Seeing one of the biggest booms in popularity for motorsport, historic racing has proven to be the category needed to link the history of the sport, with the future generations only recently discovering their passion for it.
Helping lead the charge for the last couple of decades has been the Automobile Club of Monaco. Formed in 1890, the club has been an ever-present figure in the Principality of Monaco, with their most recent endeavor being the Grand Prix De Monaco Historique beginning in 1997.
Taking place this past weekend was the 13th edition of the bi-annual race, featured on the same Grand Prix track the Formula 1 has participated on since 1929. The race focuses on “the charming old classic cars that offers a travel back in time” according to the Monaco Grand Prix website.
With coverage presented by Goodwood Road and Racing Club — another seminal figure in the historic scene — we’re given a first-hand view of some of the most important race cars in the history of motorsport.
A Weekend Filled With Speed, Emotion, And Classic Cars
Following a format similar to F1 racing, drivers begin the weekend on Friday with free practice. After spending all-day Saturday qualifying, the race is on Sunday, keeping tradition with the original schedule of the Monaco Grand Prix. Racers organize into eight separate classes depending on the era their vehicles are from.
Able to please fans of all time periods, classifications begin with pre-war and ultimately end with the newest class added to the race: 1981-1985. Celebrating the last of the Cosworth built F1 engines, the latest addition to the race will be race G, characterized by “Ayrton Senna”, the winningest driver ever at Monaco.
The Racing Categories
With around 200 cars spread across eight separate divisions, drivers will be pushing their multi-million dollar cars to the absolute limit, giving some drivers the opportunity to reunite their car with the same track it graced in decades prior. Maintaining authentic racing rules and situations, the classes are as follows:
Race A1: “Louis Chiron”, focuses on pre-war Grand Prix cars. The second race of the day resulted in an American victory thanks to Mark Gillies and his 1934 ERA R3A.
Race A2: “Juan Manuel Fangio”, represents the front-engine Grand Prix cars before 1960. After replacing driver Alex Birkenstock at the last minute, established historic racer Claudia Hürtgen made the most of the opportunity to take pole position on Saturday, and the race on Sunday in a Ferrari 246 from 1960.
Race B: “Graham Hill”, features rear-engine, 1500, and F1/F2 Grand Prix cars. One of the Americans to win on Sunday, Joe Colasacco and his Ferrari 1512 won in commanding fashion, finishing more than 30 seconds before second place.
Race C: “Vittorio Marzotto” covers the only front-engine sport racing car event of the day. British driver Frederic Wakeman finished the job on Sunday after taking pole position on Saturday in his 1955 Cooper Jaguar T38.
Race D: “Jackie Stewart” serves the 3.0-liter F1 Grand Prix cars from 1966-1972. Another British driver delivers, this time in the form of Stuart Hall and his McLaren M19A.
Race E: “Niki Lauda” handles the second generation 3.0-liter F1 Grand Prix cars from 1973-1976. Stuart Hall added his second win of the day with McLaren, more specifically a 1973 M23.
Race F: “Gilles Villeneuve” covers third generation 3.0-liter F1 Grand Prix cars from 1977-1980. Winning for the seventh time at the Grand Prix, Briton Michael Lyons took home gold in his Hesketh 308.
Race G: “Ayrton Senna” ends coverage by featuring the fourth generation 3.0-liter F1 Grand Prix cars from 1981-1985.
Ending the day in perfect manner, three Lotus cars finished 1-2-3 on the 40th anniversary of team founder Colin Chapman, in the inaugural debut of the “Ayrton Senna” race, who rose to prominence with Lotus in the mid-80s. German driver Marco Werner and his Lotus 87 managed to stave off Michael Lyons and denied the Briton his second title of the day.
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