2018 Le Mans Classic – 9th staging
Down came the curtain on the 2018 Le Mans Classic when the chequered flag fell on the pits straight of the Sarthe track at 4:00pm on Sunday 8th July. Over three days more than 1000 drivers of 30 different nationalities at the wheel of 700 historic racing cars either returned to the big Le Mans circuit or were having their first taste of the famous course.
Besides the figures linked to what was happening out on the circuit, the other numbers speak for themselves: 135 000 spectators, all generations combined, 10 former Le Mans winners, 9 grids plus parades and demonstrations on the track, 8 500 cars from 200 clubs representing 60 makes, the celebrations of Porsche’s 70th anniversary and the 40th of Alpine’s outright victory in the 24 Hours, as well as 200 exhibitors. Add to these the Artcurial Motorcars’ auction, the Le Mans Heritage Club concours, Little Big Mans, and a whole lot more so that this major celebration of the motor car follows in the same vein as the previous events. This was confirmed throughout this grandiose weekend enjoyed by all those present.
Besides the nine grids that did battle out on the track at this motor car festival, the major novelty of 2018 was the presence of Global Endurance Legends making their debut at the event. This brought Le Mans Classic into a new era, that of the GT1s and LM P1s of the 1990s and 2000s. It was an unforgettable high-speed parade of fabulous cars like the Audi R8, Bentley Speed 8, Peugeot 908 HDi, the Pescarolo 01 (driven by Henri Pescarolo himself), Toyota GT-One, Alpine A460, Ferrari 333 SP, McLaren F1 GTR, Maserati MC12, Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Venturi, Saleen S7-R, Panoz Esperante, etc.
But the most memorable moments didn’t all take place on the track! The Artcurial Motorcars’ auction conducted by Maître Hervé Poulain accompanied by Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff set a new record on its fifth time at Le Mans Classic. The star of this auction was the Mercedes-Benz make, in particular lot 39: a 300 SL Roadster from 1963 with only 1 380 km on the clock. It was sold for 3 143 000 €, more than double its estimation!
Le Mans Classic is co-organised by Peter Auto and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. Once again, it aroused the enthusiasm of collectors and spectators alike who flocked to the circuit in ever greater numbers to take advantage of this unique opportunity to drive on the big circuit and marvel at the variety of cars entered.
Patrick Peter (founder of Peter Auto): “The ninth staging has shown a big step forward in terms of attendance figures. The entrants, the public and all the players in the event have also told us how satisfied they are. We’re managing to develop Le Mans Classic and renew and complete our programme to offer the public new activities and events each time we put on the event. This year, the arrival of the Global Endurance Legends enabled us to extend our retrospective of the Le Mans 24 Hours to 2016 thus meeting the expectations of a younger public. We gave visitors to Le Mans Classic the opportunity to experience 93 years of the history of the greatest endurance race in the world, as well as a privileged opportunity to get up close to the historic cars and their drivers.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Obviously, the success of the 9th staging of Le Mans Classic is a huge source of satisfaction and pride and an immense pleasure for us as co-organisers of the meeting. The enthusiasm of all these entrants, these collectors, exhibitors and above all the many spectators who come to see these cars that have taken part in the Le Mans 24 Hours, or in endurance events in general, is proof that the legend of this branch of motor sport and this iconic race is still alive and kicking. This success reinforces us in our mission at the ACO on a daily basis: namely, to continue in the same vein and boost the history of the 24 Hours in the present and in the future.”