This blog entry is about the long course where some of the world's best drivers, teams, and manufacturers/teams contest for 24 hours to determine who wins overall and in class. Welcome to the sportscar racing Odyssey known as Le Mans. For me personally, this is a motorsports holiday weekend for me.
^ from: neogaf.com, by way of photobucket.com - At 8.4667 miles in length, Le Mans is a total test of man vs. machine. This track may not be as well-liked as the Nürburgring 24 course (which is about four or five miles longer), it's still one of the greatest race tracks in the world.
Le Mans is often called the Grand Prix of Endurance. The fact that this race is held during almost the middle of the year means that there is a lot of daylight at this track for the Le Mans endurance. It is a race for the racers and an incredible lifestyle event for fans. There is no denying what this race means for lots of racers and fans alike. Only about 1/16 of this course is the Bugatti Circuit. The other 15/16 of Le Mans is the intense track that's full of surprises for 24 straight hours.
The lap begins down the front straight of the Bugatti Circuit. You go smoothly into the right-handed Dunlop Curve, then you have to make ready to tackle the decisive Dunlop Chicane (Turns 2 and 3, a left-right chicane). A little kink follows as you leave the Bugatti Circuit into the Esses. The Esses make up this left-right chicane. Tertre Rouge is tricky. It is a sharp right-hand corner that can somehow be taken at full speed or by letting off the throttle a bit. After Tertre Rouge is the thrilling full-speed blast down the Hunaudieres (or more commonly referred to as the Mulsanne Straight. It may be straight, but it isn't smooth. You'll be feeling lots of bumps at speed. After hauling butt down the Hunaudieres, you take on the first of two chicanes, a right-left complex called the L'Arche Chicane. The chicane isn't extremely tight or anything, but it's just enough to kill your speedfreaking ways. It's now back on the Hunaudieres. Up next is a left-right chicane complex called La Florandière. You head into the Mulsanne Kink as the road goes a bit to the right after having gone one way. A sharper right-hand kink sets you up for the Mulsanne corner. Mulsanne is a VERY sharp right-hander. Upon exiting Mulsanne Corner, the road narrows down to a two-lane road with grass on the outsides. The road features a brief series of right-hand kinks as you go full speed. The final right-hand kink sets you up for the first of two 90° corners. Now, the course gets serious. The first is a sharp-left called Indianapolis. It's called Indianapolis because of how it is a banked corner, similar to the banking in the corners on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's oval course. A brief straight leads to the tougher of the two corners (in my view)- D'Arnage. D'Arnage is a 90° right-hand turn. The road after D'Arnage sweeps a bit to the left in preparation for the Porsche Curves. The entry to the Porsche Curves is smooth, and your driving better be smooth as you go progressively uphill. The Porsche Curves begin as a smooth right and goes uphill to a smooth left that decreases in radius. After that is a relatively sharp right-hander (Maison Blanche) followed by a sharp left kink. A long straight with a fast chicane follows as only two corners await you at the end. Pit road is to your right down this final straight. Finally, the Ford Chicanes await. Take them just right to complete your one-lap adventure. Ride the curbs if you have to. Both of them are a series of left-right sections. After that, do this almost 8.5 mile joyride again! :)
Here is a lap around this course, taken from the documentary "Truth in 24":
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