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Richard Mille - Le Mans Classic 2018, a record edition in every way

Richard Mille Le Mans Classic 2018, a record edition in every way

Attendance climbed 10% with 135,000 spectators at last weekend event.

From July 6-8, At the Circuit de la Sarthe, the organisers of the event, Peter Auto and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, as well as Richard Mille, its main partner, welcomed 135,000 spectators over the course of three days, over 700 classic cars in competition, 200 automobile clubs, 1,000 drivers — including 10 winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans—representing 30 different nations. 

All the ingredients were present to ensure that this ultimate celebration of automobiles would be well-worthy of previous editions: radiant sunshine, 8,500 cars from 60 different brands, celebrations for the 70th anniversary of Porsche and the 40th anniversary of Alpine’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Artcurial Motorcars auction, the Le Mans Heritage Concours, which showcased 24 models that made history on this legendary track.

Meanwhile, the Richard Mille side of things featured a new watch, the highly sporty RM 11-03 Le Mans Classic.

Le Mans Classic 2018, a record edition in every way

RM 11-03 Le Mans Classic © Richard Mille

In addition to the traditional grids 1 through 6, and Group C, representing Le Mans racing cars from 1923 to 1993, the new Global Endurance Legends grid introduced a new era into Le Mans Classic, the GT1s and other LMP1s of the 1990s and 2000s. With this demonstration grid, the event now widens its retrospective view of the 24 Hours of Le Mans to 2016.

Richard Mille took this opportunity to invite a number of friends and partners, such as Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive, the future Formula E driver, Felipe Massa, WRX driver Sébastien Loeb and football player Didier Drogba, who gave the start for Little Big Mans— the race for drivers in short pants—on Saturday at 3.30 pm. 

Their adult colleagues took to the track at 4.00 pm, with Grid 1, reserved for pre-war vehicles (1923- 1939) marking the official start of the 9th edition of Le Mans Classic. Sébastien Loeb and Felipe Massa together waved the French flag, signalling that man and machine were free to take on the Le Mans track. The grids would follow one another in lining up until the following afternoon at the same time.

Automobiles were the stars of the show, not only on the track, but in the paddocks and the Le Mans village. In one corner, the hammer of Artcurial Motorcars fell to close bidding on a Mercedes Roadster 300 SL at €3.1 million—a record price—elsewhere, at the DPPI boutique in the village, the public was invited to preview a new book, Car Racing 1965, volume 1, published by the Éditions Cercle d’Art and the agency DPPI Images. This handsome tome brings together a selection of photographs, captured on the road and track, from the famous agency’s unpublished archives.

Le Mans Classic 2018, a record edition in every way

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