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Rob Barff’s Le Mans Diary
Day Five – Friday Fun

Friday is traditionally a day when the teams get a chance to catch their breath and catch up on any repairs and tweaks to the cars.

For the drivers there is the parade through the city in the late afternoon, something all of the TVR crew were thoroughly looking forward to.

Before then though there was more media work, TVRs return to Le Mans has attracted a great deal of attention.

Richard Stanton had arranged for us to visit the main TVR Car Club campsite in the afternoon. Quite right too, there are around 1000 TVR road cars estimated to be arriving for the race, and well over 500 of these are here thanks to the efforts of the excellent TVR Car Club. One of the drivers has particular reason to be grateful to the club, Michael Caine, my team mate in British GTs last year, was offered personal sponsorship by the members, a fantastic gesture.

We travelled down to the Houx campsite in convoy, the drivers in Richard Stanton’s Land Rover Discovery. I say “in” but in the case of myself, Tim Sugden and Michael Caine we were on top, in full race suits and waving Union Jacks and the TVR ensign….with the TVR press fleet behind, Ben Samuelson in a Tuscan S, Chairman Peter Wheeler in a Cerbera and dailysportscar in the brand new little 350C.

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We received a fantastic welcome at Houx. As soon as we arrived we had beers thrust into our hands and I must have signed about 200 autographs on t-shirts, posters, photographs and race tickets.

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There were photos, handshakes, backslapping and a huge cheer as we left, a real boost, then it was back on board the ‘Disco’ and off to a press function that the Richards had arranged, or so we thought!

What actually happened was that we were taken to a hairdressers: Richard Stanton had arranged for all six of us to have a special hairdo for the drivers parade.

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‘Special’ in this instance meant having our hair sprayed with what was alleged to be bright yellow hair colour (it actually came out bright green on our dark hair) and if that wasn’t enough we then had ‘DEWalt’ sprayed on the back and ‘TVR’ on both sides in black – it was certainly eye catching!

It earned the reception Richard was hoping for at the parade too. It seemed that every camera in the world was pointed in our direction.

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There were literally thousands of people lining the route as each crew paraded in an open topped vintage car. The TVR crews got a fantastic welcome, a real boost for all of us before the race tomorrow.

So that was Friday, for tomorrow, the cars are ready, the pit crews are ready and all of the drivers are ready, willing, able and eager to get stuck into the great race.

It’ll be tough to sleep tonight, not through nerves but through excitement. I’ve been building up to this for an awfully long time and I intend to give it my very best shot.

 

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