The little bit of theatre before the start of the race that saw the French Tricolour delivered to honorary starter Rafael Nadal had an unexpected, and for most unnoticed, element.
As the French Army NH90 Helicopter, from which the flag had been delivered via rappelling Commandoes, dipped its nose to accelerate along the pit straight, then began a hard bank, a crew member, standing in the door and, presumably, filming the frankly fantastic view on his mobile phone, dropped it onto the grid below! (see circled image above!).
Earlier there was a portent of what we possibly have to come in the UK post Brexit* as the victors of the Road to Le Mans Race, Lanan Racing’s Mike Benham and Duncan Tappy, climbed onto the podium they were greeted not by the National Anthem, as prescribed by the Geneva Convention*, but instead Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 – Known to one and all in the UK as ‘Land of Hope and Glory.
Circuit management at Silverstone has issued an appeal on social media for a CD copy of Frère Jacques in case Signatech Alpine win in LMP2!*
*These aspects of this story may not necessarily be entirely true.
Aston GT3 Race Debut
One early surprise package for race weekend was the previously unannounced appearance in the Aston Martin Festival of the brand new Aston Martin Vantage GTE, Ross Gunn campaigning the new car, and proving to be, at least in non-BoPped version – too hot to handle for the remainder of the grid, including the trio of Aston Martin Vulcans.
Notably in Qualifying the new GT3 car set a lap time that was faster at that point than either of the factory Vantage GTEs!
The new car won the race (full replay below), but was sportingly removed from the results, and the fastest of the Vulcans took the victory, see below for the story of the second placed car.
The younger brother of the late and very great Allan Simonsen teamed up with fellow Danish racer Lasse Sorensen in a Young Driver AMR-entered 2016 spec Vantage GTE, returning to the scene of Allan’s fatal accident at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours.
His effort and bravery in doing so was rewarded with second place in the race after the pair dropped back from 2nd on the road to 22nd with a long hold at the pit exit red light whilst the Safety Car train passed.
Well done Benny, and well done too Young Driver AMR team owner Jan Struve (centre below) for bringing the emotionally charged effort to the track.