Of all the Grand Prix locations, Monaco will always hold a special status, both for the insiders and the audience. The Grand Prix Circuit comprises of 19 corners and a tunnel on just over two miles of road, with scenic sea view on one side and high end properties on the other side of the track. Brazilian F1 champion Nelson Piquet once said that the Monaco GP was “like trying to cycle round your living room”, but even he could not deny “a win here was worth two anywhere else”. For a historic Grand Prix racing, naturally Monaco is the best location to go for.
First launched in 1997, The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique has been organised every two years by the local Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) since 2000. The 11th event just took place over the weekend of 11 to 13 May and it attracted an amazing crowd to the area just two weeks before the Monaco GP. Motorsports-related auctions were taking place in Monaco too. For example, the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8 Formula 1 challenger driven by Ayrton Senna was sold for 4,197,500 euros (including premium), while a unique re-edition of Ronnie Peterson’s gold Carrera chronograph was sold for 97,750 euros (including premium), over three times more than the highest estimates. Still, the focus was on the over-300 Grand Prix cars, ranging from the pre-War era to the 1970s. Races were categorised by both type and year of the cars, as below:
A : Pre-war Grand Prix Cars
B : F1 and F2 Grand Prix Cars (Pre-1961)
C : Sports Racing cars – front engine (1952 – 1957)
D : F1 Grand Prix Cars (1961–1965)
E : F1 Grand Prix Cars (1966–1972)
F : F1 Grand Prix Cars (1973–1976)
G : F1 Grand Prix cars (1977 – 1980)
The rain on Sunday didn’t spoil the mood of the crowd and the vibe was getting more dynamic towards the closing of the weekend. The most anticipated battle would easily be Race E, with cars such as the Brabham BT33, Ferrari 312B, 312B2 and 312B3, Lotus 49 and McLaren M19 competing. The podium was taken by Wirdheim Bjorn in a March 711, followed by Stuart Hall driving a McLaren M19A in second place and Michael Lyons in a Surtees TS9 in third. All three cars were from the same year – 1971.
Besides the racing, nine ex-F1 drivers including Ricardo Patrese, Mika Hakkinen and Eddy Irvine among others were seen parading on the mythic circuit to celebrate the history of their sport. Legendary driver Jacky Ickx was also spotted during the weekend – it’s rare to see all these veterans under the same roof.