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FIXME Chapter Editor:Delboy will do the 2015 update

A.C.O. Membership

“Is It Worth It??” - This question is often asked on Club Arnage regarding the membership of the A.C.O. This section provides details of the benefits of membership.

There are three levels of membership: Passion 24, Passion 24 VIP and Passion 24 Gold.

Also offered is a breakdown option (cost €25) similar to those offered by the RAC and other motoring organisations, but these are not really relevant to non-French residents. Most people will have arranged their own breakdown insurance which includes repatriation of the broken vehicle to their country of origin.

Other special benefits are offered, at a cost of €24, for those travelling to the circuit in a car at least 30 years old, or for 'exceptional' cars as judged by the ACO.

Some of the items from the 'Passion Collection' can be collected at any time during race week, from the ACO. All other items are sent by post 3 months or so after the race.

There are other (mainly irrelevant) benefits, eg 3 free 20-minute sessions on the Bugatti circuit, but only for ACO licensed drivers, and obviously outside race week.

For 2015, the cost of the two main membership classes (VIP & Gold) have risen slightly, but so has the cost differential between the club/non club price for general entry tickets.

Passion 24 Membership (Cost €39)

  1. Aimed primarily at fans who cannot attend La Sarthe
  2. Access to the Members' enclosure
  3. Unique access to live updates on the website during the race and all LMS, ALMS and Asian series races
  4. Access to classifications via SMS Text Messages (min 26 texts) throughout the race
  5. The Passion 24 collection consisting of the Official Poster, Entry List, Results, Photos of the winners, etc
  6. Use of the ACO Grandstand. Two tickets per member for Tribunes 17 and 18
  7. 15% reduction on all items in the official 24 Heures shop

Passion 24 VIP Membership (Cost €105)

All the benefits of Passion 24 membership, plus:

  1. Up to 6 General Admission tickets at approx 25% discount (2015: €56.25 instead of €75). Discount is also available on tickets for The Classic, 24 Heures Moto and French Moto GP
  2. Up to 2 Camping tickets at 10% discount (approx) – actual discount amount depends on the camp site
  3. 15% discount on any and all products on sale in the ACO shop
  4. 20% discount on sessions on the karting circuit.
  5. Free admission to the paddock at The Classic
  6. Access to the Passion 24 campsite and parking area
  7. Priority booking for Campsite and Grandstand tickets

Passion 24 Gold Membership (Cost €249)

All the benefits of Passion 24 VIP membership plus:

  1. 30% discount on Pitwalk Pass (saving €141)
  2. 10 free minutes on the karting circuit
  3. The official book of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, updated every year. “A luxury work of reference” – includes some 800 photos and over 250 pages in full colour. It recounts the whole story of the race: entrants, technical, practices, detailed results
  4. The official film of the race – on DVD
  5. Photo report of the race – unpublished photos from the ACO taken by professionals – on CD-ROM

Priority Booking

Basically, members are allowed exclusive use of an on-line booking system for a period of time before it is made available to the public. The ACO's first attempt for the 2011 race turned out to be a disaster, as the system was full of bugs and the tickets on offer were very limited. Attempts to contact the sales office for clarification/booking were also unfruitful as they were inundated with calls about the malfunction of the online system.

The next three years showed only minor improvements in terms of the system problems, and the range of camping tickets remained severely limited. One minor improvement in 2014 allowed purchasers to select the actual seat numbers in the grandstand - this worked OK.

Alas, for the 2015 race, the system still has many problems - some members reporting that they were even unable to log on to the system, and having to resort to emailing their order. There is a 'special' email address for members to contact the ticket office - membres.tickets@lemans.org - but it is not known if this actually does give any priority.

Remember that the agencies get priority over ANY individual punter, including ACO members, and it would appear that more and more agencies are getting more and more tickets. The 'priority' booking system is therefore actually of limited benefit.

Is It Worth It?

The costs of the various classes of membership are given above.

From the writer’s perspective – it is worth it from a financial point of view for the Passion 24 VIP package. For this year (2015), the savings on 6 general entry tickets (€112.50) more than covered the cost of membership. The 4 or 5 euros saving on each of two camping tickets gave a bit more incentive. Remember, all the non-financial benefits are also available.

A race-goer may feel that these other benefits make membership worthwhile, even if full use of the ticket discount is not taken. I make no recommendations, just stating the facts. It’s your choice!

 
ca_guide/aco_membership.txt · Last modified: 2015/03/10 15:38 by delboy

 
 
   
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