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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17: 24 hours!!!

Yep, this past weekend was the one in Le Mans, France where the famous, annual 24 hour race was held. Twenty four hours! Just imagine driving a race car at its limit for 24 solid hours (of course, there are driver changes). Stressing the motor, the transmission and all those suspension parts for one full day and night at top speed. Pretty amazing, when one thinks about it. And to top it off, there are various classes of cars on the track with huge speed differences. Talk about trusting your fellow driver to see you in their rearview, as you approach at over 200 MPH. Talk about stress. But most of these drivers are pros, so the catastrophic crashes are not frequent.

Ever hear of the term "Le Mans start"?

Originally, the cars were lined up on one side of the track, the drivers on the other. At the wave of the French flag, they ran for their cars. Good idea? Well, just take a look at the pic above. Not everyone gets to their cars at the same time, some cars pull out quickly, some don't start immediately and some drivers have a problem with their seat belts, maybe not even fastening them or not tightly enough. Big problems. Not a smart idea, so eventually it was abandoned in 1970.

This pic from the late '50's shows the front straightaway at the start of the race. Interesting how close the fans and pit crews were to the track. Good idea? Think it's the same today? Not likely, and actually they used to be even closer. In 1955 a horrific crash (close to where this photo was taken) occurred as a fast car overtook a slower one. The faster car went into the crowd, killing 89 fans and injuring many more. After that very sad day, the audience was moved back bit by bit. Have an accident like that today and it's unlikely that race or maybe even the sport would survive.

Le Mans is named after the town where this race is held, running over the local roads. Bistros and bars are alongside the track, so that you can sip your wine and munch your baguette, as the cars roar past. I love that idea, although it has its drawbacks. Again the safety issues. Want to see a flying car?

Mercedes Benz was the first to perfect a flying race car in 1999, when their CLR was found to have slightly less down force than expected. Thankfully no driver was hurt, but the cars were withdrawn from the race. Like to be sitting in a cafe' as this went by? Great story to tell the folks back home - "Did you get a picture, Andre?".

Hands up all of you who like to drive in the rain and at night and at race speeds? Ok, so there are a few, but this would be a "no go" for most sane folks. At Le Mans, if it rains, it rains and you keep racing. Add in the different speed scenarios and you have a rather challenging situation. I guess that is why, I sell cars and sit here in a nice office with a roof over my head.

Ah, Le Mans, even with all its issues, it is a great test and a great race. Imagine running for 24 hours and beating another car by seconds. Or have the chance to see something weird, like this Nissan creation......

Yup, it's a great race. Will you ever see me there? Probably not, as I like my French countryside taken at a more leisurely pace. But what a show!

Until next time.......

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