McQUEEN’s labor of lovE
I first watched Le Mans when I was eight
or nine, but I bought a copy of the
re-mastered version when I was racing
out in the States in the noughties. When I
sat down and watched it again, I realized
that I had forgotten most of it. But having
done the 24 Hours of Le Mans several
times by then, I understood what an
accurate depiction of the race it was.
There are so many things that strike a
chord with me. There are many visual
references that are very familiar to me,
like the grandstands on the left as you
exit the Ford Chicane. They haven’t
changed much since 1970. Even the
entry to Dunlop Curve was almost
identical to how it is in the film the first
time I raced there, in Formula 3000 in
1991, apart from what was a little
chicane in those days.
The film does a great job of capturing
the ambience of the place and of
portraying the emotions of racing there.
Le Mans is a race that makes grown men
cry. It shows the many sides of Le Mans,
things that you might not see if you
go there only once.
I watched Top Gun and thought it was
pretty good. Then, I saw Days of Thunder
and thought it was rubbish because it was
so unrealistic. I’m sure there are fighter
pilots out there who think Top Gun isn’t
So many motor racing films aren’t
particularly realistic, but Le Mans is as
close to reality as it gets. Real racing
drivers were doing the driving, after all.
I could sit down and watch Le Mans
“The film does a great job of
portraying the emotions. It’s a
race that makes grown men cry”
(BELOW) Allan McNish
raced to a third overall
victory in the 2013
24 Hours of Le Mans.
Sharing the Audi R18
e-tron quattro with the
Scot were first-time
winner Loic Duval and
Tom Kristensen, who
took a record-extending
ninth win at La Sarthe.
Le Mans & me…
Striking a chord
over and over again. I reckon I watch it at
least once every couple of years. It’s just
a good watch on many different levels.
That era is arguably the sexiest in
sports car racing, and I think the film has
a lot to do with that.