The delayed Le Mans 24 hours race takes place at the Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend (19-20 September 2020). We missed it in June and the experience this weekend has been rather odd – no crowds, no smoke from the campsite barbecues wafting around, and of course much more racing in darkness in September compared to almost midsummer.
I’m posting this the morning of race day but I’ll update it as we go through to the finish line.
How to Watch Le Mans 2020
We’ve started a free trial of the Eurosport Player on the Amazon Prime Video app on our TV, we’ll probably cancel it afterwards.
The wonderful Eve Hewitt and the Radio Le Mans Twitter team helped us persuade Alexa to play Radio Le Mans so we can have John Hindhaugh’s dulcit tones accompanying the Eurosport player’s pictures.
Coverage has been playing all week but the race show starts at 12.30pm Saturday 19 September 2020 with the starter’s flag waving an hour later.
Before the race, we printed out Andy Blackmore’s Spotters Guide – its just not Le Mans without it. We each picked one or two cars in each class to cheer for and follow over the weekend.
Here are our picks by class:
- Himself and small boy: #1 Rebellion Racing R13 Gibson driven by Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menzes. Himself chose this because its not a Toyota, cheering for the underdog.
- Large boy: #4 Bykolles Racing Team Enso CLM Gibson driven by Bruno Spengler, Tom Dillmann and Oliver Webb. He likes the livery on this one.
- Me: #3 Rebellion Racing R13 Gibson driven by Romain Dumas, Nathanael Berhton and Louis Deletraz. Like himself they aren’t Toyota and I quite support Dumas.
- Himself: #22 United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson driven by Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta. He picked this in national brotherhood support for Paul Di Resta.
- Large boy: #11 Eurointernational Ligier JSP217 Gibson driven by Adrien Tambay, Erik Maris and Christopher D’Ansembourg. He really likes the colour, that’s the whole reason.
- Large boy and small boy: #16 G-Drive Racing by Algarve Aurus 01 Gibson driven by Ryan Cullen, Oliver Jarvis and Nick Tandy. They both really love the bright orange and black paint job.
- Large boy: #17 Idec Sport Oreca 07 Gibson driven by Dwight Merriman, Kyle Tilley and Jonathan Kennard. It matches himself’s new car, that’s enough.
- Large boy (hedging his bets): #38 JOTA Sport Oreca 07 Gibson driven by Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix de Costa and Roberto Gonzalez. We saw Goodyear sponsored cars at Silverstone last summer and he’s remembered they’re good.
- Small boy: #28 Idec Sport Oreca 07 Gibson driven by Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin and Richard Bradley. He chose this because the car is pretty, can’t say I disagree.
- Me: #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07 Gibson drive by Frita van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde and Nyck De Vries. We’ve been supporting Jumbo in the Tour de France too, so this choice follows naturally.
- Himself, large boy and small boy: #97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage driven by Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell. Supporting a British team and all that.
- Me: #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage driven by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Richard Westbrook. I just think it’s so attractive.
- Me: #63 Weathertech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE EVO driven by Cooper MacNeil, Toni Vilander and Jeff Segal. We met one of these drivers at Le Mans 4 years ago and he was lovely, got to keep some loyalty after that.
- Himself: #90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage driven by Salih Yoluc, Jonny Adam and Charlie Eastwood. Big love for Aston Martin and Jonny Adam is Scottish so gets automatic support.
- Large boy: #99 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, Lucas Legeret and Julien Andlauer. Yeah he just likes the colour again.
- Small boy: #72 Hub Auto Racing Ferrari 488 GTE EVO driven by Morris Chen, Tom Blomqvist and Marcos Gomes. He’s all about appearances, the silver looks like it’ll be really fast.
- Me: #85 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GTE EVO driven by Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gattling. I’ve been following this all-female line up for a while, everything cross for them.
- Me: #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Thomas Preining, Dominique Bastien and Adrien De Leener. Yeah so Patrick Dempsey isn’t actually driving, but my Grey’s Anatomy predilection is showing.
- #1 Rebellion Racing (himself and small boy): 2nd on grid
- #4 Bykolles Racing Team (large boy): 4th on grid
- #3 Rebellion Racing (me): 5th on grid
- #22 United Autosports (himself): 8th on grid (3rd in class)
- #11 Eurointernational Ligier (large boy): 27th on grid (22nd in class)
- #16 G-Drive Racing (large boy and small boy): 13th on grid (8th in class)
- #17 Idec Sport (large boy): 56th on grid (23rd in class) by the end of qualifying they had announced a line up change. Dwight Merriman had a crash in free practice and the medical staff didn’t sign him off. He was replaced by Patrick Pilet, a Porsche factory driver.
- #38 JOTA Sport (large boy): 12th on grid (7th in class)
- #28 Idec Sport (small boy): 57th on grid (24th in class)
- #29 Racing Team Nederland (me): 6th on grid (1st in class)
- #97 Aston Martin Racing (himself, large boy and small boy): 29th on grid (2nd in class)
- #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage (me): 28th on grid (1st in class)
- #63 Weathertech Racing (me): 34th on grid (7th in class)
- #90 TF Sport Aston Martin (himself): 36th on grid (2nd in class)
- #99 Dempsey-Proton Racing (large boy): 42nd on grid (8th in class)
- #72 Hub Auto Racing (small boy): 47th on grid (13th in class)
- #85 Iron Lynx (me): 52nd on grid (18th in class)
- #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing (me): 45th on grid (11th in class)
I’ll add more here as the race progresses…
My #88 Dempsey-Proton in GTE Am was the first retirement after a Ferrari span beside it and it took evasive action, ending up in the tyres. Boo. Correction: they limped back to the pits and came back out. This is what Le Mans is all about, perseverance and fighting back after bad luck. Going into the darkness of the night, they were still going.
Large boy’s #11 Eurointernational skidded across the gravel and then retired with electrical issues at the end of Saturday afternoon.
Large boy’s #4 Bykolles LMP1 car had an excellent encounter with some tyres, limped back to the pits shedding front wing and lights galore, and eventually withdrew about 10pm UK time. It was a real pity after they’d pushed so hard to get back round to have a chance of repair and return to the track.
Come morning there were more retirements of course. For our picks, it was #16 G-Drive, supported by large boy, that had succumbed to electrical issues and my #63 Weathertech Ferrari that retired after taking a lot of damage during an encounter with the Jumbo #29 and the wall.
This is the first year that the boys have shown a real interest in Le Mans. Small boy says he definitely wants to go and camp there. Large boy loved tracking the cars he was following and checking the spotter’s guide as the race progressed. It’ll be really great if, in another 5 years when small boy is 10, we can take them and share with them the wonderful experiences we remember. We reckon they need to be at least 10 to cope with the walking and the long periods sitting watching the race – they definitely wouldn’t have coped at the moment as they lasted about an hour into the race on Saturday before disappearing upstairs to play lego.
- #1 Rebellion Racing (himself and small boy): finished 2nd, great result!
- #4 Bykolles Racing Team (large boy): retired during the night
- #3 Rebellion Racing (me): finished 4th
- #22 United Autosports (himself): finished 1st in class, himself rather pleased with his prediction
- #11 Eurointernational Ligier (large boy): retired on Saturday afternoon
- #16 G-Drive Racing (large boy and small boy): retired overnight
- #17 Idec Sport (large boy): finished 11th in class
- #38 JOTA Sport (large boy): finished 2nd in class, large boy very pleased
- #28 Idec Sport (small boy): finished 6th in class
- #29 Racing Team Nederland (me): 15th in class, gutted! But had a few incidents, so came off better than a retirement that resulted from an encounter with the #63 Weathertech.
- #97 Aston Martin Racing (himself, large boy and small boy): won its class, himself pleased again
- #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage (me): finished 3rd in class
- #63 Weathertech Racing (me): Retired after coming together with the #29 Jumbo LMP2 car in the night.
- #90 TF Sport Aston Martin (himself): another class win prediction by himself. Going by the shouting at commentators’ mistakes, maybe a change in vocation is in order?
- #99 Dempsey-Proton Racing (large boy): finished 10th in class
- #72 Hub Auto Racing (small boy): finished 17th in class
- #85 Iron Lynx (me): finished 9th in class, so pleased for them!
- #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing (me): finished 18th in class