After a two-month summer hiatus the drivers were back in action this weekend in the Dix Mille Tours du Castellet. The gentlemen drivers were divided up in the different classes of the nine grids and showed that they had lost none of their flair for putting a spectacle!
The entrants in the Peter Auto historic races stopped at the beginning of July, just a tad fatigued, and they returned this weekend fit and tanned in fighting form. The comparison between Le Mans Classic and the Dix Mille Tours isn’t accidental as the event in the Var expands every year. This year all the records were beaten once again with 15 000 spectators in the grandstands (12 000 in 2017) and 298 racing cars on the track (240 in 2017)! In addition to quantity, quality was also present with emblematic cars in the history of motor sport like the Maserati 300 S (1955), Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta (1960), Shelby Cobra Daytona (1965), Ford GT 40 (1968), BMW 3.0 CSL (1975), Porsche 935 K3 (1980), Mercedes C11 (1989), Peugeot 905 (1993). And more!
While the designation “collection” is only granted for road-going cars when they are 30 years old, everything goes much quicker in racing where value doesn’t wait for a number of years to elapse. Take Peugeot for example which disappeared from endurance at the end of 2011. That already seems ages ago so rare are the occasions to see the fabulous 908s in action. Spectators at the Dix Mille Tours were lucky enough to see one of the French prototypes running as it shared the track with other modern cars like the Ferrari 333 SP (1997), Dodge Viper GTS-R (2002) and the Maserati MC12 (2004), which were part of the twenty or so cars in Global Endurance Legends, a new demonstration grid that was putting on a show for the fourth and last time this year after Spa-Classic, Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or and Le Mans Classic. We’ll certainly see them again next year as they stirred up a lot of enthusiasm, especially among the younger generation. Watch this space!
The sky, the sun and the track
The Dix Mille Tours has been on the calendar of Peter Auto events since 2010 and it’s one that the entrants particularly look forward to because of the quality of the Paul Ricard circuit infrastructures, and the technical challenge posed by its layout. The wide run-off areas that line the track enable the drivers – whether experienced or not – to really go flat out at the wheel of cars of great historical value. This comment is also valid for the owners of collector cars. In addition to the racing cars 400 automobiles of all kinds – sporting, popular, luxurious – from all eras transformed the event into an open air museum under blue skies over the three days. The conditions were ideal for a stroll in the paddocks open to spectators , a rare privilege in our present epoch!
For once the Dix Mille Tours didn’t bring down the curtain on the season of series by Peter Auto. The Var classic was held earlier than usual and the final round of historic races will take place at Imola in Italy in eight-weeks time.