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Le Mans 2011: a journey

  1. There was a most exciting race over the weekend. Not the one with a circuit resembling the set of Kevin Costner’s panned Waterworld, but the one in which two Audi drivers cheated death, Aston Martin crashed out and a bedroom gamer claimed a podium position.

    We are of course, talking about the Le Mans 24hr. It was one of the most thrilling races in the history of the series with an ending that went right down to the wire. We know, we were there and watched it with astonished, sleep-deprived eyes as we posted our live blog.

    But there’s so much more to Le Mans than just the business of racing: follow us as we take you through three days of a classic…

  2.’s Porsche Panamera squeezes onto the Chunnel.

  3. This Gendarme wanted a better look at the Panamera. Our man: ‘French, right?’

  4. The official nerve centre. Ambitious. Rubbish. 

  5. Drivers parade
    featured enormous old busses. With bands on top.  

  6. Team Gulf AMR Middle East. Ended up retiring. Like most of the other Astons.

  7. Cheech Martin Racing
    - not an official team. Shame. 

  8. Peugeot’s car No. 7 drivers text for the cameras.

  9. Last year’s winners’ hands on Le Mans’ main drag.

  10. Peugeot’s car No. 9 drivers, later to finish
    second behind Audi. 

  11. RML came fourth in the LMP2 class with Ben Collins at the wheel.


  13. The countdown begins.

  14. Panama hat, hammock and polo neck - this year’s
    hottest Le Mans look. 

  15. Audi left Le Mans with one R18 and two stuffed bin bags. 

  16. Collective noun for racing drivers? A “paddock”? A “trailer”? A “pit”? A “helmet”?

  17. Miss 24 Heures du Mans gets surrounded by a “helmet” of drivers. 

  18. Grid girl racing. Predictably slow. 

  19. Meh.

  20. Car racing - you’re doing it wrong. 

  21. The Gulf-liveried Oak Racing LMP2 car. And some snappers, snapping

  22. Jota’s Aston Martin Vantage sits on the circuit ahead of the race. Retired after just 74 laps

  23. After the Luke Skywalker fiasco, Darth Vader labelled all future children. Number 5: promising young farm-hand

  24. A grid girl

  25. A Le Mans driver, standing in his voodoo circle of protection

  26. Sir Jackie Stewart was on hand at the driver’s parade on Friday

  27. Audi took the lead early on, but the Peugeot racers kept them honest throughout the ENTIRE RACE

  28. BMW Motorsport’s tasty-sounding M3 GT. Car number 56 finished 3rd in the GTE Pro class. Car number 55 did not finish at all

  29. The shattered remains of McNish’s Audi R18 TDI. He WALKED from this crash

  30. Lime-green Krohn Racing Ferrari F430 on track. It would later be off track, as part of 29 retirements during this year’s race

  31. The number 9 Peugeot 908 HDI - which finished 2nd - avoids the beached remains of Strakka Racing’s LMP2 racer that retired soon after

  32. RML’s racer goes toe-to-toe with the Peugeot. Loses, but claims 4th position in LMP2 class

  33. Team Oreca Matmut’s Nissan-powered LMP2 racer briefly mixed it with the top runners in class, later retired

  34. Banksy was slipping

  35. Sunset at Le Mans. Soundtrack courtesy of diesel 908

  36. Marshal waves through Ayari’s LMP2 Signatech Nissan that finished 2nd in class

  37. Audi makes it 10 wins in 13 years. Should anybody else bother turning up?

  38. That’s another Le Mans in the bag. If you want a live minute-by-minute report of this classic, click here.

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