You may have picked on the the fact that I have been unwell for a few days suffering from some appalling man-ailment. As a consequence I haven’t been at the coalface producing stuff, rather I have been on the sick sofa having to endure some quality motorsport as Mrs DriveWrite ministered unto me in a nearly sympathetic manner. It was during one of the best Le Mans for years that I had an epiphany.
I realised that every Formula One weekend that comes around I pitch up in front of the box with anticipation. The build-up has got the lot – the fragrant Suzy, the knowledgeable DC and the irritating E. Jordan. We get great shots around the circuit, the fans, the colour and all that razzmatazz. Then practice starts and the same old story line unfolds like a soap repeat on ITV Encore. When the race gets under way the outcome is inevitably as predicable as a schoolboy’s attempts to tamper with the virtue of the prettiest girl in school by ending up with the same result.
By and large, it’s Hamilton and then the others. The backmarkers will always be where they languish because of the unfair nature of the way F1 is run by that poisonous old geezer and his cronies. Don’t get me wrong, Lewis Hamilton is up there with the great drivers; I don’t disparage his achievements at all but – and let’s be totally honest here – he has turned into a bit of a tit hasn’t he?
Come with me now to the pit lane at Le Mans as the Porsche prototypes snatch the endurance crown from Audi. It was quite an achievement and one that required a huge amount of personal and financial commitment from those involved. You don’t see grown men openly weeping in victory at the F1 – this was an unselfconscious display of what winning meant to those involved.
The British (I’m pleased to say) driver amongst the trio of victors, Nick Tandy, said, “If I retired tomorrow I would look back on my career and be happy. There’s not many people that get to drive this race, fewer that have a chance of winning and then there’s the very, very few who actually win the thing”.
That is the power of Le Mans. 270,000 track side fans can’t be wrong despite enduring French loos that haven’t seen a disinfectant wipe since Charles de Gaulle suggested they could do with a bit of a hose down. The power that is the legend of Le Mans is palpable. Why, they have even retained proper motor racing laurel wreaths for the victors!
There seems to be a steady stream of current and former F1 drivers heading into this branch of motorsport which must be an indicator of the growing popularity of the World Endurance Championship. The unfettered joy was not limited to the LMP1 class either. The small but beautifully formed KCMG team in the LMP2 class won through preparation, consistency and guts. Even the Grey’s Anatomy actor Patrick Dempsey was emotional after his team’s second place in the GTE Am division. You don’t get that with Bernie’s Boys.
So I will henceforth be tuning into or attending all the endurance racing I can find. Obviously I will continue to watch F1 in case things liven up although I won’t hold my breath. After all, it is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport yet everything they try seems to fail to improve the situation. This is why I routinely give up on the F1 race about a half hour into a two hour event whereas I can sit through many hours of Le Mans totally engrossed. There’s something nasty in the woodshed of the premier motor racing formula. It need sorting.