The Le Mans Classic
Two weeks later, the cars arrived in France for the Le Mans Classic. Goldin wasn't planning to race there, but instead intended to participate in the concours and in an exhibition run. (The latter was ultimately rained out.)
The Le Mans Classic vintage sports-car race is the world's largest event of its type, and it always draws an impressive group of cars. In order to approximate the full round-the-clock racing experience, entrants do four 45-minute sessions at six-hour intervals.
This year's Classic was an especially big event, and organizers had arranged for the races to be run on the full course. (Most vintage events at Le Mans run a shorter 5-mile course.) The weather, unfortunately, was poor. Huge downpours of fast-moving rain crossed the track frequently, but they didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the competitors. In fact, during Friday night's practice, one overly enthusiastic driver had a huge accident, colliding with a guardrail. His car, a $15 million Gulf 917 Porsche, was seriously damaged.
Another part of the Le Mans Classic event is the Virage mobile studio, which provides the opportunity for entrants to have their cars photographed by a professional photographer in a studio environment. This was especially well-timed for Goldin, since the Spirit of Le Mans was still fresh from its restoration.
As for the concours, only one trophy is awarded per show category. Goldin's car didn't win the class, despite his recent work. Instead, the honor went to local race hero and longtime Peugeot privateer Henri Pescarolo, who also received a lifetime achievement award. While this outcome might have been disappointing to some, it did little to dim Goldin's enthusiasm.
When I asked Goldin about the highlights of his European trip, he didn't hesitate to respond. While he found both events impressive, the Goodwood Festival of Speed—with some 200,000 people attending—was absolutely amazing. He was also blown away by the number of people who personally thanked him for bringing the car. Taking the Spirit of Le Mans Corvette back to Le Mans was a dream come true, for both its owner and its fans.