The 2018 edition of Le Mans Classic once again shattered previous records in terms of participation and attendance.
At the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe, the organisers of the event, Peter Auto and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, as well as Richard Mille, its main partner, welcomed 135,000 spectators over the course of three days, more than 700 classic cars in competition, 200 automobile clubs, 1,000 drivers representing 30 different nations including 10 winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. An unquestionable success that grown ceaselessly since its creation in 2002.
All the ingredients were present to ensure that this ultimate celebration of automobiles would be well worthy of previous editions: radiant sunshine, 8,500 cars from 60 different brands, celebrations for the 70th anniversary of Porsche and the 40th anniversary of Alpine’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Artcurial Motorcars auction, as well as the Le Mans Heritage Concours, which showcased 24 models that made history on this legendary track.
Richard Mille took this opportunity to invite a number of friends and partners, such as Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive, the future Formula E driver, Felipe Massa, WRX driver Sébastien Loeb and football player Didier Drogba, who gave the start for Little Big Mans, the race for budding drivers.
A hundred or so replicas of endurance vehicles promptly sprang into action on the straight facing the stands as the public cheered them on.
Shortly after, their adult colleagues took to the track, with Grid 1, reserved for pre-war vehicles (1923- 1939) marking the official start of the 9th edition of Le Mans Classic. Sébastien Loeb and Felipe Massa together waved the French flag, signalling that man and machine were free to take on the Le Mans track. Cars in various categories duly lined up on the grids right the way through till the following afternoon at the same time.
Automobiles were the stars of the show, not only on the track, but in the paddocks and the Le Mans village. In one corner, the hammer of Artcurial Motorcars fell to close bidding on a Mercedes Roadster 300 SL at € 3.1 million – a record price. Meanwhile, the Richard Mille side of things featured a new watch, the highly sporty RM 11-03 Le Mans Classic. This 150-piece limited edition in white ceramic is equipped with the RMAC3 automatic calibre that has a flyback chronograph that can literally flatten the on-track lap timers.
One and all will be able to rediscover the “spirit of Le Mans” at the 2020 edition, which will be the 10th for one of the world’s largest historic automobile events!
Fédération de l'industrie horlogère suisse