Motorcycle Racing

Le Mans shows other MotoGP races how to succeed

Claude Michy

In an unprecedented MotoGP weekend, nearly 300,000 people filled the stands at Circuit Bugatti in Le Mans and this cinematic layout reached another extraordinary landmark as a massive attendance of 297,471 tickets were sold for the event.

This meant a step up from the attendance record set in 2023, when MotoGP drew 278,805 spectators to set a record among two-wheeled racing circuits.

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Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was thrilled at the time. Nothing could have been more fitting for the 1000th MotoGP race.

“All weekend the atmosphere here in Le Mans has been incredible, so we knew the attendance was going to be high. But to break the all-time record and see it’s well over quarter of a million people is something truly special”.

Even when other promoters struggle to fill the stands during current period of change and renewal, Le Mans never fails. What is the secret? Claude Michy, to whom Ezpeleta alluded in that 2023 speech with devotion. A Frenchman deeply rooted in the world of football – he was the President of Clermont Foot 63 for 14 years – has very clear ideas about how to achieve success. He has followed them faithfully since he began managing this GP 31 years ago “without a circuit, motorcycles, or anything else”.

Standing behind a desk full of well organised papers and a walkie-talkie, he tells Autosport. “I don’t have a computer,” he modestly replies. ‘I’m very fond of ideas. It’s the most important thing of all. More than a laptop.”

Claude Michy

Photo by: Marc Fleury

The ideas he models together with an exceptional team, who relentlessly work on their projects, recognising that “the emotion and satisfaction of the people who come to the races are what we strive to cultivate. It’s not about the ticket price, but about the benefits and services it offers.”

For Michy, what matters most is the people. He pushed to have spectators not only on Sunday but the entire weekend. So promotion and activation is crucial.

“I work hard to make sure there is a partner for every service we provide. In my mind, this is not just a race, but a great festival, a dream fulfilled on and off the circuit ”.

This is fuel for boosting spectacular activities with stunt shows or even having the launch of Fabio Quartararo’s new livery in front of 50000 people singing the national anthem on Saturday afternoon. According to statistics, 70% of European race fans attend races…

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