Levorg and WRX Sti to Le Mans July 2016
July 7th 2016 3.30 am.
Ok this is a bit early but it is going to be well worth the alarm call. 492 miles from door to trackside and we have 2 of Subaru's latest models to travel in, along with 8 other cars with drivers. Our weapons of choice were the Subaru WRX Sti Type UK 305 ps and the rather marvellous Subaru Levorg GT AWD Touring 180ps. So with the Levorg absolutely loaded to the brim ( golly that is one big load space area) with Tents, Marquee, Cool boxes, Air beds and enough food and drink for 5 chaps and 4 days we set off from Rayne behind (of course) the WRX Sti for the A120 / M11 /M25 (accident already showing on the Starlink Navigation....at 3.30 in the morning ! ) M2 to Dover. We have caught up with the convoy of other vehicles and arrive at Dover at 5.30 ready for our ferry at 6.40 am. Weather is already warming up so the Climate Control is working and breakfast is required by all.
As we hit France, the cars are together, sun is shining (it stays like that all weekend) and off we go. The Levorg is in charge here. The smooth Autoroutes are Levorg territory with a relaxed cruise at 130 kph, showing 34 mpg with this heavy load. Very quiet, you cannot actually hear the engine at high speed such is the sound deadening and NVH attention to detail. Hardly any wind noise either so a good chance to chat and enjoy the premium audio system fitted to all Subaru cars. The WRX STi is a different prospect. It cruises nicely at 85mph, obviously wants to be let loose at any time. Road noise is higher, although very acceptible, and when we reach Rouen and those long lovely tunnels, the exhaust rasp and rumble going through the well lit tunnels is heaven to any petrol head and the cars nature is just mean, quick and you feel almost lucky to be driving a car with such character. How do those clever people at Subaru engineer this into a car ? Very impressed. Super accurate steering with a perfect ride and that kind of " I chose a wonderfully different car than the rest of you" feeling. Seems that the STi is a rarity in France as any traffic stop , fuel stop or peage, we caught other travellers taking pictures of this black beauty.
So we arrive at Le Mans. Wow what a place. Many of us have been numerous times and still you have to take it in piece by piece. It's an enormous race track and the camp site was only 200 metres from the main Grandstand so we are set for a magical and noisy (thats' 24 hours of racing) adventure. As you hear 7 litre Ford GT 40's amd Lola T50 /T70's roaring past you for practice 1 aswell as more Porsche 911's than you have ever seen ( I think there was a field nearby with 911 of them ) all with classic racing history and just gourgeous engine and exhaust noise to delight and excite the senses.
From this point the classic cars took over. If you have even half an interest in classic or racing cars, you must go. Every 2 years, over 200 vehicles gather to compete in fair but hard racing. Many of the drivers are professional, ALL of the cars are exquisite.
After 3 days of noise, laughs and total car nut knowledge everywhere you go, it's time to come home. Of course, we were all happy to re-start our steeds and get on our way home and enjoy the last few hours of motoring pleasure before Monday morning back in the office. It did make us smile when the ferry guys asked us give the STi a rev on the boat so they could hear it and when I switched off the car after nearly 500 miles of driving, I could have easily just started it back up and vanished up the road again although I would have definatley grabbed the kids and the wife to come with me.
Enjoy the pictures and if this takes your fancy, then feel free to call in and ask us for details of how to book your tickets, what areas you HAVE to go to and of course, where to meet us for a beer and a sandwich. Can't wait for the next one in 2 years time. I wonder what we will take to drive next time ? It will be a Subaru that is for sure.