many sections of pictures of the whole proceedings from setup to finish. Not TVR orientated obviously but a great overview.

Classic Le Mans.  UK version of the official Le Mans Classic website.  Another good overview.

Le Mans weather - ten day weather forecast from weather.com. Looks like it will be hot and sunny!

Radio Le Mans - essential listening from Wednesday morning to Sunday night!  Listen out for the TVR Car Club members' requests!

ViaMichelin - European route planner (includes speed camera locations):

Detailed map of the circuit - from club Arnage

Driving in France - Tips on driving abroad in France, motoring rules, regulations & laws:

Beermountain.com - useful other hints and tips regarding camping at le Mans. Obviously not to be taken too seriously!

Clubarnage.com - race info and coverage reports from previous years

Aysedasis le Mans - huge amount of information, where to watch, previous coverage, directions etc

Le Mans 2005 - race reports from the Team Peninsula TVR during the 2005 race.

www.frixo.com - Frixo is a road / motorway traffic reporting site. It gives users up to date information as the site gets updated every 3 minutes via feeds from various sources including the government's official Highways Agency site.


If you know of any other Le Mans related links you think would be worth adding to this page please let us know.
   
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