The start of the race, for me, actually happened on Wednesday, three days before the actual start. My tent (bought two days earlier) and my car (a brilliant Nissan Micra), each seem to be the smallest, by far, of any I can see.
But it's not the what, it's the where. Location, location, location...
Every year there's one entrant that can't win, but is there to show off new technology. Last year it was Nissan's DeltaWing. This year, that same design went a step further, with the ZEOD RC, a 3-cylinder hybrid.
They were able to complete one lap, in practice, on electric power alone. That's pretty amazing.
I was rooting for them to do well, not least because I had driven to Le Mans in a 3cyl Nissan.
Sadly, they had to drop out early on due to a gearbox issue.
I spent so much time just wandering around on the track, some of the crowds had cleared and I could get a better view inside the Porsche garage. The 919 has a 2L V4, plus a lot of electric power. A turbo for the engine, and a separate exhaust-driven turbine to create electricity. Craziness.
This was pretty funny. The announcer, in French, said there were skydivers incoming. So those that understood him, looked up and scanned the skies. Everyone else wondered what those people were doing, so they looked up too, as you do, but had clearly no idea why.
An indignant French horsefly. Bizarre. Nothing could phase this thing. He was looking at the start line, and no amount of closeup photos, nearby beverage containers, would get him to move. He had his seat for the start and wasn't giving it up, just like the rest of us.
Another thing that makes Le Mans so cool is it's basically four different races at the same time: LMP 1 for the top tier teams. LMP 2 for the privateer teams. Then GT Pro and Amateur, which race highly modified sports cars. As fast as a 911 or Ferrari race car is, they're WAY slower than an LMP1 car.
This photo took forever to get! I was watching the 919 pass by this one spot, and every time, both cars, would shoot sparks out behind them. There was something about how they were set up, and where they'd be on this section, that they'd bottom out on the track.
Both the Porsches did this, but none of the other cars did.
This was one of the few spots where you could really see how fast these cars are. They come around the corner in the foreground really slow, and then BOOM they are gone. I don't think I've ever seen anything accelerate that fast before.
As you read in the story, I didn't get out of the bus for Arnage and Mulsanne corners, for fear of not making it back to the finish in time. By total luck, I held up my camera to take a picture over the barrier and the #8 Toyota entered the frame just as I pressed the shutter.