No fewer than 9 races, from eight in the morning to six in the evening, with the most beautiful cars in history on the Montecarlo Grand Prix racing circuit. On the exact same circuit, visitors had the chance to drive the Lotus 25 or a Ferrari F40 behind the wheel of an eClassic simulator.
A weekend without a single dull moment, what with the Bugattis, pre-war Maseratis, front-engined Formula 1s from the 50s with Cooper, Lotus and Ferrari still reluctant to place the engine behind the driver, and then the Formula 1 cars as we all know them today, all of them in a series of classes that allowed spectators to recognize the cars once driven by the most famous champions. And that’s not all: despite not being particularly at ease on the Monegasque circuit, there was also Jaguar C- and D-Types, an Aston Martin DB3S, a Ferrari 750 Monza and a Maserati 300S in a race between the great sports rivals from a bygone Le Mans era. This truly spectacular wonder was brought to the track by collectors who proved they were just as good as the professional drivers. All with the fantastic sound of their 6-, 8- and 12-cylinder engines finally completely free to liberate those pent-up horses in all their glory.
Meanwhile over in the eClassic lounge of the Grimaldi Forum, another challenge was underway, this time on simulators, on the circuit from the 60s, in many ways even more demanding than today’s track.
The large audience was the best confirmation of just how deeply rooted the memory of those drivers who fought for the world title is here in Monaco, as is the memory of their cars. Drivers who, some at the wheel, others as spectators, animated the paddock, from Max Verstappen to Mika Hakkinen, from Nigel Mansell to Jacky Ickx, from Thierry Boutsen to Emanuele Pirro, from Derek Bell to Charles Leclerc himself behind the wheel of Niki Lauda’s famous Ferrari 312 T with a firework in the end.
The charm of Monaco, two weeks away from the Formula 1 Grand Prix, reappeared unchanged after two years of cancellations and limitations. And the drivers, both of the cars and the simulators, managed to put on a show that is always new and exciting, even if they drove cars which, incorrectly, many expect to see in in museums.
Photo credit: ACM, Olivier Caenen
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