Tag Archives: Circuit de la Sarthe

Which European Endurance Race Do I Pick?

It’s never too early to start planning events for next year, and even though there are a few major events still left for me to do this year, I’m contemplating the plan of action for the future.

I’m having a really hard time deciding which weekend in Europe to choose, the options are: Nurburgring 24h, Le Mans 24h and Spa 24h. Each event is a month apart with N24h taking place in the middle of May, LM24h in the middle of June and Spa 24h at the end of July. All three events are in the heart of European summer and travel to Europe will be quite pricey. But having done Le Mans a few times, Nurburgring for the first time and visiting Spa in transit, I’d love to volunteer all three events. Which one would you choose?

The way things are going now, I’m fairly sure that whatever event I choose for next year will be the highlight of the year for me. I will explain why. Marshaling in the US has deteriorated into pathetic and depressing experience. There is still no training, and little desire from the powers that be to implement universal training for everyone to work well together, regardless of what each participant’s personal experience is. We bicker and argue over the way things should be done with no meaningful outcome resulting from those heated discussions. No one is focused on a common goal of bettering the role of marshaling for the masses. Instead people push their own agendas. It is laughable that some idiot decided to pursue the issue of COTA issued blue nomex suits as being a problem. Whether fit, comfort or color, whatever the hell the problem was it didn’t particularly please a moron that reached out to COTA and now we must bring our own whites to the event. While this may make sense for some locals it is terribly inconvenient for those of us traveling having to lug more baggage. But it is also an issue of looking professional at the track. With a track issued overall everyone looks the same and therefore professional. By bringing your own whites, the marshaling body will resemble a group of amateurs sporting 50+ shades of white, some wearing jeans and t-shirts while others may throw some orange into the mix and it will really look like COTA scraped the bottom of the barrel just to man the staff for the event. Totally uncool!

While I am bottling that frustration before heading out to the actual event, I’m curious to see what people think I should do next year. I would love to do Le Mans again, but Spa seems like an equally amazing venue that I haven’t experienced yet. And Nurburgring actually pays marshals for participation so that could significantly offset my travel costs.

Share your thoughts please.

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Nurburgring 24h is 14-17 May 2015

Le Mans 24h is 10-14 June 2015

Spa 24h is 24-26 July, 2015

 

Media from 24h of Le Mans

Huge… absolutely massive thanks to my good buddy Julio, the Spanish marshal at Le Mans, who very generously snapped a few awesome shots while we were acting as spectators at Le Mans 2014. I had the pleasure of working on the Spanish team again at poste 106 and these guys treated me absolutely and genuinely well.

I would love an opportunity to work with Julio and his friends again and again whether at Le Mans or Spa 24h in the future.

But without any further ado, here are the pix:

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As you can see in the photos this year was definitely the year of the Porsche. So many classics on display. So many amazing cars I only wished I saw in action when they were racing similar Mercedes and BMW prototypes. We even got a private tour of the Porsche garage as a few of Julios mates work as engineers for the team. Fantastic experience for sure! Thanks again Julio….

Post Card from France, the 24 hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe

Greetings from the 82nd running of the 24 hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe in the beautiful French countryside two hours drive from Paris.

I mention Paris because we spent a beautiful two hour drive stuck in rush hour traffic trying to get out of the city on our way from Brussels with Pol. My Beligan friend that I met a year earlier at Le Mans was kind enough to offer me a ride from the airport and it was quite an adventure driving down. The trip normally takes about as much as I spent driving from New Jersey to Watkins Glen, just to put things in perspective. So all things considered Europeans are very lucky when it comes to motorsport with all the close proximity of amazing race tracks. Besides Le Mans we also visited Spa-Francochamps, Zolder and the Nordschleife at Nurburgring in Germany, but I will leave that for a follow up story.

This year Le Mans was amazing. Partly because I was much better prepared for it than the previous year. Partly also because I had managed my expectations and things went very smoothly and according to plan. The camping was great, the company was amazing, and we were very lucky again with several incidents taking place at our corner, including the Nissan ZEOD coming to a hault by us giving an opportunity to push something trackside.

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One of my favorite moments however was getting some outstanding interviews done for Marshal Cam, where to my surprise quite a few people were willing to participate. And my Marshal Cam patches were quite a hit, so I’ll be sure to do that again in the future.

All in all fantastic trip, and the first stop on my European Road Trip that also included the 24 hours of Nurburgring.

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The rebirth of a tradition: group photo. See if you can spot me?

24 heuers du Mans

Au revoir France! Le Mans 24 was an incredible event. It was wet, it was sunny. It was sad and full of joy simultaneously. I learned new things, met new friends, and got to do a little intervention. Very impressed with the entire operation.

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PS. I learned of two new people that read my blog, one of them is pictured above: Julio from España. Hopefully he will chime in and make some posts about marshalling in spain and europe.

Accepted to the 24 hours of Le Mans

Just a week before my flight to France I have received an acceptance letter to marshal the 24 hours of Le Mans at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe. Normally I would start the post with “Woo Hoo Got Accepted to…” but the mood is still somewhat dampened by last weekend’s escapades and the fact that none of my travel plans for Le Mans in France and the British Grand Prix in the UK are complete. I have never been so ashamed of myself as I am now with my piss poor planning for this massive series of events. Of course there are things that were beyond my control and that are still incredibly frustrating, like my SNCF train tickets for TGV and Eurostar being lost in the mail and still in limbo whether to buy another way or continue to wait with hope against hope that they will ultimately show up before my flight. Its not easy.

Getting into Le Mans was also not easy. For anyone considering doing the event, as I’m sure many would hold this race as a pinnacle of their marshalling career, be aware that its more difficult to apply for than Formula 1. In my case, by leaps and bounds more difficult. But its not impossible. So if interested, pursue it!

I’m not sure what my Internet situation will be once in Europe so updates will probably be limited, but I am looking forward to enjoying my experience to the fullest once I arrive. Despite still having holes in the transportation and accommodation department. It will be an expensive trip but one that I know I will want to repeat in the future. Stay tuned!