As a motorsport-hungry teenager, a 1.1L Ford Fiesta was never going to fully satisfy the urge to heel-and-toe and create tail-happy oversteer. But, for a student, it was frugal and sensible and it kept my parents happy knowing I had a vehicle which shuddered at the thought of 75mph plus. At least it featured a workable handbrake, so there was a little bit of fun to be had.
There was no question of not taking my Fiesta to Le Mans, though. This was my first shot at a foreign adventure, and I wasn't going to miss it. To my mind, after years of being taken to the French endurance classic by my dad, making my way to the circuit on my own was the kind of passing-out ceremony which marked the transition from boyhood to adulthood. Thrilled with the independence it offered (if not its lack of performance against my mate's Mini), I thought I could trump them all by taking the A-registered, skinny-tyred snail to La Sarthe.
No-one would be able to laugh at me again.
Talking of laughing, it started when we pulled up in the ferry terminal at Portsmouth. I'd figured that the less laborious way of travelling to the circuit would be to cut the Route Nationale mileage once we'd got to the continent so we headed for Cherbourg.