Nine days to until 2 Tours d’Horloge renaissance

Nine days to until 2 Tours d’Horloge renaissance

Just another nine days to go and we’ll be only a few hours away from the start of the 2 Tours d’Horloge. This edition will have a special meaning as it signals the renaissance of this competition that’s unique in its kind.

Seven years after it disappeared from the sporting calendar, the 2 Tours d’Horloge is being revived and will write a new chapter in its history. It is again being held on the history-packed Paul Ricard circuit, now host to the French F1 Grand Prix, on which the last running of the event took place.

The 2 Tours d’Horloge, the only race in the world reserved for historic competition cars, was eagerly-awaited by all its fans last autumn when the event was supposed to take place. Finally, it was postponed until November 2021 because of the health measures put in place by the government to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thanks to Eric Van de Vyver’s (himself a driver) obstination this event saw the light of day in 1992 and because of its concept and philosophy it was an immediate success. It quickly became a not-to-be-missed rendezvous for both French and foreign teams, passionate fans of endurance, and was held for seven years on the Paul Ricard circuit first of all before moving to the Spanish Ricardo Tormo track near Valencia in 1999, then to the Nevers Magny-Cours F1 layout before returning to Paul Ricard for its last two editions in 2012 and 2014.



In keeping with the mixing of categories typical of the great endurance races, gentlemen drivers and professionals will share the wheel of GTs, touring cars and sport prototypes. V de V Sports organised a preparatory race, the 6 Hours of Magny-Cours on 14-15-16 May, which some crews used to hone their skills and cars for the 2 Tours d’Horloge. Among the drivers were figures from the world of sport like Jean-Claude Andruet and Henri Leconte. The former tennis player (winner of the Davis Cup in 1991, finalist in the French International Tournament in 1988, and winner of the men’s doubles in Roland Garros in 1984), is a lover of motor sport and he would not have missed the renaissance of this event in which he is one the most faithful participants for anything in the world. He will be on the grid on Saturday 6th November at 15:00 in a TVR Griffith 200 shared with Eric and Guillaume Van de Vyver and Patrick Brossard.

Also on the grid will be a big name from international motor sport as the Chateaux Sport Auto team will have Belgian Freddy Loix in its ranks. The 4-time Belgian Rally Champion from 2013 to 2016 and former works driver for different manufacturers in the WRC (Toyota, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Peugeot) and in the IRC (Skoda) will share the wheel of a Grac MT-14 B with Axel De Ferran and Bernard Zimmer.

The list of the 34 crews entered represents drivers from eight countries: Belgium, Monaco, Great Britain, Italy, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Switzerland and France. It obviously includes the names of the winners of the 6 Hours of Magny-Cours starting with the scratch and GT category victors, the Swiss-Belgian lineup of Serge Libens-Damien Kohler-Henrique Gemperle-Marc De Siebenthal-Jean-André Collard in the Porsche 964 RS entered by the Circuit de Dakar/Mansfeld team.
Some crews will come and race “en famille” like Matthieu and Jean-Baptiste Chateaux victorious in the 6 Hours of Magny-Cours in the Tourism category with their BMW 635 CSI. Another BMW will also be entered by a family fired with the same passion for historic racing as their father David Ferrer whose children Alexandre, Jéremy and Sarah will relay one another at the wheel of the 2002 TI in which they raced together in the 2014 edition. And let’s not forget the Huez family, father, daughter and son, at the wheel of their Caterham 1600.

Teams made up of friends will also compete in the event like this lineup of four young drivers who will share the wheel of a BMW 635 with an historic past as it is a real Gr. A car that took part in the European Touring Car Championship, and the Spa 24 Hours driven by Thierry Boutsen. It’s being prepped by the Équipe Europe team and driving it will be the sons of four well-known collectors: Armand Mille (Richard Mille’s son), Max Guenat (Dominique Guenat’s son), Erwin France (Pierre-Alain France’s son) and Guillaume Mahé (Yvan Mahé’s son). Another driver who inherited this passion from his father is Jean-Charles Rédélé, son of the founder of the Alpine brand, who will be competing at the wheel of a Lola T590.

Other cars that marked their era will also be on the grid starting with an authentic Porsche 906 for Italian drivers Silvio Perlino-Mario Sala-Maurizio Fratti as well as a rich selection of other models from the Stuttgart brand. They include the 930 Turbo tuned by Crubile Sport, the two 911 3.0 RSs and the 964 Cup run by the LD Racing outfit and the 911 3.2 and 944 S2 whose team strategy will be entrusted to Alain Cudini (ex-French touring car champion). Also present will be the Ford Racing Expérience team with a Mustang 289 and a Capri RS driven respectively by John Doe (organizer of the 100 Tours), Lionel Robert (driver-journalist) Antoine Robert-Jean-Jacques Paoletti and Frédéric Velay-Jean-Michel Gimenez-Nicolas Thenault-Oscar Arcilla. And, of course, the always eye-catching Marcos Mantis of Alexandre Jaboulet-Vercherre-Jean-Marc Bachelier-Laurent Collin will also be in the mix.

Among the foreign entrants are only two British teams: The aptly-named "Equipe Rosbif" comprising Ross and Nick Hyett, Mike Fry and Chris Snowden in a Tiga 83 as well as the Sleep team with a Shelby Mustang GT350 for Nick Sleep-Joel Wykeham-Alex Montgomery. We were expecting more cross-channel entries as in the past, but many teams had to cry off because of the administrative complications resulting from Brexit!

While the 2 Tours d’Horloge will monopolise a lot of the track time on the weekend of 6 - 7 November, it will leave room for two other events: The 100 Tours and the Legends Car Cup whose races will take place from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon as curtain-raisers for the 24-hour race, which will start at 15:00.

The 100 Tours is an endurance and regularity event open to cars aged 25 years old minimum. The entrants will enjoy one hour’s practice and three hours racing.

The Legends Cars Cup, a one-make formula for cars powered by a 900 cc Yamaha fuel injection engine developing 140 bhp for a weight of 480 kg, promises closely-fought scraps in its three races: two 20-minute heats and one lasting 40 minutes.
The 2 Tours d'Horloge will also be an opportunity for clubs and owners of vintage or sports cars to drive on the Paul Ricard circuit on the Sunday after the race finish (fee: 90 euros/car). Information on the following link :

Free access for the public every day: Xtrem Park and the tribune du Burger grandstand (virage du Pont). Paddock access will be reserved for circuit subscribers.
The 2 Tours d’Horloge will be open to cars from the following groups:

GT Group:
Periods E, F (1947-1965)
Periods G1, G2, H1, H2, I, J1 and J2 (1966-1990)
- Group 3: Series Production GTs
- Group 4: Competition GTs
- Group 5: Groups 1-4 Special Production Cars
- Saloon Cars
- Group B competition GTs

Touring group:
Periods E, F (1947-1965)
Periods G1, G2, H1, H2, I, J1 and J2 (1966-1990)
- Group 1: Series Production Touring Cars
- Group 2: Competition Touring Cars
- Group 5: Groups 1-4 Special Production Touring Cars
- Saloon Cars
- Group N: Series Production Touring Cars
- Group A: Competition Touring Cars

Sports Prototypes Group:
Periods E, F (1947-1965)
Period GR (de 1966-1971)
- SP 1: 2L Sports Prototypes
- SP 2: +2L Sports Prototypes
Period HR (1972-1976)
- SP 3: 2L Sports Prototypes
- SP 4: +2L Sports Prototypes

Sports 2000 until 1986 admission on application, without aerodynamic appendices, complying with SRCC Sports 2000 Historic, SRCC Sports Pinto regulations and appendix 3 of these regulations “Technical criteria Sport 2000.”

Enties include:
Porsche 911 
Porsche 996 GT3 
Porsche 911 SC 
Ford GT40
De Tomaso Pantera
Autobianchi A112
Bailey 917
Lotus Europe
Crosslé 47S
Mini Cooper S
BMW 2500
Ford Mustang 289
Ford Capri RS 1975
Porsche 356
Honda S2000

Images: Courtesy of Hugues Laroche & V de V Sports

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