All weekend the Paul Ricard circuit and its famous Mistral straight echoed to the melodious sound of old engines. This delighted the crowd of over 12 000 spectators who enjoyed good weather as they witnessed a moveable feast of both historic car racing and the history of the motor car.
The 5th Dix Mille Tours attracted over 12 000 people confirming its status as a must-attend historic event. Racing there was in plenty but it wasn’t everything. Some 600 collectors’ cars (clubs and individual owners) came to join the 260 racers, as well as some 20 exhibitors in the village that included such varied and prestigious brands as Zenith watches, Alain Figaret clothing, Spark models, etc. Visitors were allowed into the general enclosure free of change where they were able to test one of the DSs on hand, and take a seat in grandstands to see the races as the real spectacle was out on the track!
As at Spa-Classic in May and the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or in June the four Peter Auto grids were present. Classic Endurance Racing with some 90 cars split up into two grids confirmed the success it has enjoyed for over 10 years. The circuit in the Var hosted its first race for sports prototypes 40 years ago, and back on the French track were some of the cars that had raced in that era like the Chevron B16, the Lola T70 and Porsche 908s. Gérard Larrousse, who had driven there in 1974, was at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR in the legendary Martini Racing colours. On Sunday Goethe-Hall won in their Lola T70 Mk III B in CER 1 while Dominique Guenat in his Lola T286 triumphed in CER2.
In a very different register, the Heritage Touring Cup paid homage to the long tradition of events for touring cars on the Paul Ricard circuit, where they had done battle in the hands of some of the great names in motor racing like Graham Hill in 1971 or Sébastien Loeb this season. During the weekend there was a fantastic scrap between legendary machines like the Rover TWR Vitesse, the Ford Capri and the BMW 3.0 CSL, which came out on top in the hands of Jean-Claude Basso.
The round of the 60s Endurance was, as its name indicates, the only long-distance event of the Dix Mille Tours. It attracted no fewer than 68 pre-1966 cars. After a race full of upsets Michel Lecourt and Raymond Narac took the flag in first place in their 1964 Shelby Cobra.
In the Italian pre-1966 Sport and GT event the drivers did battle respecting the strict sporting rules of the Trofeo Nastro Rosso as the value of the cars involved required a certain on-track conduct. However, this did not prevent Carlos Monteverde, Gary Pearson and Michael Erlich from going at it hammer and tongs with the first two winning on Saturday in a Ferrari 250 LM and the second (alone) on Sunday in a Bizzarrini 5300 GT.
In addition to its usual four in-house grids Peter Auto brought along a field of stunning Group C Racing prototypes. As well as hitting the magic 300 km/h mark Katsu Kubota in his 1990 Nissan R90 CK lapped the circuit in 1m 51.696sec, a time that had little to envy that of modern prototypes!
The little 1600 cc engines in U2TC were given a hammering on the 1.8- km Mistral straight. The outcome of the fight for victory between Stippler-Shaw and singleton driver Alex Furani was decided in the twisty sections, and it was the latter who won in his Alfa Romeo Giulia by a short head!
The Dix Mille Tours closed the Peter Auto season. With the exception of the entrants in Classic Endurance Racing who will be competing in the Algarve Classic Festival in Portugal in two weeks, the next meeting on the calendar for historic fans is the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo celebrating its 25th anniversary in six months time, and it already looks like being a cracking event. In the meantime Peter Auto will be present as usual at Rétromobile on February 4-8 February 2015 in Paris (Porte de Versailles)