During summer, various classic car gatherings, competitions, and expeditions take place, evoking the nostalgic scent of burnt gasoline and featuring the thunderous power of 6-cylinder, V8, or V12 engines. These events showcase an array of stunning four-wheeled masterpieces.
The growing interest in classic cars is evident from the statistics provided by most organizers. The recent edition of the renowned Le Mans Classic, a grand retrospective of the iconic 24-Hours race held biennially on the legendary 13-kilometre circuit, achieved a new milestone in attendance. This year, a record-breaking 135,000 spectators were present, marking a 10% increase compared to 2016. The event boasted an impressive lineup, including over 700 historic racing cars, 200 car clubs, and more than 1,000 drivers from 30 countries, including 10 former winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Furthermore, this colossal event encompassed additional elements that contributed to its grandeur. These included an impressive showcase of 8,500 cars, representing 60 distinct automobile brands and marques. Notably, special celebrations were held to commemorate Porsche's 70th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of Alpine's triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The event also featured the renowned Artcurial Motorcars auction, providing enthusiasts with an opportunity to acquire prized vehicles. Additionally, the Concours Le Mans Heritage Club curated a collection of 24 iconic models that played a significant role in shaping the history of the legendary circuit.
The prestigious Concours Le Mans Heritage Club, which brought together 24 specially hand-picked cars that had all taken part in the Le Mans 24 Hours between 1923 and the present. The jury comprising several specialists from the world of the motor car awarded the following prizes:
- Best of Show: Toyota 94 CV (ACO)
- 1st in Class 1923-1939: Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine (Alrika Allameh)
- 1st in Class 1949-1960: Triumph TRS (Mike Otto)
- 1st in Class 1961-1971: Sunbeam Alpine (Justin Harrington)
- 1st in Class 1972-1981: Porsche 930 Turbo (Rolf Sigrist)
- 1st in Class 1982-1991: WM Peugeot P88 (Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS)
- 1st in Class 1992-2018: Toyota 94 CV (ACO)
- F.F.V.E. Prize: Tracta Gephi (ACO)
- F.I.V.A Prize: Simca 8 (Pierre-Olivier Chazette)
- Special ‘Prime Minister’ Prize: WM Peugeot P88 (Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS)
- Special Restoration Prize: Ford GT40 (Eric de Caumont)
- Special Jury Prize: DB Coach Gignoux (Guillaume Waegemaker)
The Concours des Clubs also distributed a number of distinctions, awarding the following prizes:
- 1st Prize: Original Flat 4 Drivers Club (President: Rémi Dargegen)
- 2nd Prize: Amicale Tricyclecariste de France (President: Frédéric Viginier)
- 3rd Prize: Club ‘Qui n’en veut’ (President: Vincent Geslin)
- Special F.F.V.E Prize: Historic Lotus Register (President: Charles Helps)
It’s no coincidence that the name of the official partner – Richard Mille – was highly visible in this colourful tumult. This Swiss watch brand is unique for its ability to combine classic horology with cutting-edge technology. Richard Mille is a passionate enthusiast and collector of classic cars himself, and some of his cars are worth millions. For example, legendary racer Bruce McLaren's first Formula One car, the M2B from 1966. Mille admits that he constantly receives offers to sell it, but he never will, since it is his dream come true. The other residents of his garage, which is set up in an 18th century castle, are no less impressive. For one, there is the Ferrari 312B that won the 1970 Italian Grand Prix and was also driven by Mario Andretti. Experts have valued this car at more than USD 3 million. Other rarities include a 1970 Porsche 917 and a 16-cylinder Formula One racer; meanwhile, he personally loves to drive his Lancia Stratos, a legend of European rally races.
Seizing the occasion, Richard Mille extended invitations to his friends and partners, creating a notable gathering at the event. Among the distinguished guests were Mike Flewitt, the CEO of McLaren Automotive, esteemed Formula E driver Felipe Massa, WRX driver Sébastien Loeb, and renowned football player Didier Drogba. Notably, Didier Drogba had the honor of initiating the start of the thrilling "Little Big Mans" race, a competition where drivers sported short pants, adding an element of excitement and amusement to the event.
Understandably, Richard Mille prepared a wonderful dessert for this select and knowledgeable audience – the very sporty RM 11-03 Le Mans Classic. This is a limited edition of 150 pieces in white ceramic, equipped with the RMAC3 automatic calibre that has a flyback chronograph that can literally flatten the on-track lap timers.
The first RM 11-03 in white ceramic, this new model is characterised by accents in the typical British racing green. Details evoke the world of racing cars: the groove of the pushers recalling the surface of vintage pedals, the precision-machined crown, the Le Mans Classic logo appearing on the dial at 12 o’clock and the number "16" highlighted in red on the 24-hour counter at 6 o’clock, an allusion to the start time of the endurance race. The oversize date display of the annual calendar - with automatic adjustment for months of 30 and 31 days - is placed in a green outlined horizontal aperture under 12 o’clock while a small month display is placed between 4 and 5 o’clock.
On the back, a satin-brushed PVD-treated lower bridge highlights the double barrel mechanism ensuring a power reserve of around 55 hours and the modern lines of the variable-geometry rotor in grade 5 titanium. The 4 Hz (28,800 vph) free sprung balance is highly resistant to shocks and can be tuned more precisely than a traditional balance wheel.
Le Mans Classic 2022 - Film