SATURDAY/SUNDAY - Exhilarating, exhausting weekend at Le Mans, watching Porsche achieve its first outright win in nearly two decades.
Disappointed with the failure of the Aston Martins, usually Britain’s GT bulwark against Corvette, Ferrari and, er, Porsche. Next year, Ford will be part of it, too, which is going to make the famous old event unmissable, if it wasn’t before.
If you’re used to Bernie-style motorsport, Le Mans always strikes you as wall-to-wall chaos, yet it works and there’s no mistaking the love people have for the race and the annual pilgrimage.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has claimed a new record attendance of 263,000 people but failed (as usual) to note the even more amazing fact that more than one-third of those – close to 100,000 souls – drove over from the UK. I went by Aston, and in 600 miles saw only one lethargic-looking carload of gendarmes, so for once those stories of speeding Brits being frogmarched to cashpoints seemed to be exaggerated.
MONDAY - Early trip to Jaguar Land Rover’s design centre at Whitley, where a couple of us were smuggled into the super-secret prototype shop to see the million-pound ‘continuation series’ Lightweight E-Type chassis being built.
Then we were swept to the Heritage workshops at nearby Browns Lane in a whispering XJR to see the car in trim and final assembly, before continuing to Heathrow for a flight to Bilbao, where we were to drive both the E-Type and the production-ready F-Type Project 7 on the nearby Navarra circuit. Bed at midnight after a busy day.
TUESDAY - Up early for one of the most memorable double-drives of my life. The beauty of this northern Spanish region and the magnificence of its well-surfaced and deserted roads made me wonder (again) why more of us don’t simply climb into our cars and head for this place, for dedicated days of driving on routes we have chosen beforehand, with a bit of quality eating and talking thrown in.