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Monaco, 11th-13th of May

The second weekend in May saw the first of three major classic car events within 3 weeks with the 8th Monaco Historic GP. Just as the following Mille Miglia and the Concorso d´Eleganza at the Villa d´Este at Lake Como the Historic Grand Prix is based on a long tradition.
As promised in our appetizer gallery we now found the time to take a closer look at all the participating cars during the weekend.

Former Monaco GP winners
The first Grand Prix in the principality was held in 1929 organized by the Automobile Club of Monaco (ACM) but not all top drivers and teams of these days saw the upcoming importance of the race as not all of them followed the invitation. Rudolf Caracciola on his huge Mercedes-Benz SSK had the challenge to fight an armada of Bugatti in the narrow streets of Monaco and finished third behind the winning Bugatti T35B of William Grover-Williams. Over the years the race established itself as one of the most prestigious races in the world and winning in Monaco was almost as important as winning the championship. When looking into the winners board all the big names are listed: Nuvolari, Chiron, Varzi, Moll, Fagioli and Caracciola on the pre-war side and Moss, Fangio, Hill, Stewart, Rindt or Lauda later on.

The Track Layout
Within all these year the layout of the track did not change a lot beside some minor additions like the pool chicane or the Rascasse. Today the track is 3.34 km long starting on the Boulevard Albert in front of the princes lounge to the first corner (Saint-Dévote), going up the hill passing Beau Rivage to the Casino, going down again to the Mirabeau corner before entering the most famous of all corners in the Formula 1: the hairpin. The hairpin became known under the name Loews, but as the name giving hotel changed its name in recent years it is now called Fairmont-Hairpin. This might be the most photographed corner in the whole F1 calendar as it is the tightest corner taken in first gear with the steering fully turned, with the older cars on could see normally one wheel in the air. After another double right turn the cars enter the tunnel to blast in a long right turn down to the chicane in the harbour towards Tabac and around the piscine to go around Rascasse back on the start-finish. Monaco is the slowest of the modern F1 tracks and it takes its charm from the closeness of the spectators and its character that does not allow a single mistake unlike many other tracks with big run-off areas.

Monaco Historic GP since 1997
Back in 1997 the idea was born to bring back the cars from the glorious days to Monaco and the first edition of the Monaco Historic GP was staged by the ACM. Maybe the ACM was surprised by themselves by the success of this event as the intended unique event became a biannual in 2000 and now is in its 8th edition.

Which cars can be driven
The restrictions are to the years 1929-1978 for Formula 1 cars in 5 different classes plus a class for Formula 3 and sports cars. More than 220 cars and drivers found their way to Monaco to compete with the famous track that weekend with different success as usually not all of the gentlemen drivers finish the races without damage and the safety car is a common sight on the track. Although there were several crashes again and even a few red flags on had the impression that the drivers were more disciplined this year as there were just a few delays over the weekend. Learned from the past there was always a big break between the races to keep up with the time table but the trained marshals did a great job clearing the track from wrecked cars to be in training for the following modern Grand Prix were millions of spectators on television will judge their abilities.
This extended time table and the fact that the Formula 3 race had a huge amount of entrants caused a novelty at the HGP, it already started on Friday instead of Saturday with the first practice sessions.

Credit Suisse invited to a forum in the drivers club
On Friday morning the cars were set up in the paddocks at the harbour for the technical inspection whereas the sponsor Credit Suisse invited to a forum in the drivers club with former racers and experienced historic racers Jochen Mass, Emanuele Pirro, Alain de Cadenet and Duncan Dayton discussing the difference between modern and historic racing. Although all of them agreed to the need of safety in motorsport they consisted that this took away a lot of the interest in modern racing as drivers could always drive on the limit of the car leading to a certain regularity in the races. Back in the days and in today's historic racing the ability of the driver and the willing to risk his own health led to more action on the track especially at the time when the races were much longer than today. After the forum the drivers were able to try a typical Swiss instrument, the Alphorn just to learn that it is not that easy to get a tone out of it, but all of them seemed to have fun.

Friday Practice
In the afternoon the action began after the track was closed for the traffic and first the Formula 3 cars had two separate practices to cut the 50 entrants to a reasonable field for the main races on Sunday. Many of these drivers made their first experience with the track that day as many new ones entered their car this year. Formula  cars might be a little bit cheaper to maintain and going racing than the Formula 1 cars of that era and especially on a narrow track like Monaco they are as fast as the bigger but more heavy F1s. When looking at the classic car calendar it is obvious that there are not that many chances to run these cars beside club races or track days so an opportunity like Monaco cannot be missed.

The Races
After further practice sessions on Saturday the following Sunday was the day of the long awaited races.

The first cars in the morning on the track were the cars from the Series B, Pre 1961 Grand Prix and Formula 2 cars with a 30 minutes race. Duncan Dayton, the most successful entrant in the Historic GP with no less than 10 wins wanted to defend his last title in this category but had a strong opponent with Roger Wills in his Cooper T51. This was also the fight between two cars from an era  where the basic layout of the Formula cars changed. Although the Auto Union C-Type in the pre-war years already had the engine behind the driver it took more than 20 years to see the final change from the front engined cars to the rear engined ones, and just like back in these days the rear-engined T51 of Roger Wills finally won after a short battle in the first laps before Dayton spun and had to give way to Wills.

The next race was for sports cars up to 1952. Back in 1952 the World Championship was held for Formula 2 cars instead of Formula 1 as after the withdrawn of Alfa Romeo there were not many team left to run Formula 1 cars. Instead of taking part in the F2 championship the ACM made the decision to invite sports cars to run the annual race. Just as today the races featured several Ferrari, Jaguar C-Type and Aston Martin DB3 but with different success. Back in 1952 it was Ferrari who set the pace but the two entered Ferrari this year were found more in the back of the field as the owners intended to bring these high valued cars home without wounds. The entered 225 S with Vignale Berlinetta body finished 4th back in 1952 after three more Ferrari but this year the Jaguar C-Types were running well in front with Alex Buncombe finishing in front of Carlos Monteverde. For many this race was one of the favourites that weekend but with the age restriction to 1952 the big bangers of the first Monaco HGP are not part of the game anymore as in the first editions a bunch of 250 TR and even 375 MM were running the city track.

The last race before the lunch break was the race for the oldest cars on track, the pre-war cars. The cars ranged from the smaller Bugatti who were successful in the first GP to the later Alfa Romeo Tipo B running in the titan races before the war against the strong German Silver Arrows together with the Alfa Romeo 8C-35. One of these 8C-35 was intended to run this year's HGP with former Alfa Romeo works driver Arturo Merzario but unfortunately all effort to get the car running that weekend failed as the car was not seen on the track for a single lap. Frontrunners were the armada of ERA that are successfully campaigned in historic races like the Goodwood Revival by their mostly British owners showing that historic racing on the island has more tradition. Today these cars are very well maintained and proven race winners in all kind of events. No less than 6 of these were running in Monaco this year and the race was finally won by Julian Bronson leading a trio of three black ERA on the podium. British drivers were by far the most successful of the weekend winning all but one races with several all-British podium finishes.

In the lunch break Audi once more demonstrated one of their Silver Arrows on the track just as in the years before. This time Jacky Ickx was running an accurate recreation of the Auto-Union C-Type (with no running survivor) and as this was the only car on track one could hear the 16-cylinder engine sound almost around the entire track. On could just imagine what the 1936 Grand Prix must have sounded when a handful of these 6-litre supercharged rear-engined cars were running against the same number of Mercedes-Benz W25 and several Alfa Romeo 8C-35. Unfortunately the very active Mercedes Museum did not send a W25 over as it would have been great to see these rival run side by side, a sight one might get later that year at the Goodwood Revival were a large number of Silver Arrows is intended to do some demonstration laps.

After the lunch break the later Grand Prix cars had their races with the pre-1966 rear engined to run first followed by the later 3 litre models.

The first race for the small read engined cars of the era from Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Jack Brabham was dominated by the Lotus 25 and Cooper T66 with Climax engine. But crowds favourite was the small Ferrari 1512 that just completed its rebuild and had its first race outing in Monaco. This car was used by the Scuderia Ferrari along with the 158 that gave John Surtees his F1 World Championship on four wheels. Unfortunately the 1512 was not really sorted out so it did not make it to the races on Sunday but did several laps on Saturday.

The race of the pre-1973 3 litre cars finally gave Duncan Dayton the expected 11th victory in Monaco. Although he had to start from the back of the field after a red flagged practice session after his competitor Roger Wills damaged his car in a crash he managed to fight his way through the field in his Brabham BT33 to win in front of the strange looking March 711 with its tablet-like front spoiler. Spectators favourites were again a pair of Ferrari, the 312 from 1969 with its sophisticated exhaust system running like a sculpture over the engine and the 312B from 1971 once driven by Jacky Ickx. One of the participating Tecno was a great sight as he split backfire from the exhaust when arriving in front of the pool chicane in front of the grandstands almost every lap.

The second to last race was the Formula 3 race. It needed 3 attempts to start due to stalled engines and problems in the proper line-up for the start. After several crashes and a blocked track the safety car had to come out and although the marshals normally were very quick in removing the cars the race was ended behind the safety car as just after the first laps it was starting to rain and the track was flooded making it too dangerous to run a race in these conditions.

Fortunately the races were well in time that day so the gap before the last race was long enough to wait for the rain to stop. When the last races for the later 3-litre Formula 1 cars of the years 1973-1978 was started the track was still very wet giving the drivers a big challenge keeping the powerful cars on the road, but a wet track an open wheeled cars gives a very special atmosphere. Just after the tunnel the cars were running with a huge spray backlit from the tunnel lights giving once in a lifetime photo opportunities so it was worth the wait in the rain both for the photographers and the spectators on the grandstand. The cars came from the era when the advertisements on the cars were still Sex, Cigarettes and Alcohol rather than Bank and Computer services as the winning Hesketh from Michael Lyons featured Penthouse-livery defeating the Marlboro McLaren of Bobby Verdon-Roe, other liveries featured Durex and Martini. The field featured also 3 Ferrari 312 T and T3 plus the famous 6-wheeler Tyrell P34 driven by Roger Wills who had a busy weekend.

When looking back on the Monaco Historic Grand Prix one has to say that this features an atmosphere one will not find elsewhere, action-packed races and a very attractive surrounding. The chic principality is preparing itself for the coming Grand Prix and the HGP gives a good impression what to expect there. Prices will be even more crazy as they are the rest of the year and the cars and yachts in the harbour are a little bit more expensive as well. But one has to see that at least once and it is great to see that the spectators are enjoying the HGP as well as the grandstands were sold out on Sunday showing the huge interest in historic racing.
In two years most of them will be back and the drivers get another chance to take the most famous track under their wheels.

Report & images: Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de

Grand Prix de Monaco Historique (2012-05-24)

01 BRABHAM BT11 (Climax) 1964 WALZER Roy
01 LOTUS 76 1974 BEAUMONT Andrew
02 ALTA F2 1952 NUTHALL Ian
02 LOTUS 24 (BRM) 1962 WILLIAMS Nigel
02 MASERATI 8CM 1934 s/n 3013 STIPPLER Frank
02 OSCA MT4 1950 DE MIGUEL Carlos
03 FERRARI 312 s/n 0017 1969 HOYT Brad
03 TYRRELL 008 1978 PETER Hans
04 BRABHAM BT26 1969 GIROIX Fabien
04 BRP-BRM 64 (BRM) 1964 DEL BENE Kurt
04 MASERATI 6CM 1937 s/n 1547 BALZ Willi
04 PORSCHE 356 1952 GOLD Stanley
04 TYRRELL P34 1976 WILLS Roger
05 ATS 100 (ATS) 1964 WRIGHT Jason
05 BRABHAM BT26 1968 VAN HEURCK Patrick
05 LOTUS 77 1976 LOCKE Christopher
06 BMW 328 1937 QUESTER Dieter
06 BUGATTI 51 1934 s/n 51154 BESSADE Paul Emile
06 LOTUS 18 (Climax) 1960 ELLIOTT John
06 LOTUS 77 1976 BINDELS Nico
06 TYRRELL 006 1972 DELANE John
07 FERRARI 312 B s/n 005 1971 GOODMAN John
07 LOTUS 18 (Climax) 1961 TAYLOR Scotty
07 McLAREN M26 1976 D'ANSEMBOURG Christophe
08 BRABHAM BT33 1970 DAYTON Duncan
08 BUGATTI 59/50BIII 1938 DARK Thomas
08 H.W.M. ALTA F2/52 1952 VAN DER KROFT Adrien
08 LOTUS 21 (Climax) 1961 COLLINS Dan
08 McLAREN M26 1977 VERDON-ROE Bobby
09 LOTUS 25 (Climax) 1962 MIDDLEHURST Andy
09 MARCH 761B 1976 NEARBURG Charles
10 ALFA-ROMEO 8C MONZA 1932 s/n 2111042 DAVIES Ed
10 FERRARI 1512 s/n 0008 1964 COLASACCO Joseph
10 FERRARI 166 MM 1950 s/n 0034M QUINTANO Juan
10 McLAREN M26 1977 BROWN Zak
10 SURTEES TS9 1971 LYONS Judith
11 FERRARI 312T s/n 018 1975 CASOLI Giancarlo
11 LOTUS 24 (Climax) 1962 SYTNER Frank
11 McLAREN M14A 1970 GOETHE Roald
12 ALFA-ROMEO TIPO B (P3) 1934 s/n 50007 SMITH Tony
12 COOPER-BRISTOL T20 (Mk1) 1952 WOOD Barry
12 FERRARI 312T s/n 021 1975 "MISTER JOHN OF B"
12 LOTUS 24 (Climax) 1962 WANTY Michel
14 ALFA-ROMEO 8C-35 1935 MERZARIO Arturo
14 COOPER-BRISTOL T23 (Mk2) 1953 GRANT Paul
14 LOTUS 24 (Climax) 1962 DRAYSON Paul
15 McLAREN M19A 1971 WALKER Scott
15 TYRRELL 007 1974 LEWIS Jeffrey
16 BRM P126 1968 ADELMAN Graham
16 COOPER-BRISTOL T23 (Mk2) 1953 NUTHALL William
16 GORDINI T11/15 1947 LEROY Eric
17 LOLA Mk4 (Climax) 1962 FERIOLI Jorge
17 LOTUS 49 1967 MacALLISTER Chris
17 SHADOW DN5 1975 COLYVAS Nicholas
18 BRM P180 1972 LAMPLOUGH Robert
18 COOPER BRISTOL T23 (Mk2) 1953 RUSSELL Steve
18 GORDINI T11/15 1947 BALLY Jean-Jacques
19 COOPER T66 (Climax) 1963 HOOLE Sidney
19 McLAREN M19C 1972 FOLCH-R Joaquin
20 COOPER T53 (Climax) 1961 MOCKETT Douglas
20 ERA B 1935 GANS Michael
20 HESKETH 308C 1975 CARLINO Richard
20 MATRA MS120B 1971 CATERNET Christophe
21 MARCH 701 1970 SMITH Andrew
22 ENSIGN N177 1977 HAGAN James
22 ERA B 1936 LANDY Ian
22 LOTUS 24 (Climax) 1962 COPLOWE David
22 MARCH 701 1970 ARTAM Cengiz
23 MARCH 701 1970 FERRARI Bruno
23 TROJAN T103 1974 BONNY Philippe
24 EMERYSON F1 (Climax) 1961 ASHBY Brian
24 ERA B 1936 OTT Rainer
24 HESKETH 308 1975 HALL Stuart
24 MASERATI 250F 1958 s/n 2533 BALZ Willi
25 TOKEN RJ02 1974 VANHEE Christian
26 LOLA Mk4 (Climax) 1962 "MISTER JOHN OF B"
26 LOLA T370 1974 PANE Mauro
26 MARCH 721G 1972 HADFIELD Simon
26 TALBOT LAGO T26C 1948 LEHR Klaus
26 TEC-MEC 250 F 1958 s/n 2535 WOOD Tony
27 MARCH 711 1971 FITZGERALD Michael
28 DE TOMASO F1 (Alfa Conrero) 1961 ZAMPATTI Ross
28 MARCH 701 1970 WILLS Roger
28 PENSKE PC3 1976 DRAKE Chris
30 AMON AF101 1974 MAYDON Ron
30 BRM P25 1958 PEARSON Gary
30 LOTUS 18 (Climax) 1961 BOND Stephen
31 HESKETH 308E 1977 LYONS Michael
32 ERA B 1936 DOWLING Paddins
32 LOTUS 18 (Climax) 1961 ERNST Rudolf
32 THEODORE TR1 1978 QUAGGIA Luciano
33 McLAREN M26 1976 LYONS Frank
34 BRM P48 1960 BAXTER Barrie
34 ERA B 1936 McCABE Charles
34 LOTUS 18/21 (Climax) 1961 PEETERS Guy
34 PENSKE PC4 1976 MOCKETT Douglas
35 FERRARI 312T3 s/n 032 1978 FOLCH-R Joaquin
36 ERA D 1938 BRONSON Julian
36 FERRARI 246 DINO s/n 0788 1960 SMITH Tony
36 HESKETH 308E 1977 TURIZIO Cosimo
36 LOTUS 21 (Climax) 1961 MORTON Alex
37 MARCH 761 1976 DREELAN Tommy
38 BUGATTI 39 1925 s/n 4604 HANDS David
38 COOPER T71 (Ford) 1964 BAILLIE Alan
38 JBW (Maserati) F1 1959 BAILEY Marshall
38 MARCH 761 1976 GALLEGO Rodrigo
39 MARCH 761 1976 HIGSON Mark
40 BRABHAM BT14 (Ford) 1965 NEWMAN Rodger
40 BUGATTI 35B 1929 s/n 2033 DE BALDANZA Julia
40 COOPER T40 (Bobtail) 1955 GOETZE Wulf
40 SURTEES TS19 1976 HANCOCK Oliver
42 BUGATTI 37 A 1926 KÖNIG Jürg
42 LOTUS 16 1959 DAYTON Ducan
44 BUGATTI 37 1926 ELICABE Manuel
44 LOTUS 16 1958 McGUIRE Eddie
46 LOTUS 16 1959 FOLCH-R Joaquin
46 MG PARNELL K3 1933 LAST Richard
48 LOTUS 18 1960 CHISHOLM John
50 COOPER T41 (Climax) 1957 MILES Allan
52 COOPER T43 (Climax) 1957 BUSSEY John
52 MASERATI A6GCS 1947 s/n 2002 DUMOLIN Christian
54 COOPER T45 (Climax) 1958 TWYMAN Joe
54 MASERATI 4 CL 1939 s/n 1569 KAUFMANN Georg
56 COOPER T51 (Maserati) 1959 WIGLEY Nick
56 GORDINI T23S 1949 WIGLEY Nick
58 FERRARI 225S 1952 s/n 0164ED KHAN Najeeb
60 COOPER T51 (Climax) 1959 WILLS Roger
60 JAGUAR C TYPE 1952 s/n XKC 004 WEBB Nigel
62 COOPER T51 (Alfa Conrero) 1961 GIULIANI Andrea
64 JAGUAR C TYPE 1952 s/n XKC 008 WENMAN David
66 JAGUAR C TYPE 1952 s/n XKC 018 BUNCOMBE Alex
66 MASERATI 6CM/4CM 1936 BURATTI Federico
68 JAGUAR C TYPE 1952 s/n XKC 039 MONTEVERDE Carlos
72 ASTON-MARTIN DB3 1952 s/n DB3/2 FRIEDRICHS Wolfgang
74 ASTON-MARTIN DB3 1952 s/n DB3/6 MIDGLEY Mark
76 ASTON MARTIN DB3 1952 s/n DB3/5 MELLING Martin
78 ALLARD J2X 1952 BETTATI Massimiliano
80 ALLARD J2 1950 WATTS Patrick
SERIES A - Pre 1952 Voiturettes and Grand Prix Cars
SERIES B - Pre 1961 Grand Prix Cars and F2
SERIES C - Pre 1953 Sports and Sports Prototypes Cars
SERIES D - Pre 1966, rear engined F1 Grand Prix cars
SERIES E - Pre 1973 Formula 1 3 litre cars
SERIES F - Pre 1979 Formula One 3 litre cars
SERIES G - Pre 1985 Formula 3 2000 cc