I must admit that, by the time I reached the perimeter of the Le Mans circuit, my patience was wearing a little thin.

We had got out of bed at the crack of dawn, been on the move almost all day, battled with the consequences of erratic sat-nav routing and dealt with myriad tailbacks and traffic jams.

More importantly, we had so far managed to preserve the condition of the £142,000 Aston Martin DB9 Volante that we had driven all the way from Autocar’s office in Teddington. I would be damned if I was going to let anyone else damage it.

So, when people started crowding around it as we drove along the access roads of the track, I got a little twitchy. The crowds thickened, intentionally forming a single-car width lane and forcing cars passing through the throng to a crawl.

A chap in the crowd – to whom I will remain in eternal debt – shouted at me to close my windows. I heeded his warning, and made sure the doors were locked for safety’s sake. I could see people in the rear-view running their hands along the flanks of the DB9, while others came up and tapped on the windows inquisitively, giving us the thumbs-up or gesturing for us to wind our windows down.