Tour Auto 2023

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The Tour Auto is an event as old as motor sport itself.  The current celebration of its glory days, when it was called the Tour de France Auto, has been probably one of the key achievements of Patrick Peter’s and his Peter Auto organisation by bringing together 200-300 cars, all of which must represent a model of vehicle that took part in the period running of the event.  Today the field is basically split into two categories entitled Competition and Regularity, which speak for themselves.  These are also sub-divided into build-date classes.  In the former, the fastest and strongest come out on top and in the latter, accurate, split-second timing is required to win.

Photos Peter Collins and Nicolas Bremaud

This does not limit the former to bellowing and screaming, race cars, nor the latter to benign saloons or coupes.  There is room for both in each category and they all are required to cover a route of over 2000kms in 5 days, including visits to racetracks throughout France and timed closed-road special stages.  The organisational requirements are prodigious.  Peter Collins Reports….

The big VHC Competition win was Sébastien Berchon and Sébastien Bordier’s reward for fast and consistent driving

Getting all the cars out of Paris after a day on show at the Grand Palais Éphémère in Place Joffre before the rush-hour gets underway involves a very early start, in this case 6am, such that some of the windows of apartments, especially in or near the Avenue de Suffren, must have vibrated to the sound of the Ferrari 512M of Mr John of B, several Cobras and GT40s, not to mention higher-pitched BMW M1s and CSLs with drivers such as Henri Pescarolo and Thierry Boutsen inside, as well as Ari Vatanen and Eric Hélary in the lead course cars.

In this rally it is the winner of the pre-’66 category that takes the big prize, and this year Sébastien Berchon and Sébastien Bordier, driving an E-ype Jaugr, stood on the top for ehVHC podium with, only one minute behind after five days, the Cobra of Wakeman and Blakeney-Edwards.

In Group G (1966-1971), the winners were Claudio Roddaro and Michel Speyer with their Porsche 911 ST and the final Competition category, for 1971-1981 cars, was won by Olivier Pernaut and Gerry Blyenburg driving a Ford Capri RS 2600.

Every car entered is allotted a coefficient that features the age of the vehicle and capacity of the engine, these figures combining towards a performance index and this was won by the 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS Touring of Adrien and Christine Cathiard.

To read the report, see out June 2023 issue or subscriber here 

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