Ride in a D-type with Mike Hawthorne for a lap around Le Mans

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The circuit for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race still is comprised largely of French roads that are open to the public except when closed for official racing activities. In 1956, Jaguar outfitted driver Mike Hawthorne with a microphone and mounted a movie camera in his D-type racer and sent him out to film a lap — while the track was open to other traffic.

Hawthorne’s commentary is amazing, and his calmness while avoiding bicycles and even oncoming traffic in the wrong lane is astounding.

He also talks as he drivers about the changes made to the circuit in the name of safety in the aftermath of the horrific 1955 round-the-clock race.


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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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