This weekend the eyes of the motorsport world will be firmly fixed on France for the 73rd running of the most famous endurance race of them all - the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Brit Andy Wallace, who won the race in 1988 at the wheel of a TWR Jaguar, will be making his 16th appearance in the event for the debuting Creation Autosportif team alongside regular driver pairing Nicolas Minassian and Jamie Campbell-Walter and here he describes a lap of the famous circuit...

"The circuit itself is very fast, with long straights and quick corners, and demands much from both man and machine. It features high top speeds and areas of heavy braking. Successful cars need to have speed, durability and extreme aerodynamic efficiency.

"Oh, and by the way, for a driver this is one of the most exhilarating circuits in use today, and certainly one of my favourites.

"From the start/finish line there is a short straight heading towards the Dunlop Chicane. You just reach sixth gear and about 260kmh as the road bends gently right. With the road still turning you have to brake and go down into second gear, taking care not to let the rear of the car get away from you.

"Dunlop is a tight left followed by a slightly faster right. I use second for the left which helps keep the car tight in to the apex, into third before the right. Then gently feed on as much power as possible through the corner, up to fourth for the blast downhill to the Esses. Before you get there you have to negotiate a flat out left/right which leads you into the Esses. It's easy flat, but causes a few problems if you catch slower traffic at this point.

"The Esses are a quick left then right, taken in third or fourth gear. You arrive in fourth or fifth, go down one gear, and then keep as much momentum as possible. You can go quicker than you first think. It's bumpy and the road drops away towards the exit, so you need to stay tight to the right-hand apex before the short sprint to Tertre Rouge.

"Tertre Rouge is a short third or fourth gear right-hand corner. It's important to get a clean exit, as it leads onto one of the fastest straights. No real problems here, except for a dip in the road just after the apex, which can unsettle the rear.

"The straight down to the first chicane gives the driver a brief 'rest' before heavy braking for the right-left-right chicane. The quickest cars are travelling at over 310kmh here. It's hard to pick out just where the corner is, especially at night. From as early as possible in the week you need to pick out the distance markers in order to get your bearings. You can brake incredibly late if the car has enough downforce, and then pull the car into the first apex with the brake still on, and down to third gear. There is always some understeer through the left part, then you can go full throttle moments later and onto the next straight leading down to the second chicane.

"The second chicane is basically the same as the first, but in reverse. The same applies here; except that the arrival speed is about 5kmh less, meaning you can brake a few metres later. The exit is bumpy, but there is no problem using full throttle. This leads you onto the straight towards Mulsanne corner.

"Mulsanne corner is a slow first or second gear right-hander. You arrive at about 290kmh, and can brake quite deep. It's bumpy and easy to overshoot the corner here though, so you need to ensure you drag enough speed off before turning-in. Traction is difficult, so you must feed the power on gently before the blast down to Indianapolis.

"You approach Indianapolis at around 310kmh. This is one of my favourite corners. The road is quite narrow, but you can carry massive speed through the right-hander in fifth or sixth gear then must immediately jump on the brakes to lose enough speed to make the third gear left-hander. This part is banked around the apex, but level on the exit, so it's easy to suddenly use up more road than you thought on the exit.

"Next comes Arnage, a slow first gear right-hander. It is difficult to stop for this one, and therefore easy to overshoot. The exit is slippery and uneven, so wheel spin is a problem. This leads to the twisty but flat-out run to the Porsche curves.

"The Porsche curves are a flowing combination of fast sweepers. You arrive in sixth gear at about 280kmh, go down to fourth under braking, and then keep as much throttle and momentum on as possible through the right-left-left-right-left. These are quick corners and are important for a good lap time. If the car is working well here you can win time. The last part is an off camber left. It's easy to slide off the edge of the road on the exit, and you need to lose speed in a hurry if you feel yourself running out of road. Just after the exit there is a flat-out right-left taken in fifth gear on the way to the Ford chicane.

"The Ford chicane is really two left-right chicanes back to back. I use third gear in the first one before downshifting to second for the final corner. This leads back onto the pit straight, and into another lap of this amazing circuit.

"It takes quite a number of laps around Le Mans to feel comfortable with the circuit and the high speeds. With each lap you complete, you 'nibble' at the lap time, braking deeper and deeper into the chicanes as you get acclimatised, and carry more and more speed through the quicker corners. As you get close to the limit, the feeling is very satisfying.

"By the end of the 24-hour race (if all goes well!), you will have completed well over a hundred laps (per driver), and feel as though you could drive around the place blindfolded.

"A year later, and you find yourself going through the learning curve all over again, in a new car. I wouldn't miss it for the world!"