Le Mans to Tours, France
After visiting the great Le Mans Museum, it’ll be hard to resist the urge to investigate that famous arrow-straight stretch of race track before heading home.
“Drive out of the main gates of Le Mans circuit and turn right three times,” they’ll tell you in in the Museum reception, and sure enough, you see the high circuit wall on your right as you join the D338, before the track slides imperceptibly under your wheels.
Suddenly you’re on the Mulsanne Straight, barriers either side, the road stretching into the distance. You can almost hear the flat 12 of a Porsche 917 and expect to see Steve McQueen in his pretty 2.2-litre 911S parked halfway down.
Every few minutes, you’re reminded of the size of this track as you traverse the new chicanes before seeing the race surface move off beside the road, where you’ll see rubber-stained race track curbs. Without them, it must have been an incredibly intense experience at 240mph.
You can drive through the Mulsanne Kink, which would have been flat in a 917, and into what would be the braking area. Today, you’ll share the road with school busses and daily traffic, yet there’s Armco barriers and crash fencing on both sides.
It’s surreal. At the end of the straight you’ll blend off the track to a roundabout. Glancing to the right, you’ll see the circuit continuing on. Turn right here and you can continue following the circuit towards ‘Indianapolis’.
Latitude: 47.9081° N, 0.2481° E
Length of drive: 81km
Points of interest:
Le Mans Museum;
The Mulsanne Straight
Food and accommodation:
Great food is everywhere. The Tabac in Mulsanne village is a great place for an Espresso and to top up on Gitanes;
www.lhoteldefrance.fr Famous hotel from the golden days of the 24-hour race
Instead though, you should head into Mulsanne, a small picturesque town with an evocative name and immaculate flowerbeds. South of Mulsanne, you can head out to the D338 again. The road is now caricature French rural ‘D’ road, with trees lining each side, creating a green canopy in the summer.
Hopefully you’ll be in a 911 Targa or Cabriolet, as this is a beautiful stretch of road for open-top driving. There are two ways to drive this: either chill out, admire the scenery and cruise it, or heel-toe down a few gears and revel in the open bends, smooth surface and light traffic.
For 71 kilometres, the road continues like this, passing through villages until you arrive at Tours and the blue Peage signs appear.
Check out our full selection of Great Roads here. And, to find the nearest routes to you, download the Great Driving Roads app now, where you can add your favourite tarmac stretches for the whole world to enjoy.