Monaco Grand Prix - Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
The first Monaco Grand Prix was held in 1929 and it is now an important part of the Formula One calendar. The race covers many of the streets Principality of Monaco.
It is probably one of the most spectacular on the Formula One season being set a few metres from the Mediterranean Sea and at the foothills of the Alps. It is also very expensive and restaurant and hotel prices are adjusted accordingly for the long weekend event that is normally held in May. This is the same time as the Cannes Film Festival.
In 1997 the first Historic Monaco Grand Prix (Grand Prix de Monaco Historique) was held. The idea was to hold the race the week before the main Formula One event on the same circuit, particularly as all the infrastructure is in place.
It was then held in 2000 and since then every two years in May. Unlike the Formula One event that is 78 laps the races are only 10 to 15 laps depending on the category of cars racing. The event that is organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco is held over Saturday and Sunday with qualifying on the Saturday. Cars that are racing date back to pre- 1947, but there cannot be any post 1978 cars.
The day will attract many visitors who will also go to the annual “Goodwood" Revival meeting in England in September. Unlike the Formula One race the tickets are not expensive (about 10% of the cost – Approximately 15 euros) and restaurant prices are still normal unlike when the Formula One event is on. You can have a most enjoyable day's entertainment.
If you are visiting Monaco for the day, as many of the roads are closed off, parking can be very difficult. An excellent alternative to trying to come in by car is to take a train. There is a great service running along the coast from Ventimigla in Italy (plus Italian connections) on one side to Marseille on the other.
The noise from the track is not so loud as it would be for a modern Formula One race, unless they hold a parade of Ferraris as they did in 2004 and many of these were Formula One models. There is plenty of atmosphere to absorb including people watching the race from the yachts in the harbour or just people watching!
The Historic Grand Prix meeting is not over expensive to organise, as the stands, safety barriers, and the other essential infrastructure parts are already in place for the following week's F1 World Championship Grand Prix. Because many of the races are for cars from an age when drivers could be seen at work.
Today's F1 cars have high cockpit surrounds so it's difficult to see anything except the driver's head/safety helmet - with the cars in the Historic Grand Prix you can enjoy watching these racers with arms steering their beasts, often on opposite lock as they defy physics whilst treading that invisible line between total control and spinning off into the barriers.
Of course, it's only the bravest and most talented who drive these beasts at 10/10ths - some others are content to lap the circuit much more sedately, not wishing to take huge risks with their irreplaceable historic cars. But the heroes and heroines are those that have their cars sliding on the edge and giving spectators images that will last forever. 2006
The 5th Historic Grand Prix was no exception. Memorable. It took place on Sunday 21st May 2006, with practice sessions on Saturday 20th May.
The day's racing included a 10 lap event for sports cars built before 1953. In 1952, the Monaco event had been run for sports cars, as this was a period in F1 when the regulations were being changed from one engine to another and there was not an abundance of single-seater racing cars. How different to 1974, when 32 cars vied for 25 places on the grid..... The 2006 sports-car race featured cars that had competed in the '52 event or were competing in similar races at that time.
Amongst a gaggle of well driven 3.4 litre Jaguar C types, a brace of Ferrari 2-litre spyders, an Aston Martin DB3, a magnificent Gordini and two pre-2nd World War BMWs were a trio of Frazer-Nash cars. Much less powerful than many of the other runners, one of them, in the masterly hands of John Ure, dominated the event in early 2000 Schumacher style. Every lap, right on the limit, every lap like poetry in motion. That's why so many enthusiasts show up from around Europe and beyond.
Martin Stretton, in one of two 6-wheel Tyrrell-Cosworth 'bolides' in the 1975-78, was another on the edge throughout the penultimate race, perhaps the most exciting event of the day. Stretton, who prepares historic cars for a living, certainly knows how to make 'em slither and slide but somehow manages to keep them out of the barriers. He is the only driver to have won here at each Historic meeting to date.
Another sparkler, American Duncan Dayton came away from the meeting with two fine victories, one in the beautiful 1959 Lotus 16 and another in a 1970 Brabham. In both races he and his great rival, Spaniard Joaquin Folch, locked horns for the umpteenth time. Folch, a previous multi-winner here, had to settle for 2nd in one event and retired early in the other, mechanical gremlins spoiling what should have been a battle royal between the two Lotus 16 matadors.
Further information about Monaco: It is located on the Mediterranean Sea, tucked into the Maritimes Alps, it is only minutes from Nice International Airport ( bus, train and helicopter connections) and the French and Italian Rivieras. It has a population of 32,020 and is 2 sq km in size. The currency is the euro as in the neighbouring countries. Most of the people who dwell here come from somewhere else, drawn by the sun, glamorous lifestyle and – most importantly – tax-free income and more police per head of population than in any other European country.
If you are in the area for the Historic Grand Prix or the Formula One Grand Prix and are staying for a few days an enjoyable pastime is a visit to the annual Cannes Film Festival. Like in Monaco if you enjoy watching people, there are certainly plenty to watch at Cannes.
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The 6th Historic Monaco Grand Prix took place on Sunday 11th May 2008, with practice sessions on Saturday 10th May.Unlike 2006 the present day FI Grand Prix was not held the following week, but two weeks later (24th - 25th May). The weather was very warm and sunny, but not too hot for people sitting in the stands.
Regular drivers including Martin Stretton who was forced to retire his Tyrrell P34 early in the 1975-1978 'Formula 1' cars race, Frank Sytner (formerly owner of Sytner BMW dealerships) and Sir Sterling Moss took part and finished 18th in the Pre-1953 Sports car race in Frank Sytner’s Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica.During the lunch break the circuit beacame much noisier with a Ferrari 'F1' 1950-2000 Historic Parade and naturally some of these cars were fairly recent and much louder. The Pre 1953 Sports car race was won by by John Ure in his Mk2 Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica, with two other British drivers taking second and third place.
Race A: 'Formula Junior' cars - 10 laps or max 30 mins - won be John Monson in his BMC Mk1
Race B: Pre-1947 Grand Prix cars - 10 laps or max 30 mins - won by Julian Bronson in a ERA R4D
Race C:1947-1960 Grand Prix cars (Front engine)- 10 laps or max 30 mins won by Duncan Dayton in a Lotus 16
Race D:1954-1965 Grand Prix cars (Rear engine)- 10 laps or max 30 mins - won by Simon Hadfield in a Lotus 21
Race E: 1966-1974 'Formula 1' cars - 15 laps or max 45 mins - won by Duncan Dayton in a Brabham BT33
Race F: 1975-1978 'Formula 1' cars - 15 laps or max 45 mins - won by Mauro Pane in one of the two six-wheeler Tyrrell
Race G: Pre-1953 Sports cars 10 laps or max 30 mins - won by by John Ure in a Mk2 Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica
Right: Pre- 1953 Sports Car race - 2007 Historic Grand Prix
N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. jml property Services 05-08
©Philip Suter May 2008
This article was located at the euro-rentals.com website until August 2017
Source of images, unless otherwise stated - Suter family archives