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Monaco Historique – Golden-era racing on the French Riviera

This weekend, the streets of Monte-Carlo will bask in the splendour of their most golden era for the 2016 Grand Prix de Monaco Historique…

1970s Formula 1 cars take centre stage

Traditionally held biennially and two weeks before the modern F1 Grand Prix at the same locale, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique sees the classic car world descend on the glamorous principality, at the invitation of the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM).

The race card for the tenth running of the event comprises seven grids, including one parade, all of which will run on the full Grand Prix circuit. Sunday commences with a race for Formula Junior cars built between 1958 and 1960s, followed by an affair for pre-1965 front-engined Formula 1 and 2 cars. A 30-minute parade will be held for pre-War Grand Prix cars, rather than a competitive race as has been held at past events. Formula 1 takes centre-stage for the entire afternoon, as cars from 1966 to 1972 battle it out before those from 1973 to 1976 conclude the day. The latter promises to be the most exciting spectacle for visitors, as evocative cars such as the Lotus 72 and the Ferrari 312B3 go toe-to-toe. There are also a number of celebrities on the entry list, including the revered designer Adrian Newey. He’ll be driving his own Lotus 49B.

Credit Suisse Historic Racing Forum

Credit Suisse is not only one of the main sponsors of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, but is also kindly supporting our editorial coverage of the event. On Saturday, the Swiss bank is holding a parade on the historic circuit for more than 40 clients and their classic cars. It will also be throwing its customary – and always entertaining – Historic Racing Forum, this time featuring three-times Monaco winner Sir Stirling Moss, along with Emanuele Pirro, Jochen Mass, Alain de Cadenet and Ray Mallock. The topic at hand will be ‘Manufacturers versus Privateers: The Battle for Motorsport Supremacy’. Following this, Sir Stirling Moss will be reunited with the Maserati 250F in which he first claimed victory in the principality, 60 years ago. 

Beltoise Junior is his father’s Matra V12

A particularly emotional moment – especially for the Francophiles – will occur when Anthony Beltoise gets behind the wheel of the Matra MS 120 his father Jean-Pierre raced at Monaco in 1971. Though he sadly retired in that race, he did score 16 points over the course of the season, good enough for ninth place in the standings. Two years later, however, he scored his only Formula 1 race victory on the rain-soaked streets of Monte-Carlo, this time driving a BRM.

“My father was an example to me,” says Anthony, himself a two-times French GT champion and three-times Porsche Carrera Cup winner. “He was strong, brave, determined and stubborn, but also humble and wise. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and to become a racing driver, which I’ve now been for 20 years. It will be really moving to drive that car on such a legendary track.” We’re positive the sight and ear-splitting sound of the Matra carving its away around Monaco will be one to remember. 

Photos: Rémi Dargegen and Cathy Dubuisson for Classic Driver © 2016, Automobile Club de Monaco

Classic Driver’s extensive coverage of the 2016 Monaco Historic GP is kindly supported by our friends at Credit Suisse. You can find an overview of all 2016 Monaco Historic articles here.