Le Mans 24H Moto: Preview
Posted: 7th April 2017
Everything* you need to know - How to get there – How to avoid the Autoroute tolls - Where to sit – What to eat - *Not everything..
The Le Mans 24 Hour motorcycle race starts in just over a week, so here's our guide to making the most of the weekend.
How to Get There
The circuit is located to the south of the city, near where the D323 and D338 cross. The D338 which runs north to south is also the Mulsanne Straight for the Le Mans 24 Hour car race, and most of the access to the circuit is off this road. Access points change from year to year so our advice is to follow the signs... and the crowds.
How to Avoid the Autoroute Tolls
For those travelling on the Autoroutes, there will be no tolls charged for motorcycles from 10:00am on Friday to 10:00am on Monday on the A11, A81, A85 and A28 near Le Mans. There will also be 'Relais Motards” centres at key service stations on the run in to the circuit, operated by the FFMC club. Free services will be offered on the spot (depending on the sites); hot and cold drinks, food, minor repairs, visor cleaning, oil level checked, chain greased, tyres inflated, message board, first aid, etc.
Where to Sit
The only place to be for the start of the race is in the stands or on the terraces opposite the pit boxes on the start finish straight. These are free but start to fill up early, so plan on being there several hours before the official race start time of 3:00pm. There will be support races, stunt shows, presentations and so on as part of the build up to the race.
After the start and as the crowds thin, take a stroll up towards the first corner, Courbe Dunlop. This is one of the fastest turns in bike racing and is a breathtaking place to watch. A short walk further round the track is the Ralentisseur Dunlop, the left-right chicane leading to the Dunlop Bridge. There'll be a lot of out-braking – and over-braking – manoeuvres going on here making this another great spectator spot.
Cross the track via the bridge to get access to the inside of the circuit, from where you can walk to the La Chapelle corner, the Musee bends or stroll to the Paddock Village shopping and trade zone. A tunnel from Musee takes you down towards the Chemin Aux Boeufs chicane and Garage Vert corners.... Don't forget you've got all day and all night to watch, so take your time and enjoy the sights. Tickets to allow access to the stands above the pit boxes and some areas of the paddock can be purchased on site.
What to Eat
There are plenty of food and drink outlets around the circuit, and it's unusual to have to queue for long – a welcome change for those of us used to British circuits. There are also proper restaurants at the edge of the pit complex. There'll be a concert on Saturday night, in the area near the Dunlop Bridge on the outside of the circuit.
Words: Martin Gelder - Photo: ACO