Le Mans fans gather in Japan | india | Hindustan Times
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Le Mans fans gather in Japan

Japanese fans of the legendary Le Mans auto race are gathering this weekend for a classic car race featuring vehicles that competed in the famous endurance race or the same models.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2005 17:01 IST

Japanese fans of the legendary Le Mans auto race are gathering this weekend for a classic car race featuring vehicles that competed in the famous endurance race or the same models.

The first Le Mans Classic Japan started Friday and will wrap up Sunday, with 30 vehicles, built between 1924 and 1978, participating in four race categories.

Classic cars such as the 1924 Bentley Speed Eight, 1933 Aston Martin LM and 1978 Porche 935 are registered for the competition.

Three of the 30 vehicles actually competed in the 24-hour race, according to organisers.

The classic car event originally started in 2002 in France as a separate race from the Le Mans endurance race, with some 300 rare vehicles participating.

"Organizers of the Le Mans race saw that there are many, many Japanese auto enthusiasts who are devoted to the legendary race. So they thought it is a good idea to bring the classic car part of the race to Japan," said Hiroko Sudo, spokeswoman for the Le Mans Classic Japan.

"Many of the participants here in Japan are private auto fans in their 50s and 60s, who own these rare race cars. Many of them are using this opportunity to cruise their treasures on the race course. But this is a race, so drivers are very serious about winning, too," she said.

Japan and France will take turns to host the annual classic car event, Sudo said.

"In Europe, there are many classic race cars. Japan has the most classic cars in Asia, but we still want to expand the culture of classic car race here with this Le Mans event," Sudo said.