I think the viewing experience is a fundamentally different one. Because the races are a lot longer, it’s not something you necessarily give your full attention for the whole duration. The commentary style is different – one of the best things about going to Le Mans for me is the moment the car gets close enough to the track to be able to pick up Radio Le Mans. Their race coverage is by far and away the best for any sport out there. John Hindhaugh is fantastic, engaging and often hilarious to listen to, while also being very well informed and able to explain exactly what’s happening in the race and why.
But it is totally different. Watching F1 is something I sit down and do for a couple of hours on a sunday. If I’m not at Le Mans, I’ll invite a bunch of like minded friends to watch the race with me, make a proper event of it. Get beers in, some food (a barbecue if the weather is good!), and the race forms a great backdrop to a more sociable experience. It’s why I love going to the race as well, because I can enjoy time with friends while also enjoying the motorsport. The atmosphere around the track is incredible, and shifts completely throughout the race depending on what’s happening. Whether it’s at the race start with every nook and cranny stuffed with supporters cheering and waving flags, through the night with the grandstands mostly empty but occupied by hardore fans wrapped in blankets, the big surges towards the screens in the Le Mans Village areas when something dramatic has happened on the track. There’s so much to see and do, with this constant thunder of racing cars in the background, like some amazing petrol powered carnival. F1 is great, but Le Mans is something very unique and very special. It’s a true festival, celebrating everything about motorsports. Not just something people do for a day out, but something people do because they all share the same absolute love for the sport. It’s a pilgrimage for the faithful to go and worship at the altar of speed.
I don’t understand this idea that people have to choose one motorsport and stick solely to watching that. I watch F1, WEC, ALMS, NASCAR, BTCC, WRC, Indycar, and a whole load besides. If these sports become more popular then that’s great, but I don’t think it needs to be a competition. I love them all because they’re all unique and the experience of watching them is so different.
Yeah MazdaChris I agree with everything you said. Attending a 24 hour race is an amazing experience and something I would recommend to any fan of motor racing. I also totally agree with what others have said about WEC races being something you have on while doing something else, but with Radio Le Mans on of course.
Le Mans 24 hours is one of my fave weekends of the year, and I always spend it with the race on and having fun playing games and generally drinking a lot of coffee! Its a mini endurance party in my lounge room, though I usually sneak in a nap somewhere lol. My fave part is the race through the night, the lights on the cars and the onboard views are stunning. I also love seeing the mechanics, drivers and spectators through out the race, clearly worn and worse for wear but fighting on and loving every minute of it!