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.