Speed Week: the Brits fly south
Tom Ford leads the British group to France, with a pit stop at Le Mans
Posted: 16 Aug 2013
Eventually, we arrive at the spiritual home of endurance motor racing, and it's hard not to be a little disappointed. The bit we drive through is crusted with barnacles of the light industrial kind, and it's not until we reach the far side that we realise why we're here. With little warning, we're pitching up and around the Indianapolis and Arnage corners, faced with the coiffured gravel and broad yellow, black and blue stripes that mark the margins of the Le Mans circuit. I've never been here before the actual race, and it feels infinitely special. We meander gently up the legendary Mulsanne straight and pull off into the half-barricaded Michelin chicane, just past the kink. The sun is just dipping behind the trees, swamping everything in slow, bronze light, and it's hard not to entertain racing-driver fantasies. We stage our very own Le Mans-style start, Top Gear displaying all the sporting elegance of a herd of drunken bison, and drive out and down the circuit, trying desperately not to behave like the racing drivers we suddenly think we might have become.