The Dix Mille Tours du Castellet 2016 was held 1-2 October at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France. Nearly 12,000 spectators shared their common passion at the 7th annual historic car racing event that featured eight grids on the 25-turn, 3.64-mile track near Marseille.
The Dix Mille Tours has been on the Peter Auto calendar of events since 2010. The entrants eagerly await this rendezvous due to the quality of the infrastructure at the Paul Ricard circuit, as well as the technical challenge posed by its layout. The wide run-off areas that border the track give the drivers, whether experienced or not, the opportunity to go pedal to the metal at the wheel of cars that are of great historic value.
“The circuit is safe; the natural surroundings are beautiful and the setting is unique,” said Carlos Tavares, entered in a Lola T70. “I raced on the Paul Ricard track thirty years ago in Supertouring. After a long break I’m delighted to come back here on a regular basis.”
Alongside the amateur drivers at the 2016 Dix Mille Tours du Castellet were a handful of professionals whose skills added excitement to the eight races making up the weekend’s program. Guys like Martin O’Connell, a double winner in CER 1 and CER 2; Jürgen Barth (victorious in the 1977 Le Mans 24 Hours, Eric Hélary (first in the 1993 Le Mans 24 Hours) and Nicolas Minassian who is still racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“I really get great pleasure driving two cars as different as the 1965 Lotus Elan and the 1989 Group C Aston Martin,” said the delighted Minassian before going out for his stint on Saturday evening in the Sixties’ Endurance race. “It’s back to basics in terms of driving as you have to use the heel and toe technique, double declutch, etc. These are pleasures we no longer enjoy in modern racers.”
Soheil Ayari, former Oreca and Pescarolo driver in endurance, shared his enthusiasm. “Thanks to Peter Auto’s events I’ve been able to discover some of the most beautiful racing cars in history like the Porsche 917, the Ferrari 512 BB LM, and the Lancia LC2 I’m driving this weekend. It’s great fun, the organisation’s impeccable and all the grids are exceptional.”
In addition to the racing cars, more than 500 collector cars from all eras and of all kinds — sports cars, ordinary machines and luxury vehicles — made the event a real open-air museum. In fact the weather, which turned out fine on Sunday, had a few surprises in store for the drivers on Saturday morning when some rain fell. This added spice to practice and the early races with some spins and a few tank slappers. Inside the circuit spectators were free to stroll around the paddocks.
Similar to 2013, 2014 and 2015, Sports Car Digest also documented the Dix Mille Tours du Castellet 2016. We split up pictures from the vintage races into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, while the second gallery can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.
Dix Mille Tours du Castellet 2016 – Featured Photo Gallery
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