10/06/2019 - 18:21

Club ACO – Six members, 24 Hours, five questions.

Patrick, Jean-François, Valérie, Maxime, Charles and Jean-Patrick hail from different parts of France but are all ACO members. We put the same set of questions to each of them while they unwound in the members’ area at La Chapelle during last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Club ACO – Six members, 24 Hours, five questions.

What’s your favourite spot on the circuit?

  • Patrick: I have two. The most spectacular for me are the Porsche Curves and La Chapelle.
  • Jean-François: It depends on the time of day. During the day, I prefer to be in the Club area at La Chapelle, just after Dunlop. The cars are only ten metres away as they come through the chicane. At night, it has to be Arnage, when there is hardly anyone around. It’s magical. The cars are going flat out and then brake hard.
  • Valérie: Arnage is an iconic spot. There’s an authentic, unpretentious feel to the place. The dyed-in-the-wool fans are down there. There are no shops and the atmosphere is different. I first came in 2011 with David, my husband, and we slept there.
  • Maxime: The Pit Straight, in the ACO Members’ grandstands. You’re sheltered and have a superb view. You can see every pit stop, even at night.
  • Charles: It depends on the time of day. During the afternoon, I like to be down at the Porsche Curves to see them overtaking. But, in my opinion, the most magical place is Indianapolis, especially as night is falling. The colours can be breathtaking.
  • Jean-Patrick: Top of the Mulsanne Straight at night.

Who’s your favourite team?

  • Patrick: The Matra team in the 1970s. The noise that car made was something else! Porsche and Matra really were at the top of the game!
  • Jean-François: The Pescarolo team. They only had limited resources for LMP1 but they managed to more than hold their own.
  • Valérie: I don’t have a favourite team, but I do have a favourite driver. Tom Kristensen – a living legend.
  • Maxime: I don’t have one.
  • Charles: I’ll always be an Audi fan. Since they pulled out, I don’t have a favourite team but I enjoy the race just as much.
  • Jean-Patrick: Rebellion Racing.

Which car would you love to drive?

  • Patrick: A Chevrolet Corvette. It sounds like a tractor – I love it!
  • Jean-François: The Porsche 917.
  • Valérie: A Porsche... any Porsche!
  • Maxime: The Bugatti Chiron, I like the design.
  • Charles: The Audi R8.
  • Jean-Patrick: The Porsche 911.

Which were your favourite 24 Hours of Le Mans?

  • Patrick: I’m from Normandy, so I’ll say 1978 when Alpine won.
  • Jean-François: The year Peugeot last won – 2009.
  • Valérie: That first year I came with my husband and we slept in the car.
  • Maxime: 2016 when there was that dramatic finish with the Toyota grinding to a halt just three minutes from victory.
  • Charles: The first time I came with my son. He’s accompanied me every year since.
  • Jean-Patrick: 1982 – my first time. What a shock to the system!

What has Club ACO done for you?

  • Patrick: Touch wood – I’ve never had to call on their services!
  • Jean-François: Being a member means I can have my choice of grandstand seats and car park.
  • Valérie: This Club members’ area at La Chapelle. You can step away from the hustle and bustle, and relax while continuing to follow the race.
  • Maxime: The Club’s legal aid helped me out. I had some problems with a new car and had to change some parts. The legal service saved me money.
  • Charles: The grandstands and member areas are spacious and comfortable. We feel privileged.
  • Jean-Patrick: Being a member means I can experience the 24 Hours from the inside as a volunteer. I feel a part of the race without being out on the track!

Photos: Dominique Breugnot