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The trip was booked whilst I still had my ultra reliable Porsche 911 and I would be part of a 10 car convoy enjoying a driving holiday down to the south of France along a collection of the most amazing roads available.
Along the way I would also be ticking many boxes in my bucket list :D
When I saw the Azure Blue I had a mental picture of it sat in the Southern France sunlight - a bit more than the wonderful Grey UK skies ;) however I can't say that the car has inspired me to be ultra reliable prior to departure over the recent weeks. I'd visited the Birmingham dealer to have the software backdated to a previous working version and stored the emergency numbers in my phone in advance.
Stopping overnight at the Holiday Inn Express, I found there were plenty of parking spaces and usually there is a drop down barrier on the carpark.
Rooms were the usual express standard and a cup of tea with breakfast before the 5 minute drive to the tunnel was spot on.
The route averaged out at around 300 miles a day but via the winding cross country roads rather than the Autoroutes. We were heading firstly through the Loire valley and onto Cognac for a Remy Martin visit- apparently some of the group have a drink problem ;)
Great roads and plenty of sunshine..
We continued on toward St Tropez for our next stopover, which really is where the fun really began, The Gorges Du Verdun,




Gorge de Jonte,Mount Ventoux - this is sadly the only picture we took on Mount Ventoux, due to the weather closing in on us and having to crawl along following the fog light of the guy in front- it was a rather scary situation but something that legends are made of!!:eek:



Having the sunshine return we visited many of the other tourist highlights, each time finding an interesting road and keeping well away from the motorways.
It was also this time that the obvious fixation on speed bumps the French have was starting to take it's toll on the cars underside, I'd now started to collect plastic pieces from under the car, the wind deflectors were pretty much coming away. When I say speed bump, its usually a row of bricks across the road!! The Porsches were all managing fine but me not quite so much...:( I even had to turn around on Route du Cretes as the surface was just too much for me to take.. that and a scraping as I lost another section of plastic..
As we headed East across the coast we headed north to our next highlight, something I'd been meaning to visit for a while, as McLaren owners we seem to have an interest in physics and engineering and the next visit was one of those, the Millau Viaduct
We headed both across and under the structure and actually standing under the main pillar and looking straight up, does give you a spell of dizziness!:cool:
Convoy going across


Lower visitors centre


Some reflection...:D


Seeing it on a sunny day really is something special...
We had used a tour guide for the trip, who had provided Sat-navs with pre-plotted routes for each day, however just to try and gain some confidence in the cars system we tried to use it every so often or left it on the map, we almost instantly found that the search system had locked up, even as far as I couldn't even select a country! however by touching the screen and 'go there' it sometimes worked, Yes it fell off the road a few times, couldn't count the exits of an island nor had any fuel stations that were of any use!



Without the help of the cars system though we headed across country, taking the time to pose through Cannes and alongside of the coast in the sunshine,


Once again heading inland to route via the Col du Turini, which was an amazing drive both up and down with the added bonus of tunnels to play in!!:)
The days end location was the mecca of Monaco..


Where we were lucky enough to be meeting up with some club friends who had an Apartment in Monaco itself and were invited for drinks prior to our evening meal at the Café De Paris.
Some outlook they have!!

The obligatory drive around the circuit took place, a convoy to 10 Porsche and the 1 McLaren, amazing experience and apart from the couple of cars in the dealership, I didn't see another McLaren in town! quite strange to hear people gasp when you turn the corner!:eek:
Ferrari's though- ten a penny ;)

Sadly we got sent to the wrong carpark and I found myself struggling to get out of a circular up ramp in the carpark!! The Porsche made it safely but I got it slightly wrong and scuffed up the underside of the bumper, hopefully it's just the wrap and won't need a respary- just a new wrap fitting:(

Over the next couple of days we meandered north up via Grasse, Gap and the route Napoleon.
This was by far the prettiest stretch of the trip and we had some fabulous driving through the pass, quite busy roads but not too busy that we didn't have some fun..


Prior to or last run for home we dropped in to the old Reims circuit, I've been there plenty of times, but some of the group hadn't and nor had my 12C


In the sunshine, we did get a little bored, so some spirited runs through the grandstands entertained us- and quite a few of the locals after a while!!
Some wonderful machinery stopping off to see the spectacle..

Annoyingly to end the trip, the car refused to see the key whilst a crowd gathered at the channel tunnel and then to top it all, I got sent to a normal carriage where I unfortunately caught a rim on the carriage kerb.. should have taken my roof rack!!;)

I had tried to treat the car as the everyday supercar I thought I'd purchased- how everyday is yet to be decided after I get the repair bills!!
Average MPG was 20mpg with 27mpg on the Autoroutes, which was equal to most of the Porsches- infact bettering a couple!!:)

I'm just uploading some videos to youtube...nothing special but adds a bit of wind in your hair :p

Best parts- Col du Turini and Monaco
Worst part - M25 on equal par with Doris
 

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Fantastic drive even with the small struggles I would imagine. Hopefully the plastic bits don't set you back too badly. Love the photos - some beautiful places to soak up the sun for sure. :)

>8^)
ER
 

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What a great trip. Thanks for posting Gary. Bloody annoying about the tunnel carriage right at the end. Had you booked for a 'roof rack'?
 

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Cheers guys, I hadn't booked the tunnel as it was all done by the tour operator/ organiser.
We were put in the wide carriages on the out but due to how busy it was on the return we weren't offered it.
I got pulled out the queue last time and had hoped for the same this time.
If I get away without needing a front end respray then I'll be happy.
 

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Cheers guys, I hadn't booked the tunnel as it was all done by the tour operator/ organiser.
We were put in the wide carriages on the out but due to how busy it was on the return we weren't offered it.
I got pulled out the queue last time and had hoped for the same this time.
If I get away without needing a front end respray then I'll be happy.
If you can:t see it Gary,don:t worry.They are only war wounds,its a car to be driven,not polished IMO
Although I have a dint in my bonnet for sparring behind a GT3RS on a B road,which bugs me,i must get it sorted!!
 

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If someone else notices you can use it as the introduction to tell the story of your wonderful trip. :cool:

Plus chicks dig scars, right? ;)

>8^)
ER
 

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Garyw If you cant see the scrape then leave it until you sell as the next road trip will be no different and scrape again. I did my car also taking off all four aero thingies plus smashed and lost the plastic undertray and scraped the paint under the bumper. You have to get on the ground to see it so it is staying put.
 

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To be fair that's the way I'm considering the scar, how many people have a scar from a Monaco carpark :D If it is just a wrap replacement then I will get that done after Lemans
I would consider postponing the underside repairs but I forgot to mention that the tracker failed during the trip and has to be looked at by the dealer anyhow.. so being as its aerodynamic I thought best to get it done...:)

Nothing professional below, us just trying to get some moving images of the trip..

Enjoying the trip along the open sections of route Napoleon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPCaBBwYJw4&feature=youtu.be

Reims circuit.. not that anyone wouldn't know;)- I might need to get an external mic now :eek:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp47K_yezu4&feature=youtu.be
 

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Garyw If you cant see the scrape then leave it until you sell as the next road trip will be no different and scrape again. I did my car also taking off all four aero thingies plus smashed and lost the plastic undertray and scraped the paint under the bumper. You have to get on the ground to see it so it is staying put.
Blimey RiC, was that one incident? What on earth happened?
 

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Blimey RiC, was that one incident? What on earth happened?

I did a 1500 mile trip up the West coast of Scotland followed by 3000 miles down to the Italian Lakes, Dolomites and back via the Alps.

I took the front rubber thingies off on Scottish 'A' roads in the North at speed then the rear hard plastic thingies in the Dolomites shortly after seeing a ridge in a mountain road ( closed my eyes as the plastic shattered) then the plastic undertray transition leaving a car park that I had entered OK.

£600 repair bill worked out at 6p per mile or 13p per roadtrip mile.......I had to make the wife feel better about the repair bill.
 

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I did a 1500 mile trip up the West coast of Scotland followed by 3000 miles down to the Italian Lakes, Dolomites and back via the Alps.

I took the front rubber thingies off on Scottish 'A' roads in the North at speed then the rear hard plastic thingies in the Dolomites shortly after seeing a ridge in a mountain road ( closed my eyes as the plastic shattered) then the plastic undertray transition leaving a car park that I had entered OK.

£600 repair bill worked out at 6p per mile or 13p per roadtrip mile.......I had to make the wife feel better about the repair bill.
RIC,shoes do wear out as well,it was inevitable!
 

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Can see the hotel we stayed at in Monte Carlo from you picture, the Monte Carlo Bay, highly recommended. Sorry to hear about your front bumper scrapes. That is why I put on the skid plates, already skuffed one, but only the plate.
 

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We unfortunately didn't stop in Monte Carlo itself but in Grasse, so that we could get an early start on RN.. :);)
The pre-planned car park was the one next to the hotel - Larvotto
We were unfortunately directed to the one by the tunnel entrance roundabout and down past the AGIP petrol station.
To be fair there was plenty of parking but via a tight spiral ramp- which is where I came into contact with the kerb.:(

If it is just simple plastic replacements then I'm well over it as I'll probably get them ripped off doing the Lake district or Lemans in a couple weeks time.. :eek:

Planning for Norway next year has already started.. routes done and just needing to find some decent hotels.. will be an open invite if anyone's ever fancied doing the routes ;)
I was going to drive via Denmark and then the short hop over the water but following this last trip we realised we'd be worn out before we even got to Norway to drive the interesting roads!! So it may well be the Harwich Ferry..
 

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I did a 1500 mile trip up the West coast of Scotland followed by 3000 miles down to the Italian Lakes, Dolomites and back via the Alps.

I took the front rubber thingies off on Scottish 'A' roads in the North at speed then the rear hard plastic thingies in the Dolomites shortly after seeing a ridge in a mountain road ( closed my eyes as the plastic shattered) then the plastic undertray transition leaving a car park that I had entered OK.

£600 repair bill worked out at 6p per mile or 13p per roadtrip mile.......I had to make the wife feel better about the repair bill.
That must have made some painful noises. I really must get a look at the underside of my car as I can't picture the rear, hard plastic thingies. Although I have seen the front rubber thingies and I always hope it's them that I 'hear' every now and then. Was it your front under tray?

I have a theory, that may be obvious, but it also goes some way to your rebound damping comments, it also fits that it was worse when you were on tour, as Gary was; I reckon the load in the boot affects the damping much more than it actually should. There's not much we can do obviously, as it's difficult to spread the load in the 12C...
 

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That must have made some painful noises. I really must get a look at the underside of my car as I can't picture the rear, hard plastic thingies. Although I have seen the front rubber thingies and I always hope it's them that I 'hear' every now and then. Was it your front under tray?

I have a theory, that may be obvious, but it also goes some way to your rebound damping comments, it also fits that it was worse when you were on tour, as Gary was; I reckon the load in the boot affects the damping much more than it actually should. There's not much we can do obviously, as it's difficult to spread the load in the 12C...
There is a plastic under tray transition from the front bumper to the under tray proper. This was smashed and part AWOL . The rear rigid plastic thingies are aero type deflectors near each rear wheel. These make a shattering noise unlike the front rubber ones that either touch down and wear or get knocked off.

Never considered the front luggage. It is probably 30 kg or 40 kg max so it must make some difference but I still guess it is a lack of vertical control as I can feel and hear it when one up and blatting down a bumpy road. But I do recall putting a cwt bag of cement in early 911 to get the front end to grip!......interesting theory re luggage.
 

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That must have made some painful noises. I really must get a look at the underside of my car as I can't picture the rear, hard plastic thingies. Although I have seen the front rubber thingies and I always hope it's them that I 'hear' every now and then. Was it your front under tray?

I have a theory, that may be obvious, but it also goes some way to your rebound damping comments, it also fits that it was worse when you were on tour, as Gary was; I reckon the load in the boot affects the damping much more than it actually should. There's not much we can do obviously, as it's difficult to spread the load in the 12C...
Massively.. I also find it affects the handling quite a bit as well..
 
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