What You Need to Know About Le Mans Classic

12th May 2022

By Daniel Hitchman

Le Mans Classic

Le Mans Classic is a motoring event unlike any other. It pays homage to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, which pits the fastest racing cars together in a test of endurance and concentration.

Le Mans Classic restores a necessary balance to the historic racing venue with a dose of classic motoring and retro panache. It celebrates the cars that ran at the Circuit De La Sarthe from the race's inception in 1923 up until 1979.

It is not just racing; there is a whole atmosphere around the track celebrating the idiosyncrasies of yesteryear. Much like dusting off a familiar flat cap, it is comfortable, relaxed and stylish.

There are classic cars in abundance

White Ford GT40 at Le Mans Classic

It may go without saying, but the largest attraction Le Mans Classic has to offer are the cars themselves.

Regardless of your preference, this incredible event caters for every period of racing, harking right back to the 1920s and 30s, when the likes of Alfa Romeo and Bugatti were doing battle.

For those who enjoyed the tale of Ferrari and Ford's legendary rivalry in the 1960s, spectators will be able to witness Ford GT40 and Ferrari 330 P4 taking to the track once again.

With such a broad array of classic racing cars to witness, it is no surprise that Le Mans Classic records a huge attendance.

Drivers run for their cars

Le Mans Classic Circuit Straight

The Le Mans Start was an age-old tradition that saw drivers stood on the track opposite their car, before running across to it as the flag dropped, strapping themselves in as they hurtled across the start line.

Ironically known as the standing start, it carried on until 1970, which is when the number of accidents raised safety concerns. As a result, this timely tradition ceased.

However, Classic is a stickler for tradition. To this day they still perform the Le Mans Start in particular race meets, giving the festival some serious credentials when it comes to recreating the magic of Le Mans. Seeing professional racing drivers make a mad dash for the cockpit is a spectacle worth seeing for itself.

There is a dress code

Stratstone Lightweight Jaguar E-type at Le Mans Classic

You might think of the average dress code for a car show as the informal side of casual, but this is not the case at Le Mans Classic.

Every year, the actors who bring Le Mans Classic to life, invest a huge amount of effort into crafting their outfits. As a result, they appreciate it when guests make a similar effort.

That means trainers and shorts are out in favour of shirts, trousers and possibly a leather bomber jacket to complete the look. Classic describe their style as 'sport-chic', though with a 50-year window to choose from you are not limited on choice.

There is an Exhibitors' Village

Red Porsche 911 at Le Mans Classic

If you fancy a break away from the action that will be appearing on the track, then you can explore the magnificent Exhibitors' Village.

There is a huge amount of food for guests to choose from, all of which originate from many corners of the earth, such as America, Turkey, Italy and Greece. Available in the village are a number of vendors selling period-correct scale models of famous racing cars and various clothing.

In addition, you can discover a host of historic relics, paintings and sculptures, all of which bring more life to this unique shopping ground.

Young drivers get involved

Who said the activities had to be reserved for adults? Little Big Mans sees children between the age of seven and 12 take part in a lap of the Bugatti circuit after a Le Mans-style start.

If you happen to miss the action on the track, then you will be able to see the young drivers completing a tour of the Le Mans Classic village. This is shortly followed by a prize giving ceremony.

An incredible part of this particular event is that the cars used are mini replicas of famous models that have previously featured in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Notable replicas include the Ford GT40, Bugatti Type 35, and the Jaguar D-type.

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If you are in a fortunate enough position to attend Le Mans Classic, then there is no doubt that you will enjoy yourself. The rich mixture of heritage, incredible racing cars, and large culture associated with the surrounding activities, make this event unmissable.

If you would like to see more motorsport or car-related articles, then please head over to the Stratstone blog section.