LM24 live blog (from the armchair)

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The bulk of the nation’s motoring journalists are at Le Mans for the 24-hour race this weekend… but not all of us.

However, thanks to the wonders of Eurosport, Twitter and a multitude of live blogs, I won’t miss out. I could almost be there, sort of.

So, to get me fully in the mood, I’m writing a live blog of my LM24 experience too (as with Pistonheads, updates following top-down six-hour update means it’s now new-at-top). Proving that you don’t need to be there to get into the spirit of things.

Well, that’s what I’m telling myself. Let’s see how that theory holds up, shall we…

Sunday

1402h

Brilliant: Audi takes a thoroughly well deserved win. Chuffed for them, delighted for one of the world’s friendliest and most decent racing drivers Allan McNish, and amazed that it’s Tom Kristensen’s 9th (oh, and Audi’s 12th). The celebrations will be subdued, understandably, but shouldn’t take anything away from a mesmerising Audi victory.

1342h

Thought the in-car cameras on the ACO feed were broken, because the screen was almost black. Nope: it’s a massive great cloud in the sky! From back here in the UK, it honestly looks like night-time… more rain imminent..?

1332h

Green! And, here, my sentiments exactly:

1328h

My complex online viewing solution is now finally buffered and running… to reveal the safety car period. Have I timed it just right to see some action?

1319h

You all know it: now I do too. This race, into its final hour. is fantastic. Despite not having Eurospot, on the edge of my seat. Who needs live TV when you have Twitter?

1307h

I’ve been for a jog. Finished weeding the garden. Been to Tesco. Put some fuel in the car.  One disadvantage of watching 24 hour racing from afar is everyday life also demanding your time. At least if I was there, I’d be away from multibuy offers and stinging nettles…

I’ve been touching base via Twitter during the morning but not been able to follow it closely. Now I’m back, one advantage, from experience, should be the ability to read up on the race relatively easily. All the feeds I’ve got set up tell me exactly what’s going on, in great detail. Like having a dozen Martin Brundles all on hand.

So, once I’ve put the shopping away, I’ll dig in. Oh, but what’s this – Ginettas on ITV4? And two more BTCC races later this afternoon? What was that about demands on time again…

0500h

I ache all over. One disadvantage of not being at Le Mans is having time to do household things. Like, pulling up all that overgrowth in the garden. Or, going for a four-mile run.

After the sadness of yesterday, I’m hoping for a great race in Simonsen’s honour. Quickly catching up reveals an Audi is leading, as to be expected… but looking at the running order, plenty has happened in between. Now to find out exactly what…

Saturday

2200h

One exception. Respect, Aston Martin. RIP Allan.

2133h

The wind has rather been taken out of my live blog. I’m not there, so don’t have the drama of the racing to enthral me. But I do have the headlines that a driver, the hugely able Allan Simonsen, was killed there. Makes it seem all rather serious: motor racing is dangerous, say the entry tickets, and they’re sadly right.

The tributes on Twitter show Allan was a talented and well respected racing driver. His family have asked Aston Martin to race on in his memory, rather than withdrawing, which brings an instant tear to the eye. All his friends are saying what a fine man he was. He had many friends. It’s awful.

Thoughts are naturally with his family, with his team-mates, with my friends and colleagues at Aston Martin Racing.

Blogging doesn’t seem right in such circumstances. Let’s hold off until tomorrow, aye. And please, #winitforallan.

1913h

So, we’re trying to get the hashtag #winitforallan trending. This is how people can use social media to show their respect to a racing star, and also how they can bring his name to the consciousness of the wider world. I hope we can do. I hope Aston Martin can win it for Allan, too.

Reading the tweets, he sounds like a racer’s racer: clean, fair but talented and tenacious.  Lots of touching messages from the racing community, each one so very sad yet touching to read.

There’s a race still going on too but, from here from afar, it’s a bit less important than it was right now.

1852h

Ian Cook, superstar. #winitforallan

1849h

Let’s do it.

1819h

Andrew Frankel says it perfectly.

1804h

1800h

In hearbreaking conditions, Allan Simonsen’s family deserve not only our thoughts and condolences, but also our immense respect: at their specific request, the Aston Martin Racing team will continue at LM24, in Allan’s honour.

Incredible bravery. Please, let them triumph in this adversity.

1727h

1720h

Just read the horrific news about Allan Simonsen. Absolutely awful; the worst possible.

A very respectful RIP.

1700h

To mark the fact it passed its MoT, just been out in the Mercedes. Naturally I’m straight to the computer (at last joining the LM24 crowds with a beer) to see what’s going on. How to quickly get an update? Why, default to Autosport – where I’ve discovered another super live blog. This one has coloured icons and everything – oh, and a class leader graphic to the right. Uber handy. Loving the menacing black rain cloud too.

1530h

Should’ve gone to source from the start: the ACO’s online coverage of LM24 is brilliant. Live race updates, live footage and a sprinkling of other features, it’s very impressive. Still have RLM on in the background, of course.

1520h

Jalopnik are doing fine work covering the actual race on their LM24 live blog. The hourly updates are inspired. Finger hovering on F5, I will be back there often.

1515h

Perhaps breaking all sorts of live blog etiquette, you’ll notice I’ve reversed the updates: fresh ones will be added from the top. For this sort of short-snippet, couple-of-sentence refreshes, I reckon new-at-top works better. If it’s good enough for the Guardian, it’s good enough for me.

That’s the beauty of live blogs. You learn as you go and correct as you type…

1455h

Those first three laps though, those were good, right?

— Travis Okulski (@tokulski) June 22, 2013

I missed ’em all…

1450h

Audi’s Kyle Wilson-Clark has just got a namecheck on RLM. Great bloke: I had the pleasure of speaking to him at length last year. Want to read the Le Mans insights he gave me? While the safety car’s out, do take a look.

1440h

After all the rushing about, now it’s an extended safety car period due to a crash by the #95 Aston Martin (hope Simonsen is OK). All those at the circuit are probably cracking open another 1664. Me, I’m putting the washing up away and making a nice cup of coffee.

This Le Mans-mimicking authenticity needs a bit of work.

1415h

Thank you, Philip Parker. Your Tweet has steered me to the Guardian Le Mans 24 Hours live stream – with sound down on that and RLM playing in the background, my LM24 viewing problem is solved.

Even better, Tilly and Friends can remain on the main TV – so everyone’s happy. Perfect.

1405h

Not actually being at LM24 means there are excuses for missing the start of the race. Such as driving back from the shopping centre. Normal life means no pre-prep for the race: as always, thank goodness for Twitter. Duly updated by Audi Sport, I’m now hooked into Radio Le Mans. Sounding all rather exciting already… safety car alert as I type!

1000h

I may not have Eurosport but I have Radio Le Mans audio on the ‘net and Twitter updates from the fine Eve Hewitt. That’s ideal until daughter Daisy goes to sleep this evening – in the battle of LM24 vs. CBeebies, Sarah and Duck wins every time.

The challenge is thus to find out how I can watch some night-time racing, and also how to swap an evening of Mad Men for it…

0920h

CRISIS! Our Sky TV package doesn’t include Eurosport! The fact I’ve only just discovered this just goes to show how comprehensive Motors TV normally is. But not here. To the internet…

0900h

So we’ve only just started and I’m already envious. Colleague Steve Moody is at the race, doing it proper fan-stylee (Tesco Value tent compensating for the Bentley). He’s doing it exactly how I’d do it – and a visit to Tesco itself can’t quite compare. Groan!

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