Before we arrived in Le Mans for the start of the 2019 week of activities, we knew that the weather was going to be very changeable. Unfortunately we got to our administrative registration too late in the day to still make Sunday’s scrutineering session, but we made it to the Monday session bright and early. True to form, and as expected, the day comprised equal amounts of sunshine and showers, as though the city of Le Mans was giving us a traditional welcome. Our preview of the week so far consists of a bit about scrutineering, our activities on Tuesday, as well as First Practice (FP1) and the first Qualifying session (Q1).
Scrutineering took place in the Place de la République, in the centre of the city. It is a colourful and jovial affair for the spectators at least, perhaps less so for the teams and crew who must push the cars around whether in sunshine or pouring rain. The ACO really does put on a show for the spectators, including a live Q+A session with the drivers just before their car gets the once over from the officials. Most of the event’s happenings take place in full view of the public, apart from the actual technical inspection which is roped off so that the officials can do their job in peace.
After the cars have completed their inspection, they are wheeled out into a display area where the team and drivers take their turn for a family portrait, and then the crowds demand their turn for autographs and selfies. This is a fun part and some of the spectators have been coming to this event for decades, and could probably tell stories about the great drivers from the ’70s and ’80s. The drivers always give time to sign autographs, have selfies taken and shake hands with the assembled folk in wheelchairs, who occupy the front row in front of the media platform. This is a very special moment for many of the drivers as they are able to give a little attention to those who would otherwise not get to experience the Le Mans spectacle.
Tuesday is always a day with no track action, but there was plenty going on inside the pit garages for the teams as they were preparing their cars for action the following day. The pit lane was open in the afternoon for a drivers’ autograph session, which was very wet indeed. The day of course was sprinkled with intermittent showers and drivers’ and team photographs followed in between the showers.
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