Grand Prix Historique warmed up engines and spirits with the charm of vintage racing cars
The timeless appeal of the most iconic racing circuit with performant vehicles, that made the history of motoring from the dawn of the automobile to the present day, spread out from Port Hercules. That was the 12th Monaco Historic Grand Prix that rolled in the Principality during the last weekend, from the 23rd until the 25th April 2021, under the accomplished organization of the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM).
Opening a crackling GP Season, this year edition left a mark for the amazing involvement of participants and stunning ‘fireballs’, incredibly preserved in perfect conditions. Being able to participate live after such a long time of events behind closed doors was something unique as well. What a special moment to live with family and friends on the tribune, on domestic balconies or on your own yacht, retracing a sport heritage to be handed down to new generations!
After the roaring success of 2018 competition, more than 90 drivers from different nationalities gathered in Monaco to be ready at the start line. The typical noise and smell of powerful engines flooded peacefully in the heart of Monaco bringing back the memory of the former most talented champions of F1 and beyond. The best way to celebrate, meanwhile, the 70th Anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari with many red ‘jewels’ on display.
“Competing in Monaco is for me the best, this unique circuit, the fans who support you and the great history behind”, stressed the former most popular F1 French Champion Jean Alesi – “I feel so honoured of being driving this legendary Niki Lauda’s Ferrari (1974 model No. 312B3), that marked the success of the Scuderia, and Monaco has always been my favourite place since the Grand Prix allowed me to reach a result in any condition” – “I approached this Historic challenge visiting it a few years ago just for fun, then I realised the level of performance was high and I decided to keep up, being a true challenger”, he added.
“I am very happy to be here since the last race I ran it was in 1989 and I really like this track where you need to bring out the best of your car to keep your speed as long as you can”, pointed out the former F1 champion René Arnoux, leading the same Ferrari model as Alesi – “this is also a unique opportunity to share your passion with other amateurs of ancient racing cars and motorsport, bringing to my mind pleasant memories” – “so, I am here mainly to enjoy myself”, he continued.
Both champions were honoured by the visit at the Quai Antoine 1er paddock by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco on Saturday the 24th in the presence of Michael Boeri, president of ACM, and Christian Tornatore, general commissioner.
The Grand Prix Historique attracted also some new generation Formula 1 drivers like Charles Leclerc who entertained himself for a long time with Alesi and Arnoux during the weekend. The current F1 German driver, Nicolas Hülkenberg, also paid a visit – “Monaco is one the most difficult and charming circuit that requires you an intense involvement in the positive sense, so amusing for any driver”, he highlighted.
Particularly appreciated was the performance of the German female driver, Katarina Kyvalova, reaching the 4th position on her category behind the wheel of a fantastic Cooper-Jaguar T33, dating back to 1954 showing that motor sport is not only the prerogative of men.
Seven different categories devoted to the most iconic champions of the past time paraded on the track, measuring 3km 337 of length up to Monte-Carlo Casino and return. A total of nineteen turns including the most popular La Rascasse, Saint Devota and Fairmont hairpins. Here is the list of the seven. A Series – Louis Chiron well represented the pre-War mood (1926-1937) when only the 1.5-liter engines of ‘voiturettes’ (small cars) dominated as in first editions of Monaco Grand Prix.
Pioneering Bugatti and Alfa Romeo kicked off a remarkable automotive technological future that gave space to other key actors like Maserati. B Series – Juan Manuel Fangio marked the evolution towards 2L vehicles, from the front single-seater engine to the rear engine cars (1948-1960). Among the others, the Maserati 250 F, originally driven in 1958 by Maria Teresa de Filippis who was the first woman to qualify for a Formula 1 Grand Prix. C Series – Vittorio Marzotto (1952-1957) celebrated Maserati’s boom when wing-equipped race cars were boosted in Sport races.
The 1960’s golden age led by Graham Hill were remembered by D Series (1961-1965) characterised by some relevant changes in racing car design to face the increased danger of F1 by improving the road holding. E Series – Jackie Stewart (1966 – 1972) paid tribute to the first seven seasons of 3L Formula 1 and the incoming pivotal V12 engines conceived by Ferrari, Motra and BRM. F Series – Niki Lauda (1973-1976) put on the circuit 3L F1 at-the-time cars equipped by deformable structures for safety reasons to rethink the distribution of masses, like Renault turbo engine and Lotus 78 ground effects, banned in modern times.
G Series (1977-1980) recalled the great figure of Gilles Villeneuve in a time of great aerodynamic innovation in order to even better perform, including the award-winning models: Williams FW07B and Shadow DN8. The Monegasque former F1 pilot, Frédéric Lajoux, reported a worthy seventh place at the drive of an Arrows A1B designed in 1978.
The Grand Prix Historique ignited in all its followers their sporting hearts with the view of the next Monaco’s motor challenges. Stay stuck on board!
List of First-place
A Series: No. 22 Christian Traber (Switzerland) driving a Talbot-Lago – Model T150C “MD” (1939) Time: 22:38.823
B Series: No. 38 Guillermo Fierro-Eleta (Spain) driving a Maserati – Model: 250F (1954) Time: 20:42.041
C Series: No. 42 Guillermo Fierro-Eleta (Spain) driving a Maserati – Model: 300S (1957) Time: 20:48.586
D Series: No. 7 Mark Shaw (UK) driving a Lotus – Model: 21 – Climax (1961) Time: 19:23.946
E Series: No. 20 Lyons Michael (UK) driving a Surtees – Model: TS9 (1971) Time: 19:11.747
F Series: No. 7 Lyons Michael (UK) driving a McLaren – Model: M26 (1976) Time: 26:48.342
G Series: No. 1 Lyons Michael (UK) driving a Hesketh – Model: 308E (1977) Time: 28:29.081