Chapter Editor: Jason will do the 2012 update (deadline: 25th May 2012)
So you can’t go, for whatever reasons, don’t worry stick the tent up in the garden, fire up the bbq and put beer in a bucket of cold water, with TV and the web, you can almost be there. Although you lose out on the ‘atmosphere’ by watching the race on TV or the web, you inevitably get better coverage, particularly with a large circuit like LM, as you simply can’t be in 2 places at once.
Basically (and I can only really speak for the UK, as far as TV goes, but the internet should work everywhere) you’ve got a few choices.
The race will again be on Eurosport this year, from Wednesday night practice session and the Thursday qualifyings. You can get Eurosport coverage online now (see below) Otherwise it’s Sky / Cable subscription time. Eurosport will be showing the race in its entirety with the usual channel hopping required between Eurosport and Eurosport2, and with Eurosport HD carrying much of the action with a few interruptions. In 2011 they aired a half hour magazine program, 24 minutes of Le Mans each night in the build up, hosted by Johnny Herbert.
In the USA it is believed SpeedTV will again be showing the race. Previously they have showed 4 hours at the start, followed by a break of 6 hours (but available on speedtv.com), followed by the remainder of the race.
If you’ve got a reasonable quality broadband connection, you can follow the race from home quite well, without having to hand over any money to the notoriously thin skinned thieving Australian stitch up merchant / legitimate media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, you just need to plan ahead a bit. Obviously if you are streaming video be aware of your ISP download limits.
Radio Le Mans Hindy et al will keep you up to date with it all, as it happens, and is as invaluable at home as it is at the circuit. You can listen online http://www.radiolemans.com then click on the ‘listen live’ button. They have live uninterrupted (apart from adverts) coverage of all practice sessions and the race. Also they are a very good source of info for further locations for obtaining streaming coverage / live timing. This is the first choice for following the race, everything else comes second. Don’t forget to send your regards to the luckier CA members.
Web Radio There is, of course, RLM. However, in 2009 listeners in North America were able to tune in to the race on Sirius XM satellite radio, XM channel 243 and Sirius channels 113 and 126 - presume this is stil available.
The A.C.O. The Official website http://www.lemans.org will have a free real-time classification table and live timing screen. Again in 2012 the basic A.C.O. Passion 24 membership (€39) is specifically aimed at providing info for folk unable to get to the track. Membership includes at least 26 SMS hourly bulletins to your mobile and web access that is based around a real-time classification table together with a live radio feed, downloadable photos and access to video clips. http://www.passion-24.org/htm/passion.asp
PLANETLEMANS http://www.planetlemans.com – The team will cover the race and qualifying live minute by minute in their online reports.
Audi TV have in previous years streamed the race. http://tv.audi.com/
Speed onboard pass This may require you to sign up, but it is free. http://gms.speedtv.com/ONLINE/ You should also be able to get live timing from Speed as well.
Flying Lizards Their website http://www.lizardms.com/index.htm offers live broadcast of the team radio during the race.
Eurosport You can now get Eurosport coverage on your PC for £4.99 a month (You can cancel this at any time. – And there’s no need to take out a years sub) http://video.eurosport.co.uk/eurosport-player/teaser.shtml. Alongside this, there is now the ever present smartphone Ap, which means you can never be away from the coverage, this is £2.99 per month, and can be cancelled when you wish. Just watch out for the data fees.
Daily Sports Car They will have free access to their LM coverage http://www.dailysportscar.com too, hourly updates during the race. DSC also now run twitter feeds from races, @dscracelive and @dscracelive2 (for when meetings overlap ie Blancpan at Silverstone and LM test)
TVU – wheels – speed - Download the free player from the tvu networks, http://www.tvunetworks.com and install the free player. Then you can open the player, and select the ‘sport’ tab. Scroll down and you’ll find the ‘wheels’ channel. 2007 was pretty good. But it’s American, and they sometimes clog up the streaming video with Nascar. Yee- Haw. Wear a silly hat and marry your cousin etc.
twitter will no doubt 'trend' towards La Sarthe over 11 and 12 June. If you are so-minded then you can follow @AllanMcNish, @GUYSMITH16, @olivergavin, #lm24, #lemans @radiolemans @JMWmotorsport et al in the twitterverse. If you can think of a team/driver they most likely will be tweeting.
The larger Le Mans fora will be populated by those like yourself, the fractious, grumpy staybehinds.
I hope you all have as good a time as possible. You’ll be there in spirit.