Monaco Historique 2024 - Series A to B

Text and photo: Roman Klemm

Series A race - Pre-war Grand Prix cars

The oldest cars that raced at the Monaco Historique this year were cars from the beginnings of the event, built between 1926 and 1936. This class, organized by the ACM, has been omitted several times because of its danger - but what would the races around the Casino be without the roaring Bugattes, Maserati and ERA on narrow tires? And so this year, 16 brave people signed up, among them traditionally Mme Julia de Baldanza, to risk by far the most of all the participants. Driving century-old self-propelled cars without seat belts and roll bars through Monaco at the limit of adhesion already requires a certain amount of self-denial - one has to wonder that enthusiasts of this class use protective helmets..?

Qualifications: Paddins Dowling as Chiron
In beautiful sunshine, qualifying became clear prey for experienced ERA R5B (Prince Bir's 1936 White Mouse) tamer, Paddins Dowling. The Irishman was 3.5 seconds ahead of Canadian debutant Brad Baker on another ERA (Mk R10B). In the field with the largest time gaps of this year's event, the second starting row was formed by Michael Birch on a Maserati 4CM with Jonathan Bailey (the first owner of his yellow Bugatti 35C from 1927 was a certain Eliška Junková!) and the third row by Mark Winter (Maserati 5CM) with Martin Halusa (Bugatti 35B of 1927). The brave Julia de Baldanza traveled with her Bugatti 35B in the footsteps of Junková for the 13th time.

Race: The A1 series belongs to ERA cars
As in previous years, the ERA cars dominated the weekend and the 10-lap race. In the growing Mediterranean heat, the blue "Siamese" car of the experienced Dowling took the lead after the morning start - and stayed in the lead until the finish. The fight for the second position provided the excitement. Birch started better than Baker. Black ERA only managed to take advantage of a red Maserati's gearing mistake in the 4th lap to establish a double lead for ERA on the climb to Casino. The Canadian Baker even caught up with Dowling in the end - but he still had reserves. The young Briton Bailey led Eliška Junková's car to the finish line as an excellent 5th, little Julia de Baldanza finished 9th. Thanks to the drivers' discipline, the race was without accidents - so the pre-war class still has its doors open for 2026 in Monaco.

Monaco GP Historique result - Series A1
1. Paddins Dowling, ERA R5B
2. Brad Baker, ERA R10B
3. Michael Birch, Maserati 4CM
4. Mark Winter, Maserati 6CM
5. Jonathan Bailey, Bugatti 35C
6. Martin Halusa, Bugatti 35B

Race Series A2 - Front-engined Grand Prix cars up to 1961

"After all, the donkey pulls the cart - and doesn't push it!" was supposedly a classic statement by Enzo Ferrari, with which he defended the concept of his single-seaters with the engine in front of the driver for a long time. In Monaco, this class was demonstrated by the A2 Series. Among the 25 cars entered were 9 Maseratis, 4 Lotuses and 3 Coopers. But also Ferrari, Gordini, Talbot, Osca, Ferguson, Scarab and Tec-Mec. Last year's winner, German professional Claudia Hürtgen switched from the planned Maserati 250F to the Ferrari 246 Dino restored by Methusalem Racing in Monaco.

Qualifications: Female pilot for qualification…
"No, we have a qualifier for that," Ferrari 246 Dino owner and Methusalem Racing team boss answered me if he had the qualifying tires fitted? And he was right. In the first session on Saturday, shortly after the eighth, Briton Max Smith-Hilliard (Lotus 18 from 1958) was leading for a long time, but 5 minutes before the end the female driver in Ferrari with number 20 struck. Marino Franchitti on a Maserai 250F. Veteran Joaquin Folch (Lotus 16) secured the fourth starting position and his Spanish compatriot Guilermo Fierro-Eleta (Maserati 250F) S Mark Shaw (Scarab F1) occupied the third starting row.

Race: …and also for races!
The A2 Series drivers had to get out of bed early – the start was already at 8:00 in the morning in front of the still sparsely occupied stands! Hürtgenová has already been diligently running around the paddock for a long time - and she warmed up as she should, because her Ferrari sprinted to St. Dévote first without giving Franchitti and Folch a chance to attack. The only car from Maranello in the field then cruised to an unassailable victory. Likewise, Franchitti's Maserati finished a clear second. It was a battle for third place between Folch, Eleta and Tony Wood (Tec-Mec) until the finish line. The final drive to Rascasse was decisive, when the two Spaniards tried to overtake the straggler from a different side - and he pushed Folch's Lotus into the barriers... Brit Wood was happy in the end.

Monaco GP Historique Result – Series A2:
1. Claudia Hürtgen, Ferrari 246 Dino
2. Marino Franchitti, Maserati 250F
3. Tony Wood, Tec-Mec
4. Guillermo Fierro-Eleta, Maserati 250F
5. John Spiers, Maserati 250F
6. Stefan de Groodt, Maserati 250F

B Series – Rear-engined Grand Prix cars from 1961 to 1965

When cars with engines behind the pilot's backs established themselves for good in the world of grand prix, the period of the 60s and the so-called "cigars" began. A sensational 36 were entered in Monaco. Most of them were equipped with Climax engines and the most numerous were the brands of the British "garagemen" Cooper, Lotus and Brabham - just as it really was 60 years ago at the Nürburgring, Monza, Spa and Monaco .

Qualifying: Clive Chapman's factory driver came through
After Costas Michael's Cooper-Climax T73 lost all its oil before the tunnel, qualifying had to be interrupted for a long time. After a hard-fought battle between Colin Chapman's products, Classic Team Lotus factory rider Andy Middlehurst (Lotus 25) took the lead ahead of Mark Shaw (Lotus 21). Due to Shaw's accident with the slow Julian Ellis (Assegai-Alfa Romeo), the session ended early. The second row was formed by Joseph Colasacco (Ferrari 1512) with Lukas Halusa (Brabham BT7), third by Philipp Buhofer (Lotus 24) with Christopher Drake (Cooper T71/73).

Race: Lotus beat Ferrari
The fans were rightly looking forward to the big classic duel between Lotus and Ferrari. Middlehurst and Colasacco did not let them down and the Englishman had the American's red car after Lorenzo Bandini in the rearview mirror the whole race! But Middlehurst knows how to win in Monaco. He made no mistake and finished Clive Chapman narrowly for the laurel wreath. Brabham, Cooper and Lotus brands occupied other "scored" places.

Monaco GP Historique Result – Series B:
1. Andy Middlehurst, Lotus 25
2. Joseph Colasacco, Ferrari 1512
3. Mark Shaw, Lotus 21
4. Lukas Halusa, Brabham BT7
5. Christopher Drake, Cooper T71/T73
6. Andrea Stortoni, Lotus 18

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