Editor's Blog: A Photo Essay Lap Of Le Mans

Today we take you on a lap of the circuit, as seen from trackside. On Thursday, little moves on the track, and so we are free to go round the circuit, if we so wish. Most people go round on the scooter, many riders go round on a bicycle, mixing physical training with mental training. I like to circulate on foot, to get a sense of the elevation changes around the track. Here's my lap of Le Mans:

Looking out across the Departement de la Sarthe, on the way up to the Dunlop bridge

The Dunlop bridge marks the high point of the circuit,

The track then dropping down to La Chapelle

They've set up a giant screen, which also doubles as a road block for the route to the 24 hour circuit

There's quite a drop from Dunlop down through La Chapelle. This is the inside of La Chapelle.

It's then up and over, down towards Musee

Which is another tight pseudo-hairpin

Coming out of Musee, you head downhill again, this time into Garage Vert

They added a lot of hard standing on the outside of that corner. Most riders don't like it, as it means you can make a mistake and not suffer the consequences.

Out of Garage Vert, and onto the back straight down towards the two sets of esses

Hopefully, though, you won't find a truck on the racing line

At the end of the back straight is a good place to attempt a pass, the Chemin aux Boeufs

If you get lost, there's signposts telling you your way round

After the Chemin Aux Boeufs comes the funfair, and the Garages Bleus esses

The big wheel provides an excellent view of the track. The giant bungee is probably a little too scary to allow much of a view

Out of Garages Bleus, and into the final rurn, the double right of Raccordement

Which really is two corners, even though the riders treat it as one

Raccordement offers several lines - if you're on a scooter

And then you're off back up the hill, across the line and into the Courbe Dunlop.

Making a note of the conditions as you cross the line

The strangest thing about the track is it is right next to an airfield for light aircraft, so you see single-engined planes appearing above the stands ...

... and circling overhead.

The TV cameraman's eyrie. They're perched up their all race. Nice under blue skies, not so nice when it's raining.

Sound is easier. No human intervention required.

The fire and safety patrol cars, lined up for action on Sunday

Not quite as swish as the official MotoGP safety cars

The French Grand Prix. Brought to you by Nster Ergy.


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I'm not a huge fan of the circuit though. Even for bikes, it seems too tight. They don't really get to stretch their legs and show us all their grunt and speed. On the other hand, it might be as close as posible to a Moto GP street circuit. Slow, tight and full of hard braking, like most street circuits are, but with run off and enough saftey features for the bikes.

great to see from that perspective - all too many times the TV coverage does not really show any elevation changes.

Love the photo of the microphone. I wasn't aware that they are specifically putting those up to catch the sound, but it makes sense of course.
Well, you learn something new every day, thanks for that. :)

The facility isn't as park-like as the others we've seen. Looks a little shop worn. Does the track have a big schedule?

There's the 24 hour bike race, the 24 hour car race, there's rounds of the French championship. It has a fairly busy schedule. 

see how the track changes elevation and be able to see some point to point shots that give an idea of how the track actually transforms from corner to corner. Thanks for the track "read".

I felt like I just walked around myself - nicely done.
El Jefe - Chief Editor of MotoRaceReports.com and Dave's biggest fan