A brand-new class dedicated to ‘Milestones of Endurance Racing’ will feature in this year’s Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance at Blenheim Palace in September.
The exclusive line-up will feature sports-prototypes to GT models paying homage to the superb machinery designed to tackle some of the most difficult events in motorsport, including the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours.
The ‘ Milestones of Endurance Racing’ class will be split into pre- and post-1985 cars and two stunning ex-works Alfa Romeos are set to star in the earlier class – a 1972 Tipo 33 TT3 and a 1974 Tipo 33 TT12.
The TT3 was campaigned by Autodelta for two full seasons in the World Championship for Makes, and in 1972 it finished fourth overall at Le Mans in the hands of Alfa Romeo stalwart Andrea de Adamich and Sicilian legend Nino Vaccarella. The result helped the team secure second place in the championship standings at the end of the year.
The TT12 made its racing debut in the 1974 Monza 1000km, and took a glorious victory on home turf courtesy of Arturo Merzario and Italian-born superstar Mario Andretti. After taking pole position, the stellar pairing dominated the race and finished four laps clear of the second-placed car.
Merzario raced chassis number ‘008’ throughout 1974, sharing it with the likes of Brian Redman, Jacky Ickx and Vittorio Brambilla. It was used by the factory team again in 1975, and scored four victories – at Dijon, Monza, Enna and the Nürburgring – as Alfa Romeo dominated the World Championship for Makes. Merzario and local favourite Vaccarella also took ‘008’ to victory in the non-championship Targa Florio.
The later class for post-1985 cars will feature a modern-day great from Maranello. Prodrive built only 10 of its Ferrari 550 Maranello racers, and chassis 03 is a five-time veteran of the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2004, it competed at La Sarthe in the hands of Darren Turner, Rickard Rydell and rally star Colin McRae. The illustrious trio finished a superb ninth overall and third in class.
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Bringing the story almost up to date will be one of only four remaining 2010-specification Ford GT1s. Based on the GT road car and developed by Matech Concepts with the blessing of Ford itself, the GT1 continued the Blue Oval’s long and illustrious history in sportscar racing. The car that will be on display at Blenheim Palace is chassis 003, which was raced with considerable success in 2011 by future factory BMW and Aston Martin driver Maxime Martin.
Design genius Adrian Newey will also be at Blenheim Palace. As well as masterminding some of the greatest Formula One cars of the modern era, Newey has extensive experience of racing at Le Mans in both historic and contemporary machinery.
The Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance presented by AXA will be held on Wednesday 23 September, with the judging taking place in the morning.
A Trophy presentation forms a memorable spectacle in the afternoon, before the ultimate accolade of Best of Show is announced on Thursday 24 September.