The streets of Monaco
First held in 1929, the annual Monaco Grand Prix is considered one of the most prestigious races on the calendar. The temporary track runs on the streets of the small Principality, which are lined on one side by exclusive shops and restaurants and by a harbour filled with spectacular yachts. In this spectacular arena the world's finest drivers have excelled. The likes of Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Ayrton Senna have all displayed their raw talent on the challenging track. With such a rich history, it is hardly surprising that the streets of Monaco also host a historic event. Originally a one-off event in 1997, the Monaco Historic Grand Prix has been a bi-annual fixture on the calendar since 2000. Although it is thoroughly enjoyed by the spectators, the event above all provides the current owners of the historic racing cars a very rare opportunity to race at Monaco. One of the similarities with the contemporary Grands Prix is the fact that the same names always appear on the sharp end of the field. In only the seventh edition of the event American Duncan Dayton, for example, was chasing his 10th victory in 2010. Among the challengers in the two classes he competed were other former winners like Frank Sytner and Joaquin Folch-Rossinol. In addition to the activities on the track, further action was provided by various auction houses, who held high profile sales in Monaco during the weekend.
Our photographers travelled to the Mediterranean shore to capture all the races and two of the auctions. The 230 best shots have made it into our exclusive gallery
, which includes 20 shots of every one of the eight classes.
For many years, starting long before the first Historic Grand Prix, Monaco has been the venue of a Bonhams (formerly Brooks) auction. This year, however, the British auctioneer was utterly overshadowed by RM Auctions and their inaugural Sporting Classics of Monaco sale. The 105 cars entered in the new auction were displayed in the imposing Grimaldi Forum, located near the entrance of the track's famous tunnel. The Canadian company's specialists had managed to consign some very impressive machinery, including a complete collection of Rolls-Royces and a selection of the huge stable of the late John M. O'Quinn. With the exception perhaps of the unique BMW 328 'Buegelfalte' Roadster, the estimates and reserves reflected the current market very well. This proved instrumental in the 86% sell through and a spectacular total result of just over 33 million Euro, which represents a new world record for a one-day auction.
At 2.8 million Euro, the highest price of the sale was payed for a beautifully restored Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet. Further seven figure sales included a Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage (2.46 million Euro), a Figoni & Falaschi bodied Delahaye 135 MS Competition (1.79 million Euro), a very unusual Rolls-Royce Phantom II (nearly 1.5 million Euro) and several other Ferraris. Bidding on the aforementioned and much hyped BMW 328 stopped at 4 million Euro, which was not enough to reach the reserve, which most likely was closer to 5 million Euro. The high bidder and vendor did manage to reach an agreement but the exact amount involved has not been revealed.
With a gross result of 3 million Euro, the Bonhams 'Les Grandes Marques a Monaco' sale failed to grab the headlines. RM have clearly raised the bar considerably and a lot of work will be required on the part of Bonhams and the other European auction houses to catch up.
Cars of note
The added attraction of Monaco usually convinces some owners to bring out something really special. That label certainly applied to the CTA Arsenal entered by Josef Otto Rettenmaier on behalf of its German owner. There is nothing to be ashamed about if the name does not immediately ring a bell as the car was only entered for two races immediately after the Second World War with dismal results. It is not so much the performance but the engineering that makes this French Grand Prix machine stand out. Some of the solutions applied were well ahead of its time but most were just odd. Like several other cars built in this period, including the BRM V16, the CTA Arsenal was just too complicated to ever work well. The example entered in Monaco is believed to be the sole survivor and it remains in remarkably original condition. It was finally returned to running only a few weeks before the event and tested for only a few hundred metres on public road before a policeman intervened. There were further problems with the event's authorities, which stopped the car from taking part in the first practice session of its class. Fortunately a solution was reached and the car took to the track for the first time since 1947 during the second qualifying session. Rettenmaier managed to clock a very reasonable time but ultimately decided not to race the car on Sunday as he did not fully trust the brakes. Hopefully the car will be sorted further and make more appearances. We also learned that a British enthusiast planned to enter the equally quaint 'SEFAC' Grand Prix car but the restoration work was not completed in time.
For nearly four decades now the Donnington Collection has housed some of the world's finest Grand Prix cars. In recent years the Wheatcroft family have been quietly letting some of the cars in the vast collection go. Two of these made their Monaco Historic Grand Prix debut this year. Gary Pearson raced the ex-Donnington Collection Cooper T60 in the pre-1966 mid-engined Grand Prix car class. This was the very car used by Bruce McLaren to win the 1962 Monaco Grand Prix, which was also Cooper's only win the 1.5 litre era. Even though the car had not been fully sorted yet and was spitting out black smoke in all sessions, Pearson managed to climb to third in the race. Unfortunately he was black flagged as the stewards erroneously believed he was spilling oil on the track. Former Formula 1 driver and 1970 Le Mans winner Richard Attwood was out in a Brabham BT26, which was also part of the Donnington Collection. This particular car was originally driven quite successfully by Belgian Jacky Ickx, who once again served as the event's course director. He used it to win the 1969 German Grand Prix and also placed it second in the British Grand Prix that year. Attwood could not repeat those results due to a snapped driveshaft.
Of similar vintage is Chris MacAllister's Lotus 49, which is the very chassis used by Jim Clark at the type's victorious debut during the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix. The car was subsequently sold to American Pete Lovely in 49B specification as a new car. Only recently the origin's of the car were uncovered while still in Lovely's ownership. Upon acquiring the car, MacAllister sent it to Classic Team Lotus for a complete rebuilt, which reportedly took 1500 man hours. That certainly showed in the end result.
For the first time ever, Formula 3 cars were added to the Historic Grand Prix program. Not one but two groups filled the slot usually reserved for the earlier Formula Junior cars and provided the event's biggest grids. The first group was for the first generation Formula 3 cars with 1 litre engines, used between 1964 and 1970. Swiss historic racer Christian Traber beat a fleet of Tecnos in his Brabham BT21 to take the victory after grabbing the lead before the first corner. During the following three seasons the displacement limit was raised to 1.6 litre, which were subsequently replaced by 2 litre cars in 1974. These two types of cars ranging in vintage from 1971 to 1984 lined up in the second Formula 3 group. The 10-lap race was won from pole by five-time Le Mans winner Emmanuele Pirro. He used an Alfa Romeo Martini similar to the car he used during the 1980 and 1981 season.
In the race for the pre-War Grand Prix cars Julian Bronson repeated his 2008 win in the R4D ERA, which is the furthest developed of all ERA racing cars. Uniquely the other places on the podium were also clinched by ex-works ERAs, painted in the official black livery. After several unsuccessful attempts American James King finally managed to win the pre-1966 Formula 1 race in his ex-Dan Gurney Brabham. Starting from pole, he was out-dragged to the first corner by Roger Wills in a larger engined but earlier Cooper. The Moscow based Kiwi could sadly not defend his lead after he skidded into the barrier on oil deposited by another competitor. He damaged the front suspension of the car but fortunately not too seriously. In the only sports car race of the weekend Brazilian Carlos Monteverde bravely fought off a serious challenge from Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica to take the final win of the weekend in his recently acquired Jaguar C-Type. Bobby Verdon-Roe made up for his disastrous debut two years ago when he smashed his McLaren M26 into the wall at high speed in the tunnel in the very first session by winning the 15-lap race for the 1975 - 1978 Formula 1 cars with a commanding lead.
That leaves the two races, which Duncan Dayton both needed to win to set a new record of ten victories in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. It did not start particularly well in the first one, for 1950s front-engined Formula 1 cars. He did manage to set the fastest lap in the first qualifying session but was forced to stop halfway through with mechanical problems. This allowed to Joaquin Folch-Rossinol in a similar Lotus 16 and Tony Smith in the gloriously howling Ferrari 246 Dino F1 to get ahead in the second session. His mechanics worked all night to get the car ready and a good start and subsequent race provided Dayton with win number nine. In the race for 1967 - 1974 Formula 1 cars, Dayton also did not start from the pole position; he had been outpaced in qualifying by Frank Sytner in his ex-James Hunt Hesketh 308. Driving his familiar Brabham BT33, Dayton managed to get by Sytner in only the second lap of the race to grab the lead. A safety car period did not affect the eventual outcome as Dayton scored his 10th win, making him the most successful driver in the history of the event.
At the risk of stating the obvious; there is no event quite like the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. Aside from the slightly lower grid numbers, this year's edition was another resounding success. Relatively few accidents happened and fortunately all drivers managed to walk away unharmed. The 2010 Monaco Historic Grand Prix will however most likely be remembered best for the staggering result achieved by RM Auctions on Saturday evening.