The 53rd Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or, which took place from June 9th – 11th on the Dijon-Prenois circuit, fulfilled all its promise starting with ideal weather conditions that helped attract a large crowd.
This year 15.000 people flocked to the meeting continuing the progressive increase in spectators, a reward for the organiser Peter Auto for the numerous improvements made to the event since the company took it over again in 2014. The Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or, the oldest race of its kind in Europe in the domain of historic competitions, offered an action-packed programme with ten grids and 16 races retracing the history of motor sport from post-war single-seaters to the Group C cars of the 1980s.
Among the many amazing cars was Xavier Michon’s 1968 Howmet TX entered for the Classic Endurance Racing grid. It was the first turbine-powered car to win a race and the first one to bear the name of its sponsor, a turbine manufacturer for the aerospace industry: only two of these American sports prototypes were built. The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association grid 1 was also a magnet for enthusiasts as it attracted four Maserati 250Fs, the car in which Juan Manuel Fangio won his fifth Formula 1 World Championship title in 1957. Another jewel in this field was the Ferrari 246 baptised the Dino in homage to the designer of its engine, Alfredo Dino Ferrari, the Commendatore’s son who died in 1956.
On the list of drivers was a name that nobody could possibly forget, and for good reason, as it’s one that will forever be associated with the history of the Dijon-Prenois circuit – René Arnoux. He was invited to drive a Shelby Cobra 289 and a BMW M1 and recalled the unforgettable duel between himself and Gilles Villeneuve in the 1979 French Grand.
This year the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or wasn’t just about historic cars. Also on the programme were some of the jewels from the world of aviation which added excitement to the skies over the circuit on Saturday afternoon. The star of this air show was a 1945 Spitfire powered by a Rolls-Royce engine putting out more than 2000 horsepower. It was a redoubtable fighter plane used by the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain and helped the Allies to win the Second World War. There was also a Sea Fury from 1949 in the colours of the Royal Australian Navy, which flew during the Korean War in particular. And last but not least, a Laird LC-RW300 Speedwing, a two-seater biplane from 1929, the only survivor of the five built by American Company, Laird Aircraft.