Never Stop Driving #104: Celebratory Weekend

DW Burnett

We’re celebrating Hagerty Drivers Club (HDC) members this weekend! The inaugural HDC Days run June 21 to 23 and include a host of additional member benefits. We’ve lined up special discounts, organized HDC events around the U.S. and Canada, and created contests with prizes like a free set of Coker tires. What’s more, members can vote on the cover of the next issue of Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Click here to view these special offers and experiences. Not a member? Why not? Anyone can join the country’s largest car community—with more than 800,000 members—and get in on the action this weekend.

We created HDC Days to encourage folks to drive and enjoy their cars. Members who post a photo of their car on Facebook or Instagram are automatically entered in the contests by using the hashtag #HDCdays2024 and tagging @Hagerty. Get out there and show us your ride. If you meet up with fellow HDC members while doing so, all the better.

I’ve organized my own short evening drive with some local car peeps. We’ll tour the rural roads just west of Ann Arbor and then gather to talk about our favorite topic—cars. No doubt we’ll recap last weekend’s chaotic 24 Hour of Le Mans.

Cadillac/Eric Klauser

Heavy rains upended race team strategies during an intense competition in France. The 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe was often dry in some places and wet in others, so teams struggled with whether to switch to rain tires and when. Overnight, torrential rain and fog caused long periods where drivers circulated behind the safety car. Amazingly, come Sunday morning, the top cars in each class were separated by mere seconds.

After 22 hours of racing and stress, a Ferrari held the Hypercar class (and overall) lead, with a Toyota just six seconds behind. A GT3 Porsche led its class but was hounded by a BMW stuck to its bumper. The mechanical stress started to take its toll. The hood of a Lexus GT3 came unhinged and blocked the driver’s view. The leading Ferrari’s right door flopped open and closed, threatening an unscheduled pitstop.

The broadcast crew cut to former Top Gear host Richard Hammond, who summed up the viewing experience when he said, “I love flipping on the TV Sunday morning and guiltily thinking ‘Oh my, they’re still going.’” Then the rain returned and the Toyota tried a risky outside pass on the Ferrari and was punted off track.

The days when endurance racing was a survival contest and drivers could sometimes relax are long gone. They’re now in full-time attack mode—last weekend, that meant tons of mistakes that sometimes sent even leading cars off-track. I can only imagine the panic in the pits when crews saw these unplanned excursions playing out on their video screens. They must have been praying their driver was okay and didn’t damage the car.

Ferrari won the top class and Porsche triumphed in GT3. The Cadillac Hypercars were in the running and finished a respectable seventh in a packed field, but luck, which always plays a huge role at Le Mans, was not on their side. Those new GT3 Mustangs were unexpectedly strong, finishing third and fourth in class followed by a Lamborghini driven by a team of women in fifth. My colleague Grace Houghton, who was at the race, has written a fine recap here. As Grace’s account makes clear, the drama was off the charts this year, even by Le Mans standards.

2024 Le Mans
Ford/Nick Dungan

Before I sign off and gather with my crew to drive, let me point you toward my recent interview with comedian and car nut Jay Leno. Our discussion for Hagerty’s Never Stop Driving podcast covered a range of topics, from prewar automotive technology—early cars were far less primitive than you think—to new EVs. The incredibly insightful Leno, an eternal optimist, has a way of explaining things that is both entertaining and educational. While he loves vintage cars, he embraces the future, too, and reminded me that the internal combustion engine has had more than 100 years of development, whereas EVs are still relatively new. Bumps are expected. The podcast is on Spotify and Apple. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think.

And please enjoy the latest from Hagerty Media:

Have a great weekend!


P.S.: Your feedback and comments are welcome.

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    My Friday Highlight is your “Never Stop Driving “ . Of Course I own a Mustang , number 104 is my favorite of all. Congratulations on your top ten in the First Race.👏👏👏👏. How did Jim Farley finish.

    I totally agree with Jay that the EV technology will certainly improve, as did the internal combustion engine. However, lets not forget that it has been about 125 years since the inception of using an electrical motor as a method of powering an automobile was first used. None other than a young electrical engineer named Ferdinand Porsche designed it as a front wheel driven automobile named a Lohner-Porsche in 1900. The next generation eliminated the batteries by having a petrol engine drive a generator, and eliminating the batteries, supplying current to the wheel mounted electric motors.

    Larry, I find this difficult to do, as throwing someone under the bus is harder now at my age than it used to be, but I can no longer hold out. Mr. Sajeev Mehta needs to be brought before the mast and severely reprimanded or possibly even punished (you guys do have a rack in the offices, right?) for a) leading his readers on, b) failing to follow through on a promise, and c) dereliction of duty. He not only has teased an update column on Project Valentino for FAR too long, but he even did a “stick-out-of-the-tongue” to us by showing a picture of it in a totally unrelated recent article. That’s tantamount to rubbing ATF into the wound, I’m sure you agree.
    Please summon this lout into your inner domain and dole out the appropriate discipline, post haste!

    Sincerely, DUB6, self-appointed representative of the readership

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