Since the firsts Le Mans Classic, traders and fairground vendors, as well as food shops, were initially grouped in the Village, core of the circuit. Then, little by little, new villages have popped up, with restaurants, shopping, and other distractions. Thus offering spectators -together with the 8500-car open air museum formed by the clubs, salutary pit stops while ambling throughout the circuit after having met musicians and other itinerant artists. Almost enough to forget for a moment the tens of thousands of cars present all over the circuit, including the various manufacturers’ displays. Another of the great attractions of Le Mans Classic, the Artcurial Auction, takes place nearby the pre-grid.
► The Artcurial Auction
Le Mans Classic, one of the most important venues for historic motor racing, is the perfect place for an auction, the highlight of a first-class historical event. Collectors from afar, as well as onlookers, flock there with enthusiasm. The former to get their hands on the coveted beauty at any price, the latter to marvel at it and, who knows, to jump on an unexpected opportunity. This is the magic of auctions…
This year Artcurial, once again responsible for the Le Mans Classic auction, will present a superb collection of motorbikes and more than 140 cars, including the Porsche 935 “Baby” #L1… which distinguished itself in the German Championship, and took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1981), the 6 Hours of Silverstone, Brands Hatch and the Nürburgring. For 18 years in the hands of the current owner, it has also taken part in the most important historic races.
There is also the helmet signed by all the Tour Auto winners since its beginning in 1992, the entire proceeds of which will be donated to the Bongela School in South Africa for the construction of a canteen and a kitchen, a sine qua non for the 200 children who often come from far and wide! So, it is not any helmet, it is a part of thirty years of historic racing. So don’t hesitate, it is a charity … Set a bid!
Timetable – Saturday 2 July:
11:00 – Automobilia – Motorcycles – 13:30 – Classic cars
► The exhibitor villages
In the Village in the Le Mans Classic’s core, but also all around, at the back of the stands and among the paddocks, an ever-increasing number of traders are setting up their stalls, all under the banner of automotive passion: miniatures, accessories, modern and old books, watches, hats, gloves and clothes, jewelry, helmets, paintings, sculptures, antique relics from the racing age… A teeming mix of temptations and curiosities that constantly accelerate the shopper’s curiosity and send him from one stall to another in these unique villages.
► The Catering
In three days of festivities, eating time comes quite often and each one will find food to his taste and hunger… The most varied food-trucks dispense a fast-food -which imposes itself in the temple of speed; good and of all origins, Italian, Greek, Turkish, English, American and of course French. Chefs – starred – are also transported to this ephemeral centre of the world as in the Welcome, the Panoramic and Heritage Spaces which welcome the Packages’s holders.
► The party
A retrospective of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Le Mans Classic is a gigantic party for car fans who can, with their lesser-interested companions, spend an exceptional weekend. Between the Artcurial auction, open-air cinema sessions, the tour of all the shops – or almost – because there are many of them – one can spend, day and night, from one entertainment to another and moreover, of any kind: dance, hairdressing, barber, or even be ecstatic in front of the crazy demonstration of the wall of death, listen to or follow the Bagad, follow the classic planes circumvolutions, visit the motorbike village, the Motul garage…
► The Drive-In
Who has never dreamed of entering one of these open-air “drive-in” cinemas? This fashion, which came from the United States, combined the two main national industries: Car & Cinema. As a great celebration of the automobile in all its forms, Le Mans Classic also revives this atmosphere!
The LED display, located near the motorbike village, will program three sessions – 18:00, 21:00 & 23:00… Headphones on, each spectator, in a comfortable deckchair, will be able to see and/or see again Ghostbusters; James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me; Fast & Furious; Mad Max, Back to the Future and of course, Le Mans Classic obliges, Le Mans 66.
► The Manufacturers
The manufacturers have not forgotten that the 24 Hours of Le Mans was originally created to “test endurance more than speed”, to show the public the quality of the machines and also to obtain indispensable improvements…
Many of them have signed up, with varying degrees of success, but always with the same enthusiasm. However, even if they no longer come to try their luck, for various reasons, Le Mans Classic is the ideal place for them to celebrate an anniversary, to unveil a new model, a new brand, or to relaunch an old one…
As a historical partner of Le Mans Classic, BMW will once again be the Pace Car. The Bavarian manufacturer will also, just like Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Matra, Mercedes, have a beautiful exhibition of its mythical models. This year we will also see Bentley Mulliner, Ferrari, De Tomaso, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche. Mazda will proudly present its 787B, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991. And in this age of new energies, the Lightyear – a solar-powered car – will be right up there with the times.
Among all the celebrations, we can already remember: the 60th Lotus Elan’s anniversary, some models of which will be honoured on the Club Lotus France area, the 70th anniversary of Austin Healey, the 70th anniversary of the victory of the 300 SL at Le Mans, the “Matra de la route à la course” (Matra from road to race), an exhibition celebrating the 1972 victory, the exhibition “Bristol, engines in the race”…
Indeed, we will have to come back next year to see or do what we couldn’t see or do, or even more, since Le Mans Classic will exceptionally come back in 2023 to celebrate the centenary of the Le Mans 24 Hours. And we must take advantage of it; this occasion will certainly not be repeated any time soon. Not to be missed!