On the morning of September 25th 2011 I was lying in bed, motionless and snoring like a pig. I knew I had to wake up because engines were already roaring in Estoril, some 50 kms away from Uncle Iberian’s new (temporary) HQ. It wasn’t easy, you know, so, for sure, I wasn’t where I wanted to be once again! But I was pushing hard to wake up and be on the pace with other guys who were out there on the road, accelerating towards the good old “circuito”. Finally, I made one last effort while screaming like a bored wild boar and smashing my alarm clock against the wall (it was an old Vodafone mobile phone – I don’t have proper alarm clocks at home unfortunately; I live in extreme poverty these days).
“Cyril!” I said to myself, “You gotta open a pack of cereals and stick this angry mass(a) down yer throat or you’ll be late for Le Mans Series (which is like serial Le Mans, dude!)!” 5 minutes after that I was driving like a madman across Lisbon, sipping on Lidl Bull (that’s like fake Red Bull from Lidl, it’s considerably cheaper). My mind was a total/elf blur and Damon Albarn (Song 2? tell me about it!). Funnily enough, I made it in one piece and parked my recreational vehicle close to the mighty Parabolica and the crazy hairpin out at the back of the track; it’s actually the most picturesque part of it with nice backdrops and all, very suitable for moody shots.
The first thing I heard was the mighty V8 noise coming from Rebellion’s (LMP1) Toyota (petrol) engine and just listen to this, just check this out…
Ain’t she (or he) a noisy androgynous beauty? By the way, some folks now working for Cosworth (and formerly TF1 PR team) will probably smile at this combination of Toyota and Cosworth electronics. There was no sign of (magnificent) Bridgestone Motorsport anywhere near though…
Next on the list was LMP2 machinery and I’m talking Team RLR: the MG Lola EX265; this beautiful beast was powered “by a new Judd ‘HK’ engine based on a production BMW 4.0 litre V8”. Respect.
Finally, I was vince-eagerly awaiting Fisichella’s Ferrari F458 Italia but instead I got Toni Vilander and Jaime Melo in the same car with its 465 wild prancing horses. Fisico managed to retire (from F1 a couple of years ago and) from this particular race on lap 11 with mechanical troubles. I was disappointed, bitterly disappointed. In any case, it was JMW’s yellow Ferrari that took the honours this time, kudos to them. I’m a big fan of Fisichella, despite his failure to deliver big time in F1. He was OK, on the level and Force India is yet to score another podium finish without him, although I’m relying (heavily?) on PdiR to do just that one of these days. Jordan/FI cars definitely had a special relationship with Fisi: last win for Jordan back in 2003 and that excellent second place in Spa in 2009 with FI’s first proper racer. Force India did surprise a few people in the paddock in the second half of the season and my ben-spies in F1, my sources, me-me-me, are telling me it’s a nice little team with huge motorhome and desire to deliver strong results. I’m yet to taste FI coffee and test FI’s coffee machine but I’ve got a feeling it’s a good one. Yes?
Back to LMS now. It’s a top class event, I have to say. Last year, in Portimão, the circuit felt a bit big for the series but Estoril suited LMS just fine, with fans turning up in decent numbers. It wasn’t MotoGP type of crowd but at least it was possible to move around, a bonus for me personally. Entrance to the main grandstand was free and paddock ticket cost only 15 euros – a bargain! Except, I was late for the autograph session before the race and taking photos of paddock atmosphere wasn’t my intention. I was in the mood for blurry, damon-albarn-ry or albarn-y type of pics, I think you can easily tell that by looking at the gallery.
Kids, Le Mans Series is seriously good for your health if you’re a real fan of motor racing. Forget Twilitter and Muzzlebook, go out and have fun if anything Le Mans-related comes to your neighbourhood. I enjoyed every hour, every minute, every second, every milisecond of “6 Horas do Estoril” for real, no clicking the “like” button – it was more like Button in Montreal on the last lap: pure emotion.
Jai lms-ru deva om!
PS Race results.