There’s nowhere like Monaco. Nowhere else provides such a perfect blend of gentility, glitz, hedonism and top-rank motorsport. To watch (and hear) racecars head round Casino Square, down the hill to Mirabeau or past the yacht-packed harbor is as life-affirming as it gets.
And you don’t have to endure the packed annual Formula 1 weekend because once every two years something even better comes along: the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. Here’s an event with all the thrills of current F1 but with seven races for Grand Prix cars from pre-war to 1976 (plus a special Ferrari event for 2016, the tenth running of the Historic, which takes place May 13–15), all of which sound so much more evocative than the current crop of cars.
1951 FERRARI 340 AMERICA BARCHETTA BY TOURING. TIM SCOTT ©2016 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY'S.
Better still, there’s access to the paddock, grandstand seats are readily available (and up to ten times cheaper than the same seats at the Formula 1 two weeks later), the streets aren’t as busy, and even the star drivers are relaxed and friendly. And to top it all, there’s an RM Sotheby’s auction!
The Monaco Historic is an unusual event in an unusual place, so there are aspects you need to be aware of. The geography defines everything — how you get there, how you get around and how you view the action. If you’re flying in to Nice airport, then it’s an easy 20-mile drive into Monaco, but bear in mind that traffic will be slow for the last couple of miles, and parking is at a premium. You might find it’s more cost-effective and far more exciting to take the helicopter shuttle instead.
1984 PEUGEOT 205 TURBO 16 EVOLUTION 1 GROUP B. TOBY WRIGHT ©2016 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY'S.
Regardless of whether or not you have a car in town, you’ll be walking a lot, and to see the best sections of the circuit, expect to be up and down plenty of steps; though there are a few elevators between street levels.
Think about pre-booking a table at one of the trackside restaurants, the most famous of which is La Rascasse, on the corner of the same name. Or try for a spot on a terrace at the Hotel Hermitage, the Hotel de France or the Port Palace. And if you want the full Monaco experience, spend some time at the casino and then the legendarily glamorous Jimmy’z nightclub.
1961 AUSTIN-HEALEY 3000 MK I WORKS RALLY. TOM GIDDEN ©2016 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY'S.
Work in plenty of time to explore the town too, and, of course, be sure to head to Le Sporting, next to the circuit on Avenue Princesse Grace, where the RM Sotheby’s auction will take place on the Saturday evening, May 14, from 6pm until 10pm with previews Friday and Saturday. Previous auctions here have seen stunning results, with the last running in 2014, the most successful yet, grossing more than €41 million. Seven lots sold for over €1 million euros each, and ten world records set.
So, what are you waiting for? The best historic racing and a great variety of automobilia and cars on offer in the most famous of all motorsport locations — see you there!
1997 PORSCHE 911 GT1 EVOLUTION. CHRIS WILSON ©2016 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY'S.
What’s In Store for 2016
This year’s auction is shaping up to be just as stunning as RM Sotheby’s last Monaco sale. Highlighted by a number of fantastic sports and racing cars, including a 1951 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta and a road-legal 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution. A selection of automobilia will also be on offer, including a helmet signed by no less than 22 Formula 1 World Champions with proceeds going to be divided among a host of charities, including the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.
FORMULA 1 CHAMPIONS-SIGNED HELMET. DARIN SCHNABEL ©2016 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBYS.
Own a Piece of Motorsport History
The RM team has proudly provided our auction services to benefit a number of important and deserving causes over the years. At our upcoming Monaco sale, we are thrilled to help bring the charitable goal of AutoWeek’s long-time NASCAR writer Al Pearce full circle with the auction of a special autographed racing helmet. The unique piece of memorabilia is signed by all 22 F1 champions that were alive as of 2007. The latest of Pearce’s autograph projects (he’d previously covered Indy 500 champions, NASCAR cup champions and Daytona 500 champions), this massive undertaking saw him embark to have all surviving F1 champions autograph the helmet, with the goal to later sell it to benefit children’s charities. The late great Phil Hill was the first to sign in November 2007. Many months and miles later, the final signatures came from Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel in London in December 2010. All proceeds from the helmet’s sale in Monaco will be divided among a host of charities of Pearce’s choosing, including the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. Further information on this very unique piece of F1 memorabilia, including a complete list of autographs, will be posted online at rmsothebys.com.