Grand Prix de Monaco Historique

Cars Culture

The best way to enjoy classic F1?

This year’s Grand Prix de Monaco Historique marked the 11th edition of this prestigious event (May 11-13, 2018) and I was fortunate enough to attend.

I was there with Discovery Channel, to cover the bi-annual racing live for Quest TV. It was a first for the network and attracted a broad audience. It helped that the talent providing the commentary included Drew Pritchard. The TV personality is best known for fronting Quest’s ‘Salvage Hunters’ and ‘Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars’.

But enough of what brought me there, what brought the cars to this year’s Grand Prix de Monaco Historique?

Well, the Historic Department of Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) and the Organizing Committee made three critical decisions for 2018. After a bid by drivers to enter pre-World War II machines, the A-series (put together as a demonstration event in 2016) was brought back as a race. The Monaco Historique was worth it for this gathering of cars alone. Why? Well, the category was to become known as “Formula 1” as soon as the War ended.

The Sport race was also altered to present a panel of the most gorgeous sports cars of the decade immediately after the Second World War. This was done without disregarding vehicles that took part, in 1952, in the Grand Prix de Monaco.

The tiniest single-seaters (F3 and Formula Junior), for which Monaco signified a sort of World Championship, weren’t part of the event this year. It wasn’t a massive issue though as it was clear the ACM wanted to concentrate more on Formula 1, the highpoint of speed racing.

As well as the A-series, more than 180 Grand Prix cars were chosen for both their degree of authenticity and historical value. They entered some challenging races on the Principality of Monaco’s legendary track.

Whether you contemplated the global picture or gave a closer look to the bill of fare: five different starting grids covering the first three decades of the Formula 1 World Championship, 2018’s event was unmissable. It was a unique sight not just for motor racing fans, but also for collectors and nostalgia enthusiasts.

During the two and a half days, it was impossible to miss how competitors shared their passion for high-level racing with thousands of cheering supporters. Even the most cherished vehicles were not housed in museum-like closed rooms; instead, they were engaged in awesome battles against nemeses of old.

The machines were like ghosts of the past that had come back to chase a win on a track that retains 80 per cent of the straight lines and turns that existed in 1929. Indeed, the Monte Carlo circuit still contains some of the most celebrated corners in motorsport.

Lapping the track through Ste Devote, Portier and Tabac at high velocity requires unwavering concentration, talent and perhaps even a ‘Hail Mary’. Just the slightest kiss with the Armco could signify the end – but to triumph in Monaco is the ultimate reward.

For this privilege and for the pure thrill of watching the event take place, drivers, onlookers and TV channels will always want to be there.