MenStyleFashion was asked to experience Le Mans 24 Hour race. This race has been held annually since 1923 in Le Mans, which is around a two hour drive southwest of Paris. The Le Mans 24 hour is the world’s oldest, active sports car race in endurance racing. Hundreds of thousands of Motorsport fans attend the event every year, and the festivities and atmosphere that goes with this prestigious race are legendary.
First of let me thank both Ford and Serengeti Eyewear, for making this one of the most memorable events of my life. Whilst researching about Le Mans 24 Hour Race, I kept been told by petrol heads, car lovers, racing car drivers and anyone who has attended this event that Le Mans 24 Hour race is the most aggressive endurance car racing event in the world.
This sport will leave a grown man crying – some Ford Ganassi racing drivers.
This is due the mental pressure and fatigue on the body, amongst many other contributing factors. After interviewing seven of the drivers, I asked what defines the perfect lap at Le Mans 24 Hour. They all said the same thing “There is no such thing as the perfect lap.”
Day One Qualifying Sessions Ford Performance Pit Suite
I turned up on Thursday late afternoon after travelling 13 hours but I was so thrilled to be here, no exhaustion was going to get in the way for me experiencing every bit of Le Mans 24 Hour. This was the 85th edition of the 24H of Le Mans. I was on adrenaline all day as I was just so excited to part of Ford Performance experience. It was a hot evening and the weather forecast for the next four days was brilliant. Le Mans 24 Hour racing historically can be a hit and miss and there can be lots of rain, which for this event is the most dangerous for car drivers to race in.
I looked out to my view, which was the circuit and I will never ever forget the defining moment of the starting of the FORD GT engine. I just stood in awe/amazement because the sound was so extreme and so loud. Thank goodness there were earplugs available. As each supercar just belted down the famous Le Mans 24 circuit, which is the longest (13.629km.) and for me the loudest racing circuit in the world. It dawned on me how crazy Le Mans 24 Hour really is. The rules are simple, the best of the best can cover more than 3,000 miles in a single day. At Le Mans, unlike other races the overall winner is the team that covers the most distance in the 24 hour period.
Pitt Stop Rules Of Engagement
Having the exclusive access as I did with representing Ford Performance, I knew this was going to be one hell of a spectator experience for me. To explain my position, I was above the garage and could see when the drivers would pull up for maintenance on the four Ford GT cars that were competing.
The first time I observed the FORD GT pulling up into the Pitt Stop, I could not believe how fast they would park. This was amazing to watch how the Ford Performance team operated. There are so many rules to abide to during the race regarding the tyre change, fueling up and switching the drivers. The technique that goes into mastering this team skill, in making sure the cars and drivers are looked after, is a credit to the Ford Performance team. To work under so much pressure as a whole team is impressive and just as enduring as the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
— Men Style Fashion (@menstylefashion) June 18, 2017
During my interview, the Ford Performance drivers would always reaffirm to me, that this is a team effort and everyone feels and works under the same insane pressure. This is a team effort and that everyone carries the pressure together. In speaking to the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Drivers they all agreed that there is no guilt in relation to what happens out on the circuit. It’s all down to a team effort and that everyone understands, united we stand, united we fall.
Did you know that one of the Ford Performance Team’s responsibilities is to carry the driver’s helmet after he has raced? This is due to exhaustion, the intensity of the sport and also respect to the driver.
As I went to sleep in my Chateau Del Bel Air, I was so honoured and overwhelmed to be part of the Le Mans 24 Hour experience. The word, excitement was an understatement, I could not describe my emotions at this point, let alone the adrenaline experience I was feeling as a female spectator. Day one was just a teaser for me of what was to come.
— Gracie Opulanza (@gracieopulanza) June 16, 2017
Day Two – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Drivers
Over the last four years, I have interviewed male fashion models and a few world champions athletes in various different sports. But I have never been to a car racing event let alone meet professional car drivers, or what I define as Super Car Heroes.
Unlike the world of male models in fashion, these guys were humble, gentle and somewhat shy. Unlike the world of fashion, the word ego does not and cannot exist in this event. Having an ego will cost you dearly, even a man’s life. I found the drivers all very intriguing and for as long as I can remember, racing car drivers for me have a lot of sex appeal. It’s all about the mystic and unknown territory of the driver, trying to understanding why he loves to live on the edge and drive so fast.
Over the next few days, I was able to witness one of the most professional car drivers in the world first hand, which was a privilege in itself. The pressure and the exhaustion leading up to race day for these drivers was just unbelievable. In their own words, the drivers explained: “it’s more than just 24 hours of racing.” The outside pressure and responsibility they have for representing their car brand with its fans before the race is all so exhausting. They have to do interviews, photo calls and talk to VIP guests, whilst preparing for one of the most dangerous racing car events in the world.
To visually observe these men and watch the mental skills and the torturing concentration they put themselves under, is a science on its own. Le Mans 24 for me is a different skill called the visual intellect, the precise art of these guys working under extreme pressure, chosen by them.
As an outsider looking in, Le Mans 24 hours can only be described as hell on earth. I was intrigued to understand more about the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Drivers. What is their greatest fear? What is the perfect lap? How does it feel like driving at 200MPH? What is the trending hairstyle for drivers in 2017? There were so many questions I asked and you can hear from the drivers themselves their views on Le Mans 24 Hour.