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July 17, 2012updated Feb 08, 2013

Improving With Age: Le Mans Classic Turns Ten

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Le Mans, France – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

The Le Mans Classic last weekend celebrated its tenth anniversary, uniting more than 110,000 motorsport fans from around the world on its six-grid Grand Circuit racetrack. The 24 hour track covers 12 kilometers and this year saw 1,000 drivers competing for the prestigious prize.

Drivers included several big names from the motorsport world, six of whom were previous winners of the 24 Heures du Mans competition. Derek Bell and Emanuele Pirro, both of whom have five wins under their belts, were just some of those among the starting line-up, which also included drivers from 30 different nations, and famous French names such as François Fillon. FIA President Jean Todt—accompanied by actress Michelle Yeoh, partner of the Richard Mille brand—made an off-duty appearance to start the race at 4pm on Saturday July 7th.

After 24 hours of racing, the following teams were the first to cross the finish line: Traber/Tenery in Grid 1 (1929/1939) with a Talbot Lago, Gavin Pickering in Grid 2 (1949/1956) with a Jaguar Type D, Wills/Twyman/Pirro in Grid 3 (1957/1961) with a Lotus 15, Voyazides/D’Abel de Libran in Grid 4 (1962/1965) with a Ford GT40, B. Thuner in Grid 5 (1966/1971) with a Lola T70 MKIII and Chris MacAllister in Grid 6 (1972/1979) with a Gulf Mirage.

In addition to the race, a record of more than 170 classic car clubs and 8,000 classic cars attended. Other highlights included a gathering of 23 Ferrari 250 GTOs—out of the 38 constructed—to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary; the Little Big Mans parade of miniature replicas driven by 7 to 12 years-olds; and an auction organised by the Artcurial Auction House and directed by Hervé Poulain in which the rare Ferrari 275 GTC sold for more than 1.5 million euros.

This 6th edition of the event also celebrated the participation of American cars in the 24 Heures du Mans, with tributes paid to the Ford GT40 and its four consecutive victories (1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969), and to the creator of the AC Cobra, Carroll Shelby, who recently passed away. In the Le Mans Heritage Club contest, the Prix d’Excellence also went to an American car: the Cadillac ‘Le Monstre’ created in 1950 by Briggs Cunningham.

During the event, Principal Partner and Official Timekeeper Richard Mille presented two limited edition watches: the RM 011 LMC chronograph and the RM 008 LMC tourbillon chronograph.

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