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2018 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or
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Introduction
First held in 1966, the annual Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or is the oldest historic racing meeting in the world. Since 2014, the event organisation is in the hands of the Peter Auto organisation. Accordingly, the event roster today consists of all the familiar grids of sports cars, single seaters and touring cars seen at the French organiser's other events. The exception this year was the Group C grid, which does star at the other Peter Auto events during the 2018 season. Another difference from the earlier editions was the absence of additional grids with Grand Prix cars that traditionally formed part of the Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or line-up. What did form part of the event this year was the Global Endurance Legends high speed demonstration, which brought cars like the Ferrari 333 SP and Porsche 911 GT2 back on track.
As always, our photographers ventured to the French Bourgogne area to capture the event in its entirety. The result of their efforts is this class-by-class 240-shot gallery.

Sixties' Endurance
As always, Saturday's action came to a close with the two-hour Sixties' Endurance race. As summer was fast approaching, the race did not run into the sunset but what did not change was the dominance of the Shelby Cobras. In qualifying, it was Philipp Oettli who started from pole position ahead of Christophe van Riet, the winner of the opening two rounds of the season. His fastest time was taken away due to a track limit infringement. Oettli grabbed the lead at the start but struggled with his cold brakes and had to let Van Riet through. The Belgian historic racing ace did not look back and cruised to victory, ultimately leading by 53 seconds at the finish despite several safety car periods. Oettli crossed the line in second, while Martin Stretton was third in a Jaguar E-Type. After the race, he was adamant that with a little more work the Jaguar he was entrusted with could actually challenge the Cobras. Another car that should be fast enough was the very rare Elva GT160 but gambling with rain tyres cost the team dearly. Placing an impressive eighth overall, the diminutive Lotus Eleven of Markus Jörg won the Index Performance.

Heritage Touring Cup
Quite possibly, the most colourful grid of the weekend was the Heritage Touring Cup (HTC) for the 1970s and 1980s Touring Cars. The one-hour race is so popular that drivers come from as far as Hong Kong and Australia to compete. Strictly speaking, the HTC is for cars that comply with the regulations of the 1970s and 1980s as quite a few cars have been built to correct spec much later. Fortunately, there are still many genuine cars like a superb selection of Ford Escorts and an ex-works, 24-valve BMW 3.0 CSL. Leading the way during qualifying was Christian Traber in a BMW built to the aforementioned specifications with a very rare 24-valve, 3.5-litre straight six engine. With no GAA powered Capris entered this time, there were few to really rival Traber's mighty BMW. The Swiss racer did, however, not get the best start was beaten to the first corner by the much smaller Ford Escort shared by Guy Fabrice Mestrot and Eric Sechaud. Traber quickly rectified the situation and grabbed the victory ahead of two Escorts. The winner in Group A was Armand Mille in a BMW 635 CSi. Unfortunately not making it to the finish was Geoff Gordon, who debuted his new and three-wheeling Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint Veloce.

Classic Endurance Racing
The two Classic Endurance Racing (CER) races headlined the meeting. The CER1 field was particularly strong, packed with a wide variety of machinery. Our eye was caught by the psychedelic Porsche 911 ST that was reunited with Gerard Larousse. The French ace had famously driven this very car to third overall in the 1970 Tour de France, beating only by a pair of Matra prototypes. Reportedly, this was the lightest Porsche 911 racing car ever built. Not quite competitive in this field, the Historika restored 911 ST did not factor in the race despite the best efforts of Larousse and his co-driver Oliver Bryant. Instead the GT1 class victory went to Detlef von der Lieck and Ralf Kelleners in the former's freshly repaired DeTomaso Pantera. At the sharp end of the field, it was 2017 champion Philipp Bruehwiler, who proved both fast and flawless in his Chevron B19. He managed to distance a trio of much more powerful Lola T70s by over 30 seconds during the one-hour race that featured several safety car periods. Top honours in CER2 went to Dominique Guenat after a beautiflly controlled drive in his familiar Lola T286.

Final thoughts
Despite the changeable conditions, which saw thunder on Saturday afternoon and more predicted for Sunday, around 15,000 spectators flocked to the undulating French circuit for the 2018 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or. They were treated to a great show and strong fields even though the event was held right in between the popular Spa Classic and Le Mans Classic for which some decided to save their cars. All of the weekend's action can be found in our comprehensive 240-shot gallery.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com