Triumph’s LeMans Digs

Factory Triumphs at Hotel de France

Factory Triumphs at Hotel de France garagesI suspect that photo opportunity that the entrance provided was not the key decision factor for the Triumph Works team when they chose the Hotel de France as their accommodations for LeMans in 1963 and 1964, but it may as well have been. I often prattle on about the lack of pit access and being able to wander amongst the teams and cars before or after the races, but this… this is something else.

Whether the factory cars were just pulled out in front of the hotel for a quick photo and then tucked back into transporters or garages and out of prying eyes, or whether they just sat out front, I don’t know. I like to think it’s the latter. The idea of the team cars just sitting out for a night before one last shakedown run on the hour drive to La Sarthe is too wonderful a notion to not daydream about.

Incidentally, Hotel de France’s Facebook page seems to demonstrate their continuing close relationship with vintage motoring and frequently hosts classic car tours.

Photos via Hotel de France. Thanks for sending these in, Willem!

Filmkooperation’s 2012 LeMans Classic

LeMans Classic 2012 from Filmkooperation on Vimeo.

I particularly enjoy the atmosphere and anticipation in the first half of this video piece. You know that my blood gets pumping seeing these classic endurance racers on their home turf, so that really says something.

I love seeing the drivers rehearsing their leap into the car. You can almost taste their excitement that they’re actually going to do a LeMans start. They’re actually going to run across the road and fly into the pilot’s seat; reaching for the shifter and the ignition and the clutch, while somehow maneuvering into their safety belts with a HANS attached. I hope that the LeMans Classic always preserves the running start—even if only symbolically.

LeMans (all of it) is on YouTube

LeMans ’66 as Told by the Drivers

This clip of 1966 LeMans highlights, which looks to have been pulled from an episode of Legends of Motorsport (where’s a Legends of Motorsport DVD box set, Speed Channel?) has some very nice details, including voice over narration from Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren, John Surtees, and Carroll Shelby.

The absolute highlight, though, has to be the footage of the go-kart racing on the carnival midway starting about 3.5 minutes in. Excellent footage of some 9 or 10 year old boys sprinting and leaping into their sportscar bodied karts complete with bucket crash helmets and miniature Dunlop blues. The voice over by John Wyer, while they race is describing the race at LeMans, but meshes very well with the karting action. Great stuff.