17-year-old Thomas came along with his parents and was enthralled to watch the cars go through the scrutineering process. He has some very clear ideas about the winners in each class: “In LMP1, Toyota, in LMP2 I’d say Alpine, in LM GTE Pro, Porsche and in LM GTE Am, Ferrari. I keep track with the 24 Hours of Le Mans every year.”
Ian (59) has travelled from Germany and he stood on the edge of the square, taking in the buzzing atmosphere in Le Mans city centre. He’s always been a 24 Hours of Le Mans fan and wouldn’t miss the race for the world. “I’ve been coming every year since 1990,” he said, then unreservedly made his prediction for the LMP1 class: “The #8 Toyota will win the race!” Ian is less sure about the other classes and is hedging is bets until he sees the cars on the track.
Cécile, who has lived in Le Mans for two years, came along with her daughter and could be found admiring the safety cars on show. “This is my first time at Scrutineering, and I’ve never been to the 24 Hours,” she told us. “The only marque I really know is Porsche, so I can’t make any predictions. But I’m really enjoying the atmosphere – it’s so cosmopolitan!”
58-year-old Le Mans native Pascal soaked up the warm Scrutineering atmosphere as he listened to the commentator on stage. When we asked for his predictions, he said: “I think the undisputed and indisputable favourite is Fernando Alonso. And I think the Rebellion team could end its season on a high with this race.” He isn’t always able to follow the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship but said: “The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an emblematic race in France and the world over. I really enjoy the atmosphere at the race.”
We then met 66-year-old Alain, another local who was enjoying stroll around Place de la République, the venue for Scrutineering. He reminisced: “I was 10 or 12 years old when I first came with my parents.” He’s not keen to place any bets yet: “It’s a bit early to make predictions for the moment. The race is wide open. I prefer the LM GTE classes.” As for the prototypes? “The LMP1s don’t look like road-going cars so I’m keen to see what they hypercars will look like. I’d definitely come along to see them! It’s what Le Mans is all about.”
PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), PLACE DE LA REPUBLIQUE, MONDAY 10 JUNE 2019, SCRUTINEERING. The SMP Racing #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER leaves the Scrutineering enclosure.