It was wonderful to be back in charismatic Monte Carlo for the Monaco GP Historique. This was the 13th and I must have been to about the last 10, with the exception of last year’s when it was well nigh impossible for Brits to attend.
Above: Nicola von Dönhoff leans into the chicane in her Bugatti Type 51
The formula was unchanged with historic Formula 1 cars dominating the eight-race programme. Contrasting with those for post-war single-seaters were events for pre-war racers and voiturettes, and for sports racers, commemorating the fact that the Monaco Grand Prix was, in 1952, run for just such machines. I have to admit that it was these two races that stirred the blood most for me although the sound of the F1 cars reverberating off the walls on Monte Carlo’s buildings was pretty special.
Above: Stuart Hall in the McLaren M19A
Maseratis dominated the entry list for the sports car race with no less than 11 entered, breaking down as five examples of the A6GCS, the same number of 300S models and a lone 250S. Surprisingly, there were just two Ferraris, a 750 Monza and the closed 225S piloted by David Franklin.
Above: A very composed David Franklin at the wheel of a Ferrari 225S
Above: Lukas Halusa leads Guillermo Fierro-Eleta, both driving a Maserati 300S
A brace of delectable DB3S Astons, a trio of Frazer-Nashes, a pair of Connaughts and single examples of Lotus, Kieft and Veritas also took to the streets. The remainder were Jaguar-engined with three C-types – often victorious at this event in the past – an HWM, three Cooper-Jaguars (one Mark 1 and two Mark 2s) and the fabulous ex-Works D-type, OKV 1.
Above: Fred Wakeman in his Cooper-Jaguar T38 followed all the way by Lukas Halusa’s Maserati 300S
From qualifying, it looked as though the front-runners would be the 300S Masers, the ‘D’ and the Cooper-Jaguar of Fred Wakeman which was on pole. And so it proved to be. Wakemen led from start to finish but he could not relax for a moment because he was pressed throughout by Lukas Halusa in the quickest 300S. He in turn was chased hard by Guillermo Fierro-Eleta in another 300S. Fourth, not far back, was Lukas’s brother Niklas in the D-type.
Above: The famous Works D-type Jaguar driven by Niklas Halusa to fourth place.
Above: Martin Halusa and his Bugatti Type 35B in a hurry.
Father, Martin, had raced his Bugatti Type 35B earlier in the day. His fabulous collection includes the Breadvan and Alfa T33 on which we have published books and the Audi R8 that Ian Wagstaff is just completing a book on in our Great Cars series.
Above: Two of the greats, Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx share a moment.
It was great to see Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell together in the paddock, both looking very fit. The current era was represented by Max Verstappen who wandered around on Saturday afternoon and Charles Leclerc who demonstrated an ex-Lauda 312B Ferrari but had the embarrassment of colliding with the barriers at Rascasse when the brakes failed.
This is a unique event I thoroughly recommend. It has style, atmosphere, good racing and, above all, a fabulous selection of serious racing cars. Alas, we all have to wait until 2024 for the next one.
Other articles by Philip Porter
All images by Philip Porter