Le Mans is surely one of the must-see spectacles of the motoring calendar. But what if you want to drive the cars you've seen battling their way around La Sarthe? Well, here are five examples that won't break the bank (too much).
1 - Nissan GT-R (2008-present)
Three Nissan GT-R-badged cars entered this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, albeit very different machines from the road-going one.
This GT-R scrambled enthusiasts’ brains on its launch in 2008. We called it “a brutal demonstration of what can be achieved by an engineering team fixated on creating the ultimate point-to-point machine”.
Grip from the all-wheel-drive super-coupé is seemingly endless, while performance is outrageous. The earliest models pack a 473bhp twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 engine mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Result: 0-62mph in 3.5sec and 190mph.
GT-Rs hold their value extremely well. Even a six-year-old model will cost from £35k. Be wary of modified ones and insist on a full history.
2 - Ferrari 360 Modena (1999-2005)
When Ferrari launched its replacement for the gorgeous F355, it ushered in a new era for the marque. The 360 Modena’s aluminium spaceframe chassis was 40% stiffer than the F355’s steel platform and it was nearly 30% lighter.
Powered by a high-revving 3.6-litre normally aspirated V8 engine, the 360 Modena pumps out 400bhp at 8500rpm and 275lb ft of torque at 4750rpm. The 0-62mph sprint takes 4.5sec and it won’t let up until it hits 189mph.
The 360 also represents possibly the cheapest way into Ferrari ownership, with examples starting from £32,000 with 80k miles and full service history. Look out for corrosion and be prepared for costly maintenance bills, though.
3 - Porsche 911 GT3 (1999-2005)
Seeing and hearing 911 GT3 RSRs bellowing up the Mulsanne Straight has been a popular activity at Le Mans for years. You can’t buy an RSR for the road, but you can have the next best thing.
The 996-generation GT3 is all about poise, agility and driver involvement rather than outright pace. Even so, it’s no slouch. With a 355bhp 3.6-litre normally aspirated flat six at the rear and a glorious six-speed manual gearbox, it covers 0-62mph in 4.7sec and has a top speed of 187mph. One of the highlights is that engaging flat six howl at 7000rpm.
You’ll have to dig deep for a 996 GT3. They start at £67k and climb beyond £80k for a pristine example. It should be a sure-fire investment, though.
4 - Chevrolet Corvette C6 (20014-2013)