Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 : a nice success for nice cars

Last week-end, between Spa Classic and Le Mans Classic, race cars from any era were gathered at the Dijon-Prenois circuit for the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016. It was once again a success, but it’s not chance.

Throughout the week, organizers, drivers and audience checked the sky. With the bad weather in France the previous days, it was likely to rain during the weekend. It would be a shame if it did…

Fortunately, the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 nearly avoided all the showers. The sky was grey, but since Friday afternoon, rain was replaced by clouds and a dry track.

Friday the audience was small, but it was a bunch of enthusiasts. There was only a few car in the club area as well. However, it was radically different the next day. Collectors saved the date for the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016. People came to see the Group C cars and the clubs. However, there were less people and cars than last year, due to the weather conditions. “Only” 14,000 people came this year!

The owners who had registered beforehand could drive on the circuit, during club driving sessions. Their speed was far lower than the race cars, but it’s not really usual to drive on the track of Dijon-Prenois.

For the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016, the footbridge leading to the inside of the Parabolique  was open, like the access to the southern part, for the first time in a long while. The audience could go all around the circuit to see the cars.

For those who are curious about the engineering behind those marvelous cars. The paddocks were open to the public. You could see the mechanics work on the cars having issues, or just setting them up.

The main show of the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 is obviously on the track. Let’s start with the most expected group, the Group C cars. Even if some of them did not attend to every session (I could not see the Lancia LC2 race), some played the game. The speed is astonishing and the drivers don’t hesitate to attack. There is hardly any overtaking due to the difference of performance. However the sound of the cars is just staggering. The better demonstration comes from the Peugeot 905 and its engine that could have been in a F1 (the displacement is the same than the V10 F1 engine). Results will come in another post.

The small Formula Junior were not eagerly-awaited. Their aura is quite faint, even if they had some famous beginning drivers behind the wheel. However they provided an enjoyable show, their small size allowing overtaking and their relative grip offering some nice figures.

They were followed by two touring car groups. The first group, U2TC, featured the “small” cars with an engine of less than 2 liter. Minis, Alfa Rome Giulias and Giulia GTs, BMW 1800 and the Ford Lotus Cortinas were still in the first places and still fast! There were a lot of overtakings and it’s not that simple with a car that slides in every corner.

The Heritage Touring Cup gathered cars of bigger displacement, but those were definitely the Queens of touring car championships. The Ford Escorts and Capris are the fastest and the stay ahead. You could find BMW 635s, 530s, et 2002s, Volvos, and even a Volkswagen Sirocco.

Then we could watch the oldest cars, gathered for the Trophée Légende. This group was recreated by Peter Auto for the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016. It gathered the stars of the 1930s: Bugatti Type 35, Maserati 8CM, Alfa Romeo 8C 2300s, including a Zagato and a Monza. To sum it up, cars you can not believe they can be this fast despite their age!

Of you enjoy Italian cars from the 50-60s, the Trofeo Nastro Rosso is made for you. Only cars related to Italy, but not only Italalian cars, some Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth were there. You could find a lot of Ferraris, mainly 275s and 250s.

The event also featured three groups of endurance cars.The  Classic Endurance Racing 1 gathered GT cars from 1966 to 1974 and prototypes from 1966 to 1971.

The CER 2 gathered GT cars from 1975 to 1981 and prototypes from 1972 to 1981. It was a real show, GTs were fighting against the slowest prototypes. You could see a lot of Chevron, Lola or Porsche 911. The races were really entertaining and the victory was determined only at the last minutes, despite the length of the race sessions.

The last endurance group was the  Sixties Endurance. It was THE race to see Saturday, in the late afternoon for two hours. A lot of teams from the Tour Auto were there, even if some cars were missing. I suppose they were saving them for Le Mans Classic, next month. There was a lot of cars on track, 60. Between the battles for the different places and the traffic to overtake, there was no time to get bored. The Shelby Cobras, Jaguar E-types were leading, fighting against a Bizzarrini. The race saw several safety car interruptions.

The Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 has now ended and we can not wait to see the cars once more at Le Mans. Concerning Dijon, let’s pray for a better weather next year.

Our 1900 photos of the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 are available in our gallery here.

Leave a Reply