With the sun struggling to emerge from overcast skies at the famous Montlhéry track south of Paris, the grumble of exhausts echoed round the enclosure as our veterans readied up for an unforgettable demonstration spanning 115 years of motor sport, to thrill the audience with what was a truly remarkable performance given the rather advanced age of some of the vehicles.
The show opened with Nervasport, ably seconded by Renault 40 CV and the Étoile Filante!
Nervasport, which dates to the nineteen-thirties, averaged a speed of 168 km/h, with top speed of over 200 km/h :
The Étoile Filante, from the nineteen-fifties, reached 308.85 km/h during one of its laps round the speed ring :
Renault 4 CV, Renault Dauphine and Renault 5 Alpine, to name just a few, followed up around the track :
Renault 4 CV
Renault 5 Alpine
Renault 8 Gordini
At the trackside we’d hear enthusiastic comments from the lucky few who’d had a chance to actually try out some of the cars at the event: “Extraordinary!”, “Amazing!”.
Renault Type AK
Renault 5 Turbo
The show closed with Alpine A442 B, winner of the 1978 Le Mans 24-Hour event, driven by none other than Jean Ragnotti in person. French racing driver Jeannot, as he’s known, boasts an enviable track record including nine French championship titles and three rally victories at Monte Carlo and the Tour de Corse.
Jean Ragnotti at the wheel of Alpine A442 B
Alpine A442 B
• Located in the Essonne region south of Paris
• Built in 1924
• Designed by architect Raymond Jamin
• Speed ring distance 2.5 km
• 13 bends (with 51° incline)
• A 20th Century Heritage site (official label set up in 1999 by the French Ministry of Culture to denote exceptional architectural and urban planning developments forming part of the cultural heritage of the 20th century)