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June 30, 2006

Busch Gardens To Close Le Mans Raceway July 5

Article written by:
Eric Gieszl, Editor

Williamsburg, VA -- Fans of antique racing cars have just a few more days to get in one final ride on Le Mans Raceway at Busch Gardens Europe. The park will bid adieux to the forty-nine recreated antique racing cars that have traveled nearly ten million miles in 31 years to make way for a new attraction. Le Man's last day of operation will be Wednesday, July 5.

Le Mans Raceway, Busch Gardens Europe
Le Mans Raceway antique racing cars at Busch Gardens Europe will take their final lap on Wednesday, July 5.

"After careful review, we have decided the Le Mans Raceway site is optimal for the park's newest attraction," said Donnie Mills, executive vice president and general manager for Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA. "We hope guests will take this opportunity to come out to the park and take a final spin around the track as we continue to keep the park fresh and offer the latest in new attractions."

Busch Gardens isn't willing to reveal the details for new attraction just yet. The park claims to be working with corporate and county officials on the design plans that they are calling an exciting addition to its attraction lineup.

Le Mans Raceway, one of the park's original rides is located in the France section of the park. Since opening to the public in 1975, the ride has been popular with guests of all ages.

The cars, modeled after the 1913 Stutz Bearcat, have molded fiberglass bodies and were built on steel frames in California.

Each is powered by an eight horsepower gasoline engine that has been replaced approximately every five-years due to high ridership and the relative lifespan of a go-cart like engine.

The cars follow one of three 2,000-foot tracks, accumulating a total of nearly 200,000 miles per car since the park opened 31 years ago. The five-gallon fuel tanks are filled each morning and last for 12 hours of continuous driving.

"The mileage total for the entire fleet equates to nearly 400 trips around the Earth or 2600 excursions from New York to Paris," said Larry Giles, vice president of design and engineering for Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA.

Busch Gardens hasn't determined what will be done with the cars, which they add happen to be quite fuel-efficient. Once thing is for sure, you won't be seeing them on your local interstate, as the top speed is only seven miles per hour.

Le Mans Raceway photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Europe. All rights reserved.

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