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Rob Barff’s Le Mans Diary
Day One – Place des Jacobins

dailysportscar.comScrutineering in Britain is possibly the dullest part of a race meeting. Men in white coats in draughty sheds far from the action undertaking a tiresome technical inspection of the cars – that’s the usual image.

It’s a bit different at Le Mans. In fact it couldn’t be more different.

It takes part in the centre of the city in a huge open square – the Place des Jacobins, just by the ancient cathedral. Far from being far from the action it was THE place to be on a public holiday in Le Mans, with grandstands erected so that the public can get a – well I suppose a grandstand view of the proceedings!

The place was crammed – thousands turned out in the blazing sunshine to see the cars go through their technical inspection. The two TVR T400Rs were almost the last of the day and my arm hurts from signing so many autographs.

When you finally arrived at the compound reserved for competitors and media, there are reporters from all over the world eager to find out all about the TVR effort. Before you get to chat though you’ve got to go through your own technical inspection, the race overalls and crash helmet are checked and you are photographed weighed and measured for the official record – Mallory Park was never like this.

dailysportscar.comAll in all it is great to be here. All the build up and the expectation have led up to this week.

There’s been wind-tunnel testing at MIRA, track testing at Silverstone and Aintree, we’re hoping that there has been a big improvement in pace – some good news on restrictor breaks today should help, and we’re now back to the level we had at Sebring…and you all know what happened there!

For the race I expect we’ll play the Sebring cards again. Long, consistent stints and not pitting for any silly reasons. We’re all – all six of us - capable of double stinting which should help enormously.

dailysportscar.comAfter seeing the response from the crowd today, heaven knows what we’ll find at the drivers parade at the end of the week. The TVR Car club say that up to 1500 of their members are travelling over.

A quiet day beckons tomorrow, the first chance to catch up on sleep from the overnight trip to get here and then we finally get out on track on Wednesday: nothing spectacular to start, just grind out the three laps each of this 8.5 mile circuit to qualify each of the drivers.

It’s a long week ahead and I’ll keep you right up to date with all the ups (lots I hope) and downs (for everyone else!).
Rob Barff

 

 

 

 

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