Motorsport News - Historic
Le Mans Classic’s tenth anniversary
6th July 2012
Created in 2002, Le Mans Classic has become the must-attend event for lovers of historic automobiles and racing cars. Tomorrow, 450 historic racers will take to the track. In addition to them, some 8000 exceptional cars representing 160 clubs are expected. This is a new challenge for the ACO just three weeks after the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours!
Ten years ago Patrick Peter’s idea took form: namely, to give the cars that had excelled in the Le Mans 24 Hours between 1923 and 1979 the opportunity to race on this unique circuit.
Thanks to Michel Cosson, the ACO President at the time, and to the joint efforts of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and Peter Auto teams, the first meeting went off like a dream and attracted some 30 000 spectators. The media called it the motor sporting event of 2002!
Ten years later the recipe for success hasn’t changed for the sixth running (Le Mans Classic takes place every two years). Peter Auto and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the joint organisers, share the roles. The Peter Auto Company provides its know-how as promoter of historic car events, and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest brings its expertise in the organisation of large-scale sporting meetings.
Three weeks after the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours the ACO personnel have to look after one of the most complicated meetings that exists. From a sporting point of view the heats of each of the six plateaus, each one corresponding to a major period of the race to provide equal performances and historic relevance – a total of 450 cars - must go off without a hitch. The cars are in the hands of gentlemen drivers from the four corners of the earth as well as professionals still racing (Collard, Muller, Ayari), seven former winners (Bell, Pirro, Jaussaud, Larrousse, Attwood, Schuppan and Hélary), those who raced in the Sarthe on several occasions (Ragnotti, Belmondo, Jabouille, Nicolet, Redman) and even a former French Prime Minister, François Fillon!
From a logistics point of view the big Le Mans circuit has to be installed again and some 100 000 visitors have to be catered for in addition to 8000 exceptional cars representing 160 clubs and 80 makes, which come from all over Europe. They will be on display on the Bugatti circuit turning it into the biggest open-air museum in the world!
Then there’s all the entertainment: the highlighting of American cars and drivers who have starred at Le Mans, an exceptional assembly of 23 Ferrari 250 GTOs out of the 38 built, an auction where 130 cars will be put up for sale including some that have impressed at Le Mans (in particular, the Ligier JS2, 2nd in 1975 and the WM P88 from 1988, the car that set the highest top speed recorded on the 24-Hours circuit), the Le Mans Heritage Concours, ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Alpine, the AC Cobra and the MGB, Panhard & Levassors, concerts, etc.
Le Mans Classic 2012 in short
Description: Retrospective of one of the legendary races in the world – the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Founders: The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, creator and organiser of the Le Mans 24 Hours and Peter Auto, promoter of motor car events.
Dates: 6-7-8 July 2012
450 cars whose common denominator is that they have taken part in the Le Mans 24 hours between 1923 and 1979 divided up into six plateaus according to their period.
In 2012, the starting order of the plateaus has changed as no. 4 (1962-1965) will set the ball rolling. The start of the event will be given on Saturday 7th July at 16h00 and the finish will be on Sunday 8th July at 16h00. A dummy Le Mans type start will take place before the formation lap for plateaus 4 and 1 on Saturday, and 2 and 3 on Sunday. As a 24-Hour endurance event is too hard on some of the older cars, the drivers will race – day and night- in three heats per plateau.
Plateau 1, cars from 1923 to 1939 - Plateau 2, cars from 1949 to 1956
Plateau 3, cars from 1957 to 1961 - Plateau 4, cars from 1962 to 1965
Plateau 5, cars from 1966 to 1971 - Plateau 6, cars from 1972 to 1979
The clubs will again be the privileged hosts at Le Mans Classic. The “Clubs de Marque” enclosure will welcome cars assembled per manufacturer, while the multi-marque clubs and individual automobiles will be in the “Collection” enclosure. Some 8000 cars are expected.
The Le Mans Heritage Club is reserved for 24 cars that have raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours between 1923 and 2012. They will take part in a Concours and they will be able to do a lap of the circuit.
By Artcurial: Sale, Automobilia on 7th July between 07h00 and 11h00, and cars on 7th July at 14h00.
General enclosure: Friday 20 euros. Sunday 35 euros. Weekend: 59 euros.
Paddock supplement 35 euros (given the heavy demand, 2 000 additional paddock passes will be put on sale on Saturday at the entry to the paddocks, valid Saturday and Sunday).
Free for under 16s.
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