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24 Heures du Mans - From a Road Atlanta Perspective

Megan ErnstLe Mans Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2011

As a first timer at the 24 Heures du Mans, I had a laundry list of places I wanted to visit and things to experience.

To begin, it was good I was not the one driving to the track because as soon as I got a glimpse of the facility, I couldn’t turn my head away.  The pit structure stood five stories high with so many grandstands I couldn’t keep track of how many I saw and in the distance was the historical ferris wheel that I had seen so many times before in pictures.  It was the best feeling to finally be here, in person!

My first stop: Registration.  This large sphere shaped building with a very tall rounded ceiling was set up with several desks to help patrons’ receive their tickets.  It sure is nice they know how to speak some English, because otherwise I would have been there awhile!

Sliding on my Le Mans lanyard and hard card, it was time to actually enter the facility.  Cars were lined up all around to get into the famous racing circuit.  They actually scan in each person and vehicle as you enter and leave the track, which makes the wait longer to get in but results in accurate attendance numbers.

Since I am the media geek of the Road Atlanta group, I have to talk about the media center.  I was absolutely blown away by the amount of dedicated media and the space to accommodate such a crowd.  The system as a whole was very organized and easy to figure out.  And the view!  The view over looking pit row and down the front straight is priceless.  Every time you look up there are thousands of fans across track staring right back at you.  What a sight!

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7 Awesome Areas to View a Race at Road Atlanta

7 Awesome Areas to View a Race at Road Atlanta

Watching a race at a road course is very different from watching an oval race.  Watching a race at Road Atlanta is even more different than watching a road race anywhere else!

For starters - you don't have to stay put.  You can roam around the 750 acres - you can watch screaming high end speeds at over 200 mph – and in less than ten minutes you can watch some cars slamming it up through the esses or taking the challenging hairpin turns at 6 and 7.

So here are my top 7 places to watch a race from Road Atlanta...

1) The Grandstand situated across from the Paddock area near the start / finish line.  Sitting here you get a clear view of pit road and the start / finish line.  You also get to watch the cars come down into turn 12 and scream down the straightaway towards turn 1.

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5 Reasons a NASCAR fan should attend Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

5 Reasons a NASCAR fan should attend Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

1 - You are a race fan. You like the sounds, the smells, and the excitement that only motorsports can give you.  Road Atlanta and Petit Le Mans get you more up close than you have ever dreamed.  If you like watching the Cup cars at Sonoma or Watkins Glen - you will be hooked on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Road Atlanta after only one visit.

2 - Night racing. So you like Bristol at night.  You love Daytona under the lights.  Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta will quench your thirst for heart-stopping action at night.  The headlights and brake lights totally add something that NASCAR doesn't give us - a really different perspective of 200mph at night followed by hard braking setting up for turn one.  Night racing rocks.  It really rocks at Road Atlanta.

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