There are basically two ways to book tickets – either via the A.C.O. directly or through a ticket agency. For campsite tickets and for grandstand tickets the rule is to book as early as possible! Most people make their booking immediately after returning from Le Mans for the next year and most campsites are sold out months, sometimes a full year in advance.
You can order tickets direct from the A.C.O. either by phone, or by using their on-line booking system http://www.lemans.org/en/tickets .
The A.C.O. online ticketing system is available in English, but some of the terminology used can be a bit confusing. Also, not all tickets are available online as blocks of tickets are allocated to official agencies. Being an A.C.O. member will (in theory) give you advance access to tickets, but the experience of the Club Arnage community is that the even when given that access, many tickets are already showing on the site as 'sold out'. It IS possible to go 'solo' on buying tickets for Le Mans from the A.C.O. but many people prefer to pay the premium for the simplicity of buying through a UK (or local country) ticket agent or tour operator.
If in doubt, contact: Automobile Club de l’Ouest (A.C.O.) - Service Réservations Circuit des 24 heures du Mans 72019 Le Mans Cedex 2 France Phone: +33 (0)892 69 72 24 Fax : +33 (0)2 43 84 47 13 E-mail : email@example.com
The booking office and on-line reservations should open for each race some time towards the end of the previous year. Keep an eye out on the CA forum or ACO website for the dates to give yourself a chance of getting what you want. But this is getting more like the National Lottery every year so get in quick. To be confident of getting what you want you might prefer to pay a bit more and use a ticket agent.
There are also a number of agencies who sell race, travel and package tickets. The prices are generally a bit higher than booking direct and in some cases not all types of ticket are available. But they do have the advantage of guaranteeing you a grandstand seat and for many campsites, ticket agencies will be the only option in the future, as the A.C.O. has announced to sell certain campsites only via agencies. If you are just after “Enceinte Generale” (general entry) tickets, you don't need the agencies or the A.C.O. booking office, it is much easier to buy on the gate and they are never sold out, however you will pay the race week rate which is slightly more than the advance purchase price.
The pictures below show some 2010 tickets. The A.C.O. has changed the design of the tickets several times in the past, so don’t be confused if the ones you have bought look different.
Really all you need, everything else is an optional add-on. These are readily available on the gate so advance purchase above face value has little to recommend it. The price of tickets includes entry to pre-qualifying, scrutineering, both practice days and the big one, so at 67 euros (51 for A.C.O. members) they are undoubtedly the best value motor race event tickets on the planet. You need to have these with you at all times so that you can easily enter and leave the circuit. Each time you do so, the bar codes will be scanned and this year - for the first time, there are automatic bar-code readers at many pedestrian entrances so get your ticket out of its wallet in advance, and be prepared for longer queues as people get used to the new arrangements.
Take a bivvy and a sleeping bag and you can kip anywhere on the circuit
These resemble the “Enceinte Generale” tickets so be careful not to mix them up. The contremarque system applies here too so don’t forget to get your piece of card each time you leave your grandstand. All the grandstands are open to all comers during practice (except the members’ where you will need a membership card). Seat numbers: All the grandstands on the outside of the circuit are lowest numbers on your left as you face them; the pits grandstand (inside) is numbered with the lowest on your right as you face it.
These are bar-coded and may be scanned as you enter and exit your site. You will probably also be asked to show your Enceinte Generale ticket when you enter some campsites, typically those with direct access to the circuit, such as Maison Blanche. A plastic stick-on holder is provided for your windscreen, into which the ticket slots. Don’t ask me what motorcyclist should do…
These are handy for folks with accommodation away from the General Enclosure of the circuit, e.g. Mulsanne, Arnage or further afield. It enables you to get to the main viewing areas under your own steam. The car park tickets are bar-coded and may be scanned as you enter and exit your site. You can enter and exit the car park as often as you like - once you park there you are required to leave the ticket visible behind your windscreen.
Some sort of ticket holder with a lanyard to hang it round your neck is a must at LM. Tickets are 130x75mm with the tear-off strips folded over. You can buy these at the A.C.O. shop, but they are also often a “freebie” with LM’s local newspapers – Le Maine and Ouest France.
In case you have booked too many tickets – maybe someone in your group has dropped out – there are is least one option to get rid of them: The CA forum has a “Sell or Swap” area where you can post your tickets. This is not the place for profiteering and the forum is moderated: You are expected to sell your tickets at face value (or the agency price you paid for it) + postage.
Attention: In previous years it was possible to return tickets for sale at the Rotunda (A.C.O. Booking office) during race week - obviously this option was found to be too customer-friendly, they don't do this any more!!!