June 16, 2012
Le Mans on Parade
June 16 – Le Mans, France – On public roads and the winding track of this French town, a racing event is under way for the 80th time, a moment again uniting some of the greatest drivers and sports enthusiasts in a summer motor festival worthy of its world status.
I’m a first-timer here and – while no stranger to racing events – am taking in the lore and latitude (it’s light until 10 p.m.) of the 24-hour endurance test and its pre-race build up with respect and excitement.
Friday was the Le Mans parade, when driver and fan both hit the local roads, partly to salute the host city, but mainly as a ritual acknowledging the legends and legions who have gone before, as well as the grueling task ahead.
For a quarter of a million fans here, many of whom are in tents and literally embedded in the community atmosphere, it is equally about parceling out energy over the three or four days of peace, love and racing – or make that the love of racing – as Le Mans’ past, present and future are equally embraced.
That history, I am told, dates to Roman days, with remnants of walls, baths and an amphitheater to be found, as well as many nods to its place in racing annals.
Within the Le Mans gates, though, fans seem undaunted by the rains of the last two days, awaiting the roar of engines and then the car lights later today that will keep the revelry going through the night.
And what a show lies ahead, not the least of which includes the Nissan DeltaWing, the LMP2 series cars, and Le Mans drivers and aficionados each completing their own endurance tests.
Stay tuned for live streaming, videos, pictures and reports that will try to bring the best of Le Mans to you.
Editor-in-Chief, Nissan Global Media Center