A look back at the 52nd edition of the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or held on the Dijon-Prenois circuit

Bœuf bourguignon, œufs en meurette, Dijon mustard…. There’s no doubt that we’re in the Côte d’Or for the Grand Prix de l’Âge d’Or on the Dijon Prenois circuit, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The short track in Burgundy which measures 3 800 metres is a redoubtable challenge with the blind La Bretelle corner, the uphill Parabolique hairpin and the very fast Pouas curve that seems to go on forever.

Despite poor weather forecasts and threatening skies for a good part of the weekend, 6200 spectators turned up to admire the 220 racing cars and the Formula 1 machines from the Prost-Senna-Schumacher era. Powered by normally-aspirated 3.5-litre engines their bewitching music resounded all round the circuit during their demonstration runs on Saturday and Sunday. Now’s the moment to unveil the results of the nine races that punctuated the weekend in Burgundy, which finally turned out to be hot and sunny!

SATURDAY 4TH JUNE 2022

Sixties’ Endurance

As expected the race boiled down to a no-holds-barred scrap between the Cobras and Daytona Cobras in the Sixties’ Endurance event. For a long time it looked like victory would go to the no. 51 Shelby Cobra 289 driven by Maxime Guenat  and Guillaume Mahe. Unfortunately, an oil pressure issue forced this car to pit. Pierre-Alain and Erwin France inherited the lead in the no. 70 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, but they were hit with a 15-second penalty for a pit stop infringement. The upshot was that Saif Assam and Sam Hancock in their no. 370 Shelby Cobra 289 took over first place and went on to win the race  with 24 seconds in hand over the France family. There was also suspense in the battle for third place because of the 15-second penalty given to the no. 355 Cobra 289 driven by Harvey Stanley and Jérémy Cottingham, which helped Charles de Villaucourt in the no. 12 Shelby Cobra 289 to clinch the final place on the podium. The quickest of the non-Cobras, the no. 27 3.8 E-Type Jaguar in the hands of Maurizio Bianco, came home in fifth place overall.   

Overall podium classification:
  1. Saif Assam and Sam Hancock (n° 370) / Shelby Cobra 289 / 1964
  2. Pierre-Alain France/Erwin France (n° 70) / Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe / 1964
  3. Charles de Villaucourt (n°12) Shelby Cobra 289 / 1963

SUNDAY 5TH JUNE 2022

Heritage Touring Cup

As anticipated this Heritage Touring Cup event was dominated by the Ford Capri RS 3100s. The no. 50 Ford Capri RS 3100 driven by Maxime Guenat controlled the first part of the race. Yves Scemama in his no. 52 Ford Capri RS 3100 Cologne built up a big lead after the pit stops.  But he committed an infringement during his pit stop and was given a heavy penalty. So victory went to Guenat in front of the no. 32 Ford Capri RS 3100 in the hands of British driver Marc Farmer with no. 37 driven by Armand Mille in third place. The BMW 3.0 CSLs put on a great show with fourth spot for Simon Watts and Jake Hill in no. 15. Fifth went to another BMW 3.0 CSL, no. 175 driven by Belgian Erik Mestdagh.

Overall podium classification:
  1. Maxime Guenat (n° 50) / Ford Capri RS 3100 / 1975
  2. Mark Farmer (n° 32) / Ford Capri RS 3100 / 1975
  3. Armand Mille (n°37) / Ford Capri RS 3100 Cologne / 1974

Fifties’ Legends

The second race on Sunday morning was for the Fifties’ Legends. Eugène Deleplanque in his no. 7 TVR Grantura MK III quickly jumped to the top of the time sheets. Despite a penalty, the TVR emerged victorious as many competitors also received penalties (pit stop infringements, speeding, non-respect of track limits, etc.). Into second place came the no.39 Elva Mk V driven by Louis Zurstrassen from Luxemburg despite a scare on the last lap. David Barrere (no. 25) and Jonathan Hartop (no. 78) battled for the final place on the podium in their Austin Mini Cooper S 1275s with Barrere beating his rival by 0.2 of a second!  

Overall podium classification:
  1. Eugène Deleplanque (n°7) / TVR Grantura MK III / 1963
  2. Louis Zurstrassen (n°39) / Elva Mk V / 1959
  3. David Barrere (n°25) / Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 / 1965

Classic Endurance Racing 1

The Classic Endurance Racing 1 event was marked by several accidents and Safety Car interventions. Finally, a dominant victory went to the no. 35 Lola T70 Mk III B driven by Armand Mille from the no. 140 Lola T2 12 of Gonçalo Gomes and James Claridge and the no. 67 Chevron B19 in the hands of Robert Shaw. Among the penalties given was the one that hit the Lola T70 Mk III B of Pierre-Alain France who came in too early (before the opening of the pit stop window) and had to pit a second time. The result of this loss of time was fifth place for France. Tony Seiler’s no. 7 Lola T70 Mk III B was also hit with a penalty for speeding in the pit lane dropping him back to ninth at the flag.

Overall podium classification:
  1. Armand Mille (n° 35) / Lola T70 Mk III B / 1969
  2. Gonçalo GOMES and James Claridge (n° 140) / Lola T2 12 / 1971
  3. Robert Shaw (n° 67) / Chevron B19 / 1971

Classic Endurance Racing 2

A mouth-watering duel was expected in the Classic Endurance 2 race between the no. 50 Lola T286 driven by Maxime Guenat and the no. 52 TOJ SC304 of Yves Scemama. It took place and the gap oscillated between 3/10th of a second and one second between these two cars. After the obligatory passage through the pit lane Guenat took the lead from Scemama who didn’t give up. Unfortunately, Scemama’s TOJ’s race  ended in the gravel trap in the Villeroy double right-hander leaving Guenat to cruise to victory in front of the no. 600 Lola T600 with Philippe Scemama at the wheel. Franck Morel in the no. 131 TOJ SC206 finished third also winning the under 2-litre prototype category. Beat Eggimann’s no. 1 Cheetah G602 came home in fourth place overall and second in the under 2-litre prototype category.

Overall podium classification:
  1. Maxime Guenat (n°50) Lola T286 / 1976
  2. Philippe Scemama ( n°600) / Lola T600 / 1981
  3. Franck Morel (n°131) TOJ SC206 / 1977

Trophée de l’Âge d’Or

The Trophée de l’Âge d’Or is reserved for certain cars racing in Sixties’ Endurance and Fifties’ Legends. It was a walkover for the Lotus Elan 26Rs with   Simon Evans in no. 75 dominating all his rivals and clinching victory in front of Frenchmen Eugène Deleplanque (no. 7) and Patrick Soury (no. 26). Two Porsche  911 2.0Ls finished just shy of the podium, no. 411 driven by Lukas Bucher and no. 182 shared by two British drivers Steven Osborne and Robert Smith. Victory in the Index of Performance went to the no. 222 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA crewed by François Fabri and Alexander Furiani who also finished sixth overall.

Overall podium classification:
  1. Simon Evans (n° 75) / Lotus Elan 26R / 1965
  2. Eugène Deleplanque (n°7) / Lotus Elan 26R / 1963
  3. Patrick Soury (n°26) / Lotus Elan 26R / 1965

The Greatest’s Trophy

 Race 1

The first event in the 2022 edition of the Grand Prix de l’Âge d’Or was reserved for the Greatest Trophy grid with a duel expected between Belgian Vincent Gaye’s no. 7 Ferrari 275 GTB/C and French driver Christian Bouriez’s no. 46 Bizzarrini 5300 GT.  And what a duel it was! After the pit stop window the Bizzarrini overtook the Ferrari. The two cars crossed the finishing line almost side by side with Bouriez emerging victorious by 3/10th of a second! Gaye finished second and far behind these two came Yvan Mahe in the no. 37 Lister Chevrolet in third place ahead of another Lister-Jaguar, no. 22 a Knobbly with Charles de Villaucourt at the wheel.

RACE 2

A revenge match was expected between Bouriez’s no. 46  Bizzarrini 5300 GT and Gaye’ Ferrari 275 GTB/ C in the second heat of the Greatest’s Trophy. But finally it didn’t happen. Right from the start Gaye realised that he had a down-on-power engine. So Bouriez lost no time heading off into the distance and took the chequered flag in first place followed by Yvan Mahe in his no. 37 Lister Chevrolet and Gaye in his no. 7 Ferrari 275 GTB/C who was at least able to salvage third place on the podium.

Overall podium classification:
  1. Yvan Mahe (n° 37) / Lister Chevrolet / 1958
  2. Christian Bouriez (n° 46) / Bizzarrini 5300 GT / 1965
  3. Vincent Gaye (n°7) / Ferrari 275 GTB C / 1966

2.0L CUP

The final event of the weekend was the 2.0 L CUP race in which British drivers were expected en masse in what has almost become a tradition! We were not disappointed! Seb Perez and George Gamble in no. 41 drove a flawless race to score victory with 25 seconds in hand over no. 77 in the hands of Mark Sumpter and Andrew Jordan. Oliver Brian and Andrew Smith in no. 64 were expected to fill third place, but they had a minor glitch and were overtaken by the winners of the Gentlemen Elite category, Lukas Bucher and David Verzijlbergen in no. 411. Victory in the Gentlemen category went to American David Danglard in no. 15.  This category was hotly-contested by the dozen or so cars at the start.

Overall podium classification:
  1. Seb Perez and George Gamble (n°41) Porsche 911 2.0L
  2. Mark Sumpter and Andrew Jordan (n°77) Porsche 911 2.0L
  3. Lukas BUCHER eand David Verzijlbergen (n°411) / Porsche 911 2.0 L
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