Tour Auto Optic 2ooo 2011: Preview and Provisonal Entry List

After last year’s celebration of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB, it was hard to see how the 2011 Tour Auto could better itself. After all, no fewer than 17 SWBs took part in the 2010 event, so what could Patrick Peter and his team possibly pull out of the hat this time? The answer: Zagato.

Of all the marques, models and coachbuilders that cause a frisson of excitement in the Classic Driver offices, SWB Ferraris and Zagato come dizzyingly high up the list, so we can only thank the Tour Auto organisers for catering, so closely, for our particular preferences.

Nor is the Zagato theme simply paying lip-service to the great Italian coachbuilder, without the entries to back it up. For there are, we’re told, no fewer than 15 crews bringing a ‘Z’ to the party. Take a deep breath and count: 7 Alfa Romeo TZs, 1 Alfa SZ, 1 Alfa 1900 SS Zagato, 2 Lancia Flaminia Zagatos, 1 Lancia Flavia Zagato, 2 Aston DB4GT Zagatos and, the partridge in a pear tree, the Maserati A6 G54 Zagato which took the start of the Tour de France Auto in 1957.

But let’s not forget the rest of the 230 cars which will gather in the Jardins des Tuileries on 11 April, before heading off the following day to arrive in Biarritz, via Bordeaux, five days later. Taking in the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans, and three other circuits, on the way. From AC Cobra to E-type Jag, and GT40 to Porsches 356, 911 and 914/6, the ‘grid’ fairly bristles with the exotic and the interesting – see the links to the full entry lists below.

As usual, entrants fall into either the Regularity or Competition categories. While the former is, as the name suggests, a regularity run which requires the crews to stick as closely as possible to a pre-defined average speed, the full-blown Competition category includes timed sections (on tracks or closed roads) in which the fastest wins.

And as in 2010, the general public will be allowed to visit the various Parc Fermés on presentation of the official rally programme, but do check the opening times for each leg at the organiser’s own website, www.tourauto.com. The race circuits, meanwhile, which the Tour visits en route, will be open to the public free of charge.

While much of the format is familiar, the entered cars vary from year to year, and there is always some fresh novelty to enjoy. In 2011, for example, children from 6 to 13 years old (and less than 1.4m tall) will be able to drive a mini-Ferrari in many of the route’s stopover towns, between 2pm and 8pm each day. It sounds like an ideal activity to prepare young enthusiasts for a full Tour Auto entry in the years to come.

You can see the full Regularity Entry list HERE

You can see the full Competition Entry list HERE

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Peter Auto (Philippe Fugier/Frederic Veillard)


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