It is a moment to stir the senses. At 3pm on Saturday, the gentle peace of the pine forests of the surroundings of the French city of Le Mans is rudely interrupted by the deafening sound of the sixty very powerful race car to accelerate at full throttle.
The 24 hours of Le Mans is one of the world’s greatest motorsport events. It is an annual endurance marathon, in the candidate cubes at high speeds on a track, which is largely made up of public roads, by night and day.
This year, the event will see a battle of David against Goliath to notice on the track – pitting one of the world’s largest car manufacturer against a group of highly concentrated, but much, much less “privateer” teams.
Among these small privateer of two British companies. Formula One refugees Manor Motorsport and racing car constructor Ginetta have done together, two cars, and you hope that maybe you are able to to to Japanese giant Toyota.The car in the foreground is… a Toyota?
Although the privateers were an important part of the 24 hours of Le Mans for generations, it is relatively rare that you will be able to challenge for the overall victory. The is fought a rule between the big car manufacturers.
In 2016, for example, there were three of them. But Audi and the reigning champion, Porsche have since left, preferring to focus on electric racing series formula E. That leaves only Toyota.
The Japanese manufacturer has years of a fixed size in Le Mans since 2012 and competed many times before. But he has never managed to win it.
So, Le Mans, Toyota, unfinished business. This year, it is the overwhelming favorite. It is the most money has the best resources and was able to choose and select the best driver.
However, his rivals still feel they have a chance. Lord of the Manor
Manor Motorsport is a company based in the heart of Sheffield. It was in competition in various forms of Motorsports since 1990, and inform the now-defunct Manor-formula-One-team.
With Chinese sponsorship, it was TRMS race two years ago to participate in the World Endurance Championship, a series of races with Le Mans as its blue-riband event.
Initially, the team started the second class for the slower and cheaper cars. But now you want to fight for the overall victory.
Team President Graeme Lowdon says the Le Mans was a natural fit for Manor, after he cut their links with formula One.
“We had a really strong team of people, the competition at world championship level,” he says
“We are still working with a number of these people. It was a question of figuring out what to do next, and to match the market, our skills”.Chinese Support
Endurance racing is a completely different animal from the F1. The Budgets are much, much smaller for a start. To spend a back-of-the-grid F1 Teams could expect $120m (£90m) a year, while a private entry at Le Mans, could get $20m.
But the increase, the money is much more difficult, and it means that the private teams are in a tough economic environment.
The Manor is backed up by Talent-Racing-sports, a Chinese company, devoted to the promotion of Motorsports in the country.
Earlier this year, the team was forced to withdraw from a race in Belgium due to what was described as a “short-term cash-flow problem,” as promised, the money will come on time. This situation has now been resolved.
“It is fast how to navigate a raft on some of the power,” says Mr Lowdon’s “There are challenges, but we need to work with them.”
Although he admits that many of those in the Le Mans effort, do so largely out of a passion for the sport, he believes that, ultimately, the team make money.
“This is a real company,” he says. “We are trying to be profitable”.Expect the unexpected
The cars supplied by Ginetta, a specialist manufacturer in the heart of Leeds.
It makes most of its money from building race cars and Championships to be running for you to sell even if there are still a handful of road machines as well.
It is certainly a very different business from Toyota, which sold 10 million vehicles in a year, and the race both to promote your brand worldwide and to develop new technologies.
However, after entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson, whom Ginetta, his company also has a lot to gain, seen at the event.
“It’s the biggest car race in the world, and the business logic for which participation is very clear,” he says.
“That’s our car in the race, running in the top class, is advertising a big Board. If you win, you books go in the story. It shows off our ability, in terms of technology”.
The case also draws attention to the racing series that runs Ginetta.
Starting with the Ginetta Juniors, which is open to 14-17 year-olds, they are designed to create a “motorsport Manager” for aspiring racers, allowing them to develop their skills, in a structured way.
Mr Tomlinson says, to compete in Le Mans allows young drivers to see how far you can go.
“We can have someone from the age of 14 to fight all the way to the race in Le Mans. Young Charlie is an example of that”.
In fact, the 21-year-old Charlie Robertson, his racing began career with Ginetta in 2011 – and now fodder for the manufacturer at Le Mans for the first time.
Both the Ginetta and the Manor are aware that this year, the chances of victory in this year are stacked against you.
You have not only to hope, that the two Toyotas hit trouble, you also in front of intense competition from a number of other, as well private teams.
But they are also aware that a lot can happen in 24 hours, and if it happens, at an average speed of more than 225km/h (140mph), you can expect the unexpected.