LE MANS CARS AT BICESTER DRIVE-IN CLASSIC
The Classic Car Drive In Weekend (18-20 September) will pay special homage to the epic Le Mans 24 Hours race when it opens its doors at Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire, UK in less than two weeks’ time.
With this year’s postponed running of the famous Le Mans twice-around-the-clock endurance showdown being staged behind-closed-doors in northern France over the same weekend as Bicester, the exciting new Covid-compliant Classic Drive In Festival will be offering petrol-heads an alternative Le Mans experience on track, on display, on the silver screen and in the pub!
Some of the finest examples of GT and sportscars that have competed in the world’s oldest and most famous endurance race will be revving up and dazzling visitors with eye-catching driving displays on Bicester Heritage’s test track. In between five daily live performances, these icons will also be on public display in the socially-distanced paddock.
Adding to the celebration, Le Mans ’66 (aka Ford v Ferrari), the recent Oscar winning movie starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, is one of the great driving films being screened at the event’s US-style drive in cinema.
What’s more Bicester’s on-site Wriggly Monkey Brewery will be offering live coverage of this year’s 24 Hours race from start to finish as well as clips from some of the more classic races – all in a traditionally French themed environment. It will also have a selection of Le Mans cars on display and, of course, its own beer.
“Le Mans’ magical atmosphere always attracts many thousands of British enthusiasts but now, as this year’s race is taking place without any fans, we will be doing our very best to fill that void… and, indeed, all those resulting from so many other great attractions that have been cancelled, or run without spectators, in recent months,” vowed show director Bas Bungish.
“Organised specifically for what’s called ‘the new normal’, The Classic Car Drive In Weekend offers both visitors and the industry a welcome respite from what has in so many ways been a very challenging summer.”
Many Le Mans greats are among the iconic sportscars in action at The Classic Car Drive-In weekend – these include Jaguar D-type (a winner in 1955, 1956 and 1957), Lola T70, Ferrari 212, Maserati Birdcage, AC Cobra, Cooper Monaco and Ford GT40 (a winner in 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969).
One of the most famous Le Mans cars was the Ford GT40. It was a four-time winner in the legendary race, Four years in succession, in fact - from 1966 through 1969
Adding some extra interest and widening the collection’s appeal, these racing legends will be joined by a few curiosities such as a stunning replica of the streamlined little Mini Marcos (based on a 1275cc Mini Cooper) which contested the great race in 1967.
A Mini Marcos leads a Lotus Elan
Adult admission tickets to the drive in cinema at The Classic Car Drive In Weekend are priced from just £10 and £18 for the accompanying classic car show, which includes access to the live track performances, competition car paddock, dealer displays, car-related traders, a live Bonhams MPH auction plus a host of other attractions at the UK’s only Centre for Historic Motoring Excellence.
Full experience show tickets offer even greater value. Priced at just £25 for adults and £15 children (aged 5-15), these automatically give visitors access to the entire showground including a fantastic drive in, car-themed movie of their choice. Any remaining tickets will be available on the day but at a £5 premium, so booking in advance is highly recommended.
For more information on The Classic Car Drive In Weekend and to purchase tickets visit: www.theclassiccarshowuk.com. The website also provides a full film schedule plus comprehensive information on all the Covid-compliant procedures being put in place to provide all-comers with a secure environment.
Those wishing to find out more about The Wriggly Monkey Brewery and its planned Le Mans festivities can discover more from the www.wrigglymonkeybrewery.com website.
The Lola T70 with Chevrolet V8 engine was one of the fastest sports racing cars ever and was a winner in the legendary Can-Am series while the fabled Shelby Cobra (below) won the World GT Championship in 1965.
The Cooper Monaco was one of the first rear-engined sports cars and used a 2-litre four cylinder Coventry Climax engine. Over in the USA, Carroll Shelby squeezed a 4.7-litre V8 into one and called it the King Cobra. It was a winner and paved the way for Can-Am cars like the Lola T70.
The Maserati ‘birdcage’ (below) got that nickname because its lightweight chassis was constructed of a web of short and straight small diameter tubes