Vintage cars pay homage to French Grand Prix

9th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

LE MANS, France, June 8, 2006 (AFP) - Rare vintage cars are to ply the route of the very first French Grand Prix on Sunday in an event here helping to mark celebrations for the centenary of the race.

LE MANS, France, June 8, 2006 (AFP) - Rare vintage cars are to ply the route of the very first French Grand Prix on Sunday in an event here helping to mark celebrations for the centenary of the race.

Among those cars, which are travelling to western Le Mans from around the world, is a 1906 Darracq 4B which took part in the first race here to be called a Grand Prix 100 years ago. On Sunday, the car, which has made the journey from New Zealand, will test its mettle along the same route as in 1906.

"This was the course which sparked the germ of the idea of the Le Mans 24 Hours," said Patrick Chailloux, from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) motoring club which took over organising the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1923.

The real Le Mans 24 Hours will be held the following weekend on June 17 and 18, with organisers hoping to beat previous attendance records, after 232,000 people flocked to see the race last year, the largest crowd since 1974.

"In the last four years the revenues from sponsors have risen some 65 percent. Four years ago the French television rights were virtually free. This year, Canal + had to fight against France Television to win them," he added.

This year interest will be sparked by Audi who will be hoping to be the first to win the race with a diesel engine.

Official Formula One celebrations for the centenary of the French Grand Prix, which has been staged in Magny-Cours since 1991, will be held in July.

They include a concert by Roger Waters, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, with the band's drummer Nick Mason — a committed motor racing fan — who will perform the British group's 1970s album Dark Side of the Moon on July 14, Bastille Day.

Traditionally held at the start of July this year's race has been moved to July 16 to avoid clashing with the World Cup finals in Germany which ends on July 9.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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