Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Le Mans?

by Tammy

I spent a lot of time this weekend watching (sometimes on 2x forward on the DVR) the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I was disappointed that Patrick Long and the Flying Lizards didn't finish (they can't hardly buy a break at that race), that the Corvettes weren't competitive (their worst year in modern memory, save one, perhaps), and that Tom Kristensen (Mr. Le Mans) didn't win his 9th race. But I did love seeing Audi engineer Leena Gade direct her team to a second consecutive victory. You go, girl!

Every year that I watch this race, I am more astonished at the effort, expense, and emotion associated with it. Teams spend millions of dollars and an entire year preparing for this 24 hours of competition. Some teams, such as Audi, spend weeks drilling the crew on car repairs, and run 30-hour tests. All so that they're prepared for anything.

The reality of a 24-hour race, however, is that you won't be prepared for everything. But what can set you apart is how you react to what goes wrong. That's true in life, as well as racing.

I know that most of what speaks to me about racing is a love for the stories of the people involved (this is why I make some up). So it shouldn't surprise anyone that the drama of the number one sporting event in the world (so says National Geographic) thrills me to no end. Because there's no end to the stories, and no end to the human struggle to overcome.

I watch the race thinking, "Can they keep the car running that long? Can they stay awake? Can they fix it?" Above all, I wonder, Can they do it? And watching those competitors climb their own mountains inspires me to climb my own.

What do you all get out of watching Le Mans or any other of your favorite races? Why do you love racing?

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