Uk Viper Club Banner

Le Mans 2014 and 3 Vipers

By Mark Kidman

Well, have to say we had been looking forward to this one, SRT had come back to Le mans in 2013 and we were looking forward to more of the same! Sadly SRT pulled out, but that did not stop us enjoying ourselves.

I had put the call out earlier in the year to see who was up for a little jaunt to France, names came back and we had 5 Vipers and owners who were interested.  This year I had decided to use the Ferry route as it made the drive to Le mans slightly shorter and also worked out better for us who fancied visiting the Normandy Beaches with this year being the 70th anniversary.  As things were getting nearer to Le mans, sadly two of the Vipers had to drop out!  Adrian had Engine issues and Neil had to drop out due to work load.

Thursday 12th June dawned, the car had been packed up the evening before and we were ready.  I can’t tell you how exciting it is driving down to the ferry port, you see loads of stickered up cars in historic race Graphics all heading in the same direction, its brilliant!  I made the journey to the port and upon arrival met Dave and Andrew in their Black Gen II RT/10.

The sailing was very smooth and after leaving Portsmouth we arrived in Le Havre.  The Group was not just Vipers, we also had a Nissan GTR, Jag XJR, TVR Sagaris and a few other cars,  this made it fairly hard to keep the group together with some wanting lunch and others wanting to go directly to le mans, but no problem as we are all on Holiday.

Somehow or other I lost a couple of the cars on route so ended up having a solo journey for about a 1/3rd of the way.  We had booked the Honduras Campsite on the inside of Tet Rouge corner, this is run by Team Langoustine a friendly bunch of people from the UK. 

We had 24HR Security, Private Bar, TV, Hot showers and even a British Burger van.

Thursday evening we were joined by Richard in his Red SRT/10 Gen 3 Viper and also making his second appearance at Le mans was John, another Gen 3 owner from the USA (currently working in Germany).

Dr Bob was also at Le mans in his usual spot but due to the size of the circuit our paths did not cross.

Friday morning was our chance to get out and about in the cars, a brisk run down the open parts of the famous Mulsanne  Straight and then onto the Classic British Welcome north of Le mans at St Saturim,

Now sadly things did not go too smoothly for me, after a short burst of the right foot and then a bit of sharp breaking my car decided to cough out a load of Oil into the intake, which in turn entered the exhaust system! 

Moral of the story, Fit an Air Oil separator puke tank.  I did not want to start the car up after seeing all the smoke, but the very nice man from the AA was brilliant and we soon got the oil clear. 

I had told the others to go onto the Classic car show and they enjoyed themselves.  During the evening a few of us went into Le mans town centre and enjoyed a good meal thanks to Richard who had picked out a good Italian.

Saturday…….RACE DAY

Myself and Laurie had booked Grandstand seats for this year, it was great seeing all the cars lined up on the grid and the various celebs walking around the cars.  The noise of the cars resonates as they pass the grandstands, its brilliant.

Later in the evening we regrouped back at the campsite then went walkabout around the circuit into the early hours, beer too might have been involved!

Sunday….What’s that noise….Yep the Corvettes are still running.

Time to pack up the camping gear, watch some more racing then head off to Normandy for the next part of our trip.  OH and will someone please make a car to stop Audis winning run.

Richard, Myself and Dave set off just before race end to head for the chateau I had booked for our group near Bayeux, I used my old route out of town and hit no traffic what so ever, then turned north to head for Normandy, oh boy we found some great roads and we all enjoyed the trip.

The accommodation was rather grand and after a shower we took a short stroll to the sister chateau for Drinks and food, a very nice evening.

Monday morning we said our goodbyes to Richard and the rest of the crowd, then Dave and I headed off to see the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach.   A very moving place.

We then continued onto the Historic port of Cherbourg to catch our ferry home.
Next stop the Le mans Classic!