Le Mans: Post-race notes

180,000 Renault enthusiasts at Le Mans The French round of the World Series by Renault was held this weekend on Le Mans Bugatti circuit. This new concept, combining motorsport and entertainment, attracted more than 180,000 spectators over the...

180,000 Renault enthusiasts at Le Mans

The French round of the World Series by Renault was held this weekend on Le Mans Bugatti circuit. This new concept, combining motorsport and entertainment, attracted more than 180,000 spectators over the two days, making it the second biggest motorsport event in France, in terms of the number of spectators, second only to the Le Mans 24 Hours!

Launched earlier this year, the all-new concept of the World Series by Renault aims to bring the fans and top-flight motorsport closer together. Events are designed for members of the public, who can attend after picking up a free invitation available through the Renault dealer network. In addition to a packed sporting schedule, a wide variety of attractions for the young and old alike lend a family and festive dimension to the weekends, which are dedicated to those who are passionate about automotive festivities. The non-stop entertainment on offer is intended to give members of the general public an idea of what "life behind the scenes" is like at a motorsport event.

With 80,000 spectators on Saturday and close to 100,000 on Sunday, the Bugatti circuit was packed out for Renault's version of racing at Le Mans, a sort of "Le Mans 48 Hours".

Special guest David Hallyday, the French pop star, played an active part in making the event such a popular success. Living out his childhood dream, David got behind the wheel of the Renault F1 R24 and drove off with the title of the World's fastest singer! The crowd needed no further invitation to perform a giant Mexican wave as he flew past at almost 300kph!

After climbing out of the R24, David talked about his impressions of the experience: "Quite simply, it was out of this world! I made sure I enjoyed every second, because I might not get this sort of opportunity again for some time. I am grateful to Renault and congratulate them for this fantastic initiative which aims to make motorsport more accessible to the general public. The concept of the meeting is a great success."

On Saturday night, the singer swapped the V10-powered car for his guitar and gave a big NRJ radio-sponsored outdoor concert, in front of more than 50,000 fans, all singing along to hits from his album, Satellite.

Other non-motorsport attractions were greatly appreciated by spectators. The noisiest and most spectacular of these was undoubtedly the demonstration put on by the Mirage 2000 from the French Air Force, which had also called in the Patrouille de France (French aerobatics formation) and their World Championship winning military aerobatics team for the occasion.

Another major event took place when some of the models that have made an impact on the history of Renault in motor racing took to the track. Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1978 with Didier Pironi, got back behind the wheel of the Alpine-Renault A442B that he had taken to victory 27 years ago. Collectors were placed in the spotlight during a big parade that brought together over 1,000 Renault cars, from the 4CV to the Clio V6!

In terms of racing, close to 180 drivers were involved in six international and French championships, in a total of 12 races over the weekend. Drivers and teams alike were all overjoyed to be able to race in front of such a large and enthusiastic crowd.

The Bugatti track record is now held by Robert Kubica, who went round the 4,180-metre circuit behind the wheel of his Formula Renault 3.5 in a time of 1'23''665. Recording an average speed of almost 180kph, the Polish driver beat the fastest times of the Audi R8 of Le Mans 24 Hours race six-time winner, Tom Kristensen (1'27''775), and the Yamaha MotoGP of Valentino Rossi (1'33''226)! As the track is due to be altered shortly, the record should be held by Kubica for many years to come.

Following the weekend's outstanding success, the World Series by Renault now prepares for another big meeting, next weekend. In fact, the teams have already set off for Bilbao, in Spain. The capital of the Basque country will play host to its first ever motorsport event, from July 14th to 17th, on the brand new circuit in the heart of the city, right next to the famous Guggenheim museum.

-wsr-

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Valentino Rossi , Robert Kubica , Jean-Pierre Jaussaud , David Hallyday