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Old 18 Jun 2000, 16:19 (Ref:17790)   #1
fatbloke
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fatbloke should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid

Stolen from the Club Arnage Mailing List - http://www.club-arnage.com
Quote:
A FINAL PERSONAL VIEW of LE MANS 2000
by Jock Simpson

So, that is it .. the 68th running of the 24 Heures du Mans is over. Was
it a "Classic" ? Possibly not but it certainly was a memorable event. It
was one of the hottest (temperature) Le Mans on record, certainly as hot
as 1976 .. it may be remembered as the year the Yanks arrived it maybe
remembered as first time since 1960 that a Porsche powered car wasnt in
the top ten finishers, there again it maybe remembered as the year that
Audi did their homework, spent their money wisely and won the race in a
hugely convincing manner. In 1999 Toyota came here looking unbelievably
strong but they didnt make it .. Audi were there as well in 1999, they
may have received some criticism for running all sorts of cars but they
were calmly learning their trade and set about putting together their 2000
attack. It wasnt easy .. all kinds of dramas hit the team , but they were
upto it. After all they picked Team Joest to run the cars .. is there a
wiser more successful team in the history of Le Mans ? We doubt it. Le
Mans holds no surprises for Reinhold Joest. For example Who would have
thought of the plan that involved changing the whole rear end of the car
if they got a whiff of trouble. They started three cars and three cars
crossed the line after 24 Hours. It allowed the team management kept
several balls in the air all the time. He had strong cars and a brilliant
driver line up. You have to been impressed when a team can bring their
cars home in formation , 1st,2nd,3rd, It produces a publicity shot that
any manufacturer would dream of.

In a way you have to give Don Panoz a bit of credit as well. He has always
put his money where his mouth is and he went out to do well here at Le
Mans. It was a powerful challenge but it didnt quite work. The Americans
were here in tremendous force. The Europeans had to move over to leave
room for five Panoz .. four Cadillacs .. two Corvettes and six Vipers.
Mario Andretti was here racing in what maybe his last appearance in an
endurance race, he didnt win but he stirred memories and emotion
everywhere he went. We saw Cadillac safety cars, GM publicity was
everywhere, we even had American pundits on Radio Le Mans. Maybe soon we
will see an Aston Martin or Jaguar back here.

ALMS is strong, as is their relationship with the ACO and few eyebrows
have been raised by the huge influx of American machinery that was allowed
to start. The downside for the Europeans was that they were not well
represented at all. It must be some kind of unhappy record that only seven
UK drivers started the race and no UK teams ran a car. The only exception
was the unique Hugh Chamberlain who was running a team for GOH.

It was an all American affair in GTS as well, it wasnt really a fair
fight, the Corvettes came rather abruptly up against the totally sorted
Oreca Viper Team. There isnt much you can teach Oreca about endurance
racing. The Corvettes tried everything and without a doubt they pushed the
Vipers hard from time to time but you will have do much better than that
to beat those all conquering Oreca cars ( not bad for a truck-bred engine
).

GT was always going to be a Porsche benefit Surely this wasnt quite what
Porsche wanted since all the cars to appear in the category were 911
GT3Rs. Porsche will go away with a win and happy customers. The most
impressive team by far was the Dick Barbour racing team he brought the car
home 13th overall .. they came with just one car and it totally dominated
the category. We will never know if the Labre car would have given them a
run for their money, it went out in an accident very early on.

The lasting memories of 2000 will be the apparently relaxed efficiency of
the Audi , Oreca and Barbour teams, they make this sort of thing look easy.

The traditions of Le Mans are intact, huge crowds, noisy campsites, mostly
good humoured over consumption of alcohol, every Lotus, Morgan, Jaguar and
exotic sportscar smoking their tyres through the village of Arnage and so
on. OK so it wasnt a classic but half the fans probably wont remember
that .. they will recall the sun, the fun and the noise!
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Old 18 Jun 2000, 17:46 (Ref:17792)   #2
Hurricane
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Hurricane should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid

The Canadian Grand Prix is a bit of an anti-climax after following Le Mans for the last 24 hours (on and off . . . )! Never mind - only 364 days to go until Le Mans 2001. Had to miss going this year because of exams, but we'll be going next year for the thrills & spills of eating at the Chinese Restaurant to the thrrraaaaaaaaapppppppp of Panoz'zz during the qualifying, sleeping in the car when we can't find a campsite and waking up on Sunday morning after only 2 hours sleep to the lilting racket of these wonderfully ear-splitting machines careering around Arnage Corner!

There's nothing quite like it, and I'm inclined to agree with the Eurosport Commentators who describe Le Mans as a virus that you simply cannot recover from!
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Old 19 Jun 2000, 09:52 (Ref:17935)   #3
Liz
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Liz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridLiz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Totally agree!

You will never see a more congenial crowd of people, no flash or big bankbooks in evidence, just hot, dirty, tired, blissed out people with cameras and good hiking boots out to have a good time. (Although there was nearly a fist fight in my grandstand at the last hour when someone disputed the ownership of a seat with someone else who refused to discuss the matter - and was in the wrong as it turned out - fortunately he was ejected before any blows could fall.

I am hot, dusty, tired, my feet hurt, I have 8 rolls of film including a whole roll at Arnage Corner at 2:00 a.m., and I could not be more ready to do it all over again next year.

If you have a choice of an F1 race or Le Mans, it should be no choice. GO TO LE MANS!
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Old 19 Jun 2000, 17:01 (Ref:18053)   #4
Chris S
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Chris S should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
What a weekend!!! Thank you Speedvision!!! I fell asleep somewhere around 3:00 a.m. CDT, which I think was about 6-7 hours left in the race. Woke up three hours later, so was able to finish watching the race. Except for 1.5 hours when F1 qualifying was on, Speedvision carried the entire 24 Hours live on tv. The commentating was good (Danny Sullivan was especially funny), even when the team was getting a little punch drunk from lack of sleep. Some of the interviews, etc. were great. Loved the bit about "Big Blue", the Dick Barbour American-style transporter. They never showed the semi itself, but the trailer was a normal Featherlite one used in the States -- about two car lengths longer than all of the other transporters in the paddock, and they still had their cabs attached! My guess is the semi cab was one normally used in the States too, which would have really made it hugh by European standards.

One comment -- I could not believe the way the Audis and Vipers, in their attempts to get good photo ops for their cars (and to prevent having to drive another lap), held up the racing in the GT category. There was a race left on the track, two 911s were battling tooth-and-nail for second and third place podium positions. The second place car had lost its windshield (and several more of its windows) and was only .3 seconds ahead of another 911 going into the last lap. Because of total track blockage by the three Audis (their speeds were slower than a minibike on the last lap), and further track blockage by the Vipers, this battle was adversely influenced -- resulting in the third place 911 passing the second place car during the last lap. Cannot really say if it would have happened anyway, but it was clearly unsafe for anyone still battling for position on that last lap.

Is this a regular thing at Le Mans? It would definitely bring down the wrath of the gods (stewards) at an event sanctioned by SCCA. Of course, the 911 that lost its windshield (windscreen) did an entire lap with the driver hanging out of the car door when his hood (bonnet)flew open and he could not see out of the front of the car. Obviously, he did the entire 8+ miles without any belts! This was also a surprise to watch that go without any penalty.

Chris Safranek

Administrators note: URL was removed because the rules do not allow 'signature files'.
[Edited by Gerard on 19th June 2000]
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Old 20 Jun 2000, 11:57 (Ref:18207)   #5
elephino
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elephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridelephino should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I do enjoy Le Mans. One year I'll get to go there and really feel the atmosphere.

Listened to it again over the net for the third year and I still have to say how great a job the people at Radio Le Mans do.

I chose a good time to go to sleep actually, as very little happened in those three hours (from 5:30am to 8:30am Sydney time).

Maybe I should start saving for the airfare now...
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Old 20 Jun 2000, 15:27 (Ref:18265)   #6
marcus
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marcus has a real shot at the podium!marcus has a real shot at the podium!marcus has a real shot at the podium!marcus has a real shot at the podium!
i will join you on that one elephino..but sadly i probably wont get there until the year 3000..but hey gives me plenty of time to save
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Old 21 Jun 2000, 14:12 (Ref:18492)   #7
Toth
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I didn't get full coverage and had some trouble with internet but what I saw was brilliant. I will definately go, if not next year certainly the year after that.
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