Historic Grand Prix: its past and present
While Formula 1 is a well-known and much anticipated world event, not everybody knows about the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco. This spectacular and exciting competition is held two weeks before the main races and features retro cars older than 25 years of age.
History of the event
The First Historic Grand Prix was organised by the Automobile Club of Monaco in 1997 to celebrate the 700TH anniversary of the Grimaldi dynasty reign. Three years later the event was reiterated to mark the entrance into the 21st century in 2000. Its enormous success with both public and vintage car connoisseurs inspired the organisers to hold the event every two years. An annual event would have been not an easy task, as retro cars require more care and longer rest. The streets of Monaco biennially see the race cars that starred in Formula 1 in the past years. Collectors of vintage automobiles come to Monaco from all around the world to take part in the largest meeting of rare-car lovers.
Famous drivers or even Formula 1 winners once drove many of the vehicles. Most of Historic Grand Prix cars were built between 1947 to 1984.
Monaco is the last stage of the event held across 5 cities: Valencia, Briançon, Copenhagen, Turin and Monte Carlo.
Tribute must be paid to the Historic Grand Prix drivers. The race is held on the legendary circuit of Monaco, considered one of the most difficult in Formula 1. It has remained unchanged since 1929. Given the complexity of the route and the age of the vehicles, the Historic Grand Prix has its own conditions and limitations. No more than 250 cars can race in it.
10th anniversary of the Historic Grand Prix
In 2016 the Historic Grand Prix celebrated its 10th anniversary! The commemorative races attract a large number of retro car connoisseurs. Many collectors and heirs of the legendary drivers of the past gathered in Monte Carlo on 13-15th May 2016.
A Frenchman Anthony Beltoise specially attended the 10th Historic Grand Prix of Monaco to honour the memory of his father, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, a famous French racer. The latter started his racing career with a French team Matra. In 1972, as part of the BRM team, he won the Grand Prix of Formula 1 in Monaco. Both sons of Jean-Pierre Beltoise are professional racers. Anthony Beltoise raced on the legendary track of Monaco in a Matra MS 120 driven by his father during the 1970 season Formula 1 World Championship.
“My father has always been an example to me. He was strong, brave, stubborn, but also modest and wise. His life as a sports car driver, his career and his actions inspired me to live with the same passion and love for life, as he lived his every day. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a racing driver, which I have been for the past 20 years. Thanks to him I became who I am today and I would like to pay tribute to him. It is going to be touching indeed – driving the same car as my father was once driving on this legendary track. It would mean a lot for our family and it would have mattered to my father ” – said Anthony Beltoise in his interview prior to the race.
The Jubilee Historic Grand Prix of Monaco has gathered about 15,000 spectators during the two days, with 8 races taking place.
This year the race cars from Group A did not compete and only paraded during the event. It was the only possible technical solution. After all, these cars are now over 50 years old. The length of the race depends also on the state and age of the car.
Categories of racing cars
Racing cars are divided into categories according to their date of issue and the state of the vehicle:
Group A: Pre-war sports cars
Group B: Grand Prix F1 and the F2 sports cars constructed before 1961, with a front engine
Group C: Sports cars with a front engine, having raced from 1952 to 1955.
Group D: Single cars from Junior Formula with a front engine and drum brakes, having raced from 1958 to 1960;
Group E: Sports Cars having raced in Grand Prix Formula 1-1500 from 1961 to 1965;
Group F: Sports Cars having raced in Grand Prix Formula 1 from 1966 to 1972;
Group G: Sports Cars from Grand Prix Formula 1 having raced from 1973 to 1976.
This year, 226 pilots jury-selected from 300 submitted applications attended the Historic Grand Prix. Group A was naturally the smallest as it is reduced from year to year. The pre-war category featured such brands as Bugatti, Alfa-Romeo, Aston Martin and Maserati. Group D and G were the most numerous this year, with 48 and 43 participants respectively.
The entrance price for the event varied depending on the location.