The Virage Mulsanne Association, which organises the extremely popular pre-race Friday event based at Mulsanne Corner, has announced its theme for 2017.
In 2016 Virage de Mulsanne honoured Ford, and the fiftieth anniversary of its famous 1-2-3, with a gathering of over 500 vehicles which included many examples from the ‘Blue Oval’.
For 2017 the theme will be ‘Jaguar’. Jaguar is a name synonymous with Le Sarthe, having recorded five victories in seven years between 1951 and 1957 and enjoying further success in 1990 with a 1-2 from Tom Walkinshaw’s Silk Cut-sponsored XJR-12s.
Virage de Mulsanne will be hoping to attract even more cars to its display which runs from Mulsanne Corner and extends down the circuit towards Indianapolis.
In 2016 the weather, which those of us who attended will remember, was wet and miserable for much of the week but it cleared on Friday, allowing an opportunity to spend a very pleasant lunchtime at Mulsanne, viewing the assembled cars and grabbing the chance to walk along the empty circuit on which, twenty fours later, battle would commence.
Artist Ray Toombs, the official illustrator of Virage de Mulsanne, will be present at the event in 2017
If you are planning to travel to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017, don’t miss out on Virage de Mulsanne on Friday June 16, possibly before travelling to the town for the Parade des Pilotes.
Friday June 17 dawned as have all the other days so far for Le Mans 2016 – damp, overcast with the threat of rain and soggy underfoot.
The previous night’s second qualifying session was red-flagged for an hour due to the poor weather conditions and teams, drivers and spectators alike are all massively frustrated at the lack of dry running that we have seen this week.
As there was no track action on the Friday before the race weekend, the EnduranceAndGT team took some time first thing re-arranging the Mont-Bizot Data Centre before venturing off to the ‘Virage de Mulsanne’ event which takes place at the world-famous Mulsanne Corner. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Fifty Years of Ford’ and, parked on the apex of the Mulsanne Corner were a number of beautiful examples of Ford machinery. These varied from some immaculate Ford GT40 replicas to more contemporary Ford GTs along with some interesting Capri and Taunus examples.
What made the event even more interesting was that the track was closed to vehicles from Mulsanne Corner towards Indianapolis, allowing the visitor to walk unimpeded along the circuit towards the Rolex signage over the track.
If you did not visit the Mulsanne event this year, I would strongly recommend it for future years as it made for a fascinating trip.
We then drove back down the Mulsanne Straight (yes, I know it has two chicanes) and back past Le Mans to get back to our camp-site just before another thunderstorm struck and the heavens opened. We sat it out and finally jumped in the car to get back to Le Mans for the ‘Grands Parades des Pilotes’.
Thankfully the rain stayed away and we found ourselves an excellent viewing spot next to the start of the Parade where EnduranceAndGT photographer, Roger Jenkins, could capture some great images of the festivities.
First through while we were there were the Porsche LMP1 drivers who seemed to be having fun even though they must be ‘champing at the bit’ to get racing by this stage of the week. Pictured below are the Porsche LM GTE drivers.
But that is it. Practise, qualifying, media events and parades are over. The real reason why we are all here begins in earnest on Saturday June 18. The weather forecast suggests that clearer, dryer weather should start to move in as the weekend progresses but Saturday could see some very mixed conditions as the build-up to 15:00 approaches.
We shall be at the circuit from 08:00 to observe the final warm-ups, the support races and finally the flag dropping on the 24 Hours of Le Mans at 15:00. This is where it gets really interesting….
2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Ford’s famous 1-2-3 with the Ford GT40. The Virage de Mulsanne Association will be celebrating the occasion at one of the famous corners in motorsport – Mulsanne Corner.
EnduranceAndGT.co.uk spoke to Mr Claude Ouvrard, President of the Virage de Mulsanne Association to find out more about the event on Friday June 17.
The name “Mulsanne Corner” is known throughout the world to enthusiasts of motor racing. What does the association with the most famous motor race in the world mean to the residents of Mulsanne and to you personally?
2016 marque le cinquantième anniversaire de la célèbre 1-2-3 de Ford avec la Ford GT40. Le Virage de Mulsanne Association célébrera l’occasion à l’un des célèbres coins du sport automobile – Virage de Mulsanne.
EnduranceAndGT.co.uk a parlé à M. Claude Ouvrard, président de l’association Virage de Mulsanne pour en savoir plus sur l’événement le vendredi 17 Juin.
Le nom “Virage de Mulsanne” est connu dans le monde pour les amateurs de course automobile. Qu’est-ce que l’association avec la plus célèbre course automobile dans le monde signifie pour les habitants de Mulsanne et pour vous personnellement?