A Different Test Of Endurance: 24 Hours Of Drawing The 24 Hours Of Le Mans
Photography by Jayson Fong
Everyone you meet who has been to Le Mans for the 24 Hours will tell you that there is something special about it that you can’t quite put into words. In 2014, I went to my first Le Mans as an accredited photographer, blissfully ignorant of the the circuit’s history and armed only with the knowledge that it was an old race with really fast sports cars that could sometimes look a bit strange. That weekend ended up being a life-changing experience, and I vowed that I would return every year from then on.
However, only one year after that formative race, I was left feeling devastated when I was unable to make it to the Circuit de la Sarthe for my second attendance. Determined that I would at least stay up for the full 24 hours on race day(s), a quick sketch that I had done the day before led me to contemplating a challenge: to complete 24 artworks, during the race, and to share them with like-minded fans of motorsport on social media. Hoping to do one piece per hour, the goal would be to create an edited visual commentary of memorable moments.
Massively underprepared, my first year of what I call “#24forLM24” resulted in me running around the house tearing pages out of exercise books while looking for paper to draw on and ending up with me surrounding the dining table workspace with drawings and watercolors to paintings on canvas.
With 2017 being my third year of #24forLM24, I’d like to think that I’ve somewhat progressed in terms of preparation and direction. Over the last two years, experimentation with different mediums has ended up with some stressful moments as I struggled to complete the artworks in time. So, over the weekend I set up a live stream of my third go at it, and armed myself with a thick pad of paper, a multipack of Sharpies, markers, pens, pencils, and of course, a stash of Red Bull.
Every year I find there is a bit of a rhythm; Saturday usually goes by without any problems, but it’s at the turn of the day when fatigue starts to set in and I wonder why we aren’t even halfway through yet. Persisting past this, a kick of energy usually follows as the sun begins to rise, and by 9AM another round of fatigue grips me as I start checking the time constantly to see how much further there is to go. With three hours left, the action always seems to heat up as teams begin jockeying for position before they cross the line at full sprint, and I too am on my final sprint.
Without a doubt, this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will go down as one of the most memorable in history, and it was true representation of what the race is all about. From heartbreak to ecstatic joy, bumper to bumper racing with teams battling against one another as well as their own machines, Le Mans truly is a special race. With many more editions ahead, I’m going to make a new promise: to complete #24forLM24 every year and hopefully one day at the event itself.
You can watch a condensed 24-minute-long time-lapse video of this year’s #24forLM24 project here, and if you are interested in owning a print of any of the artworks, please visit this site for purchases.