My First Petit Le Mans!

Oh, boy! We had been planning this event in the last two weeks. That is the deal with a gamer family, we all play Gran Turismo Series (GT 4 and 5 Prologue specially) including, you hear this? my father in law.

The forecast last Saturday (9/26/09) was not at all good; and worse – there was a thunderstorm on the afternoon. After waking up at 6 am, which on Saturday is really early for me, I packed up some sandwiches, dressed up the kids, and loaded the SUV with food, raincoats and umbrellas tossed up in the back.

Everybody in the car was giddy and of course excited. Especially the youngest one who loves cars. (his first word was “Kaaa!”) Rashid was mumbling how we might be late already and it was wet-drizzling muddy day and how it could ruin the day if it stayed like that, of course I agree with him, with this kind of weather my kids could get sick!

We came to a halt once we reached the exit towards Braselton (where it was held, Road Atlanta). There were a lot of cars ahead of us already, and it was still 4 miles to go! But traffic went along fine, until we reached there. Since Rashid paid online, he had to pick up the ticket. We went around the parking lot (different than the main, it was just the parking for people who was picking up their tickets, like us) and it was full! I asked an attendant if we could just park anywhere since we just have to pick up the ticket. He said no, we have to go around and round until we see somebody leaving. That was frustrating! We followed a car who went out of the road towards the grassy area (not a parking lot at all)…well, who cares right now, it was raining, muddy, busy and crazy anyway…who has the time to check where everybody parked!? To my surprised, a few cars followed us…and a few more until there was a row of cars including us that was parked there…heheehe, now we are not alone!

Rashid went to get the ticket while I was getting the kids ready (ponchos and all). When he came back he was reluctant to leave the car on the spot concerned that we were not at all in a parking lot…but seeing some few dozens row of cars and more still where we were- he was convinced.

We walked about 1/4th of mile towards the gate, until we found out that the attendant/teller (whatever you may call him/her) just gave Rashid one ticket although he had paid for two! So he had to go back there (one fourth of a mile!) to get it + a few more lines of people ahead of him, while me and the kids waited on the side of the gate. It had a good view of the road course though but it had not started yet….

He came back just in time when the host announced to start their engines….. we were walking inside by the side of the road course (well, not actually “beside” but near it…and it had a very clear view of it.) We could hear, I could hear the race cars and le mans prototypes (LMP’s) coming towards the road course, I swear my heart started racing! Oh my Lord! After all those 24 hours endurance road courses Rashid used to do, I would wake up and GT4 would still be on, sometimes I would change tires for him if he was sleeping. This is how it looks like for real! And the sound, the sound of the engines! It is NOT, mind you, NOT like Nascar… I like Nascar too but THIS! The Audi R15; Acura ARX; Peugeots, the Porcsche RS Spyder….and in the GT2 race, the Panoz Team with the Esperante, the Porsche 911 GT3s, the Ferrari 430 GTs… it was beyond me!

While the boys and I were watching the race wide eyed, Rashid and Simone with Zak went to the pit for a quick look… That is another difference with the Nascar racing, you can go to the pit and if you’re lucky- you can get an autograph from one of the drivers….
The kids were getting hungry so we had to exit out for a bit and go to a spot where we can camp and at the same time enjoy the view of the cars as well.

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