The course of history

The course of history

The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique brings F1's golden age back to life

Words: Matthew Barker

Monaco has always had a touch of bygone glamour about it, has always been a sun-kissed signifier of retro Riviera style.


Racing has always been very much part of the package. Now in its 10th edition, the biennial Grand Prix de Monaco Historique brings some of the sights and sounds of motorsport’s golden age back to the principality.


Earlier this month, just a couple of weekends before the Monaco Grand Prix, a series of seven races and one parade (of pre-war cars) was held to a backdrop of busy grandstands and yachts gently bobbing out in the marina.

But the event isn’t just pageantry. The fabled street circuit’s notorious corners still need to be tackled in the midst of full-on wheel-to-wheel racing and the sense of rivalry was keenly felt by the drivers, whether strictly amateur or with experience of competing at the highest levels.


More than 230 cars took part, spanning a half-century from 1925 to 1979. A rare Ferrari 1512 F1 finished second in the Pre-1966 Grand Prix race, while the highlight of the weekend was a magnificently raucous tear-up that featured 35 mid-1970s Formula One cars, including Niki Lauda’s 312T. The roar of the 12-cylinder engines bouncing off the Old Town’s buildings added to the experience.


Take your sunglasses off for a second, squint a bit, and that could easily be Lauda and James Hunt back out there in their pomp, battling for position on La Rascasse.