top of page

Pau Classic Grand Prix: Charm and thrills await the Historic Endurance return

After two consecutive years in which the pandemic prevented the annual race in the Circuit de Pau-Ville, the Pau Classic Grand Prix returns this weekend and the eclectic field of the Historic Endurance will accelerate its elegance through the streets of the quiet French city of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques.

For Diogo Ferrão, the CEO of Race Ready, "the visit to the city circuit of Pau is always one of the highlights of the season and after two years in which our drivers were deprived of competing in this pearl by the Pyrenees, this is an opportunity that we did not want to miss, not least because we do not know when it will be the last."

With forty-four cars from fourteen different brands entered, and drivers from seven countries and three continents, two very lively 45-minute races are expected in the five classes that make up a competition in which every weekend is a journey in time.

GDS: Record entries

The category which includes all cars powered by engines up to 1300cc and all touring cars up to 2000cc has a record number of entries this weekend. Among the thirteen entrants is the rare Audi 50 of locals Jacques and François Tillos and two Lotus Elite cars, one for Robin Ellis who returns to the Historic Endurance and the second for Robert Ingram who has travelled all the way from Australia to race in the streets of Pau. There will be two more Lotus in action in this category, two Cortina models for Philippe Raffin and Jérome Quiot. The British contingent also includes an MG B Roadster, entered for the trio Paul Rayment, James Wheeler and Martin Sismey, and two Porsche 911 SWBs, one for Simon Hutson/Stephen Monk and one for Peter Tognola, the latter two Porsche independent specialists.

The Stuttgart manufacturer's contingent will be filled with three more Porsche 911 SWBs; one from the João Gomes Garage, which has signed up its three drivers Piero Del Maso, Nuno Nunes and José Carvalhosa, another for Frenchman Vincent Tourneur and yet another for Michel Mora, who in 2019 took the podium in the H-1976 category. On the circuit located in the foothills of the Pyrenees, where small and agile cars tend to stand out, David Barrere's Austin Mini Cooper S could disrupt the favourites' plans.

H-1965: Society of Nations

One of the most popular categories in Historic Endurance has not lost its charm, with the presence of two Lotus from far away: an Elan from Sweden for Per-Are Forsvall and an Elan 26R from Japan, which will be shared by enthusiast and car collector Katsu Kubota and experienced Briton Nicholas Fennell. From closer by, three Porsche 356s from the Iberian Peninsula will cross the Somport pass - one for Carlos Beltran/Pablo Tarrero, another for Guillermo Vellasco/Francisco Freitas and yet another for Pedro Moriyon/José Carvalhosa. This colourful group of enviable cars is completed by Fabrice Bernollin's Shelby Cobra, a car that traditionally does well on tracks of this kind, and Mathieu Personnaz's fibreglass-bodied Marcos 1800 GT.

H-1971: Animated duels in perspective

With cars for all tastes, from convertibles such as the Morgan Plus 8 Moss Box of Paul Conway or the unique Triumph Spitfire "6" of Frédéric Clot/Felix Bernard, to touring cars such as the "giant" BMW 2800 CS of the Portuguese pair Domingos Sousa Coutinho/Rui Maia, the BMW 2002 of the returning Spaniard Carlos Rivera or the Audibert & Co Alfa Romeo GTAm of Adrian Audibert, this is by nature one of the categories that offers the best spectacle. Rui Maia will not be the only Portuguese to debut in the Circuit de Pau-Ville, as Joaquim Soares will have his baptism in this circuit driving a Lotus Elan. The Garagem João Gomes will also run a Porsche 911 ST 2.5 for the same three drivers, a similar car to the Spanish Jordi Prenafeta's, while the Ford Escort RS 1600 of the duo Miguel Ferreira/Francisco Carvalho already proved to be a winner in Pau. This group also includes Manuel de la Torre's Porsche 911 SWB and Franck Biraben's 911 R.

H-1976: Familiar names

The category for cars produced up to 1976 brings together several familiar faces from Historic Endurance and beyond. Paul Daniels, who raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2014, will line up in his Porsche 911 2.8 RS, while the Juan Alonso/Jose Antonio Zorrilla duo will arrive in France with the fresh memory of a podium finish in last weekend's Carrera Los 80 of the "Supercars en Jarama". The Portuguese camp is represented by Vasco Nina in his Porsche 911 2.8 RS masterfully prepared by Aurora Motorsport in Porto. The category is completed with Michel Cazelot's Toyota Celica RA28, a car rarely seen competing in European tracks.

GTP & Sports Car: Four Lotus, one Portuguese and one Diva

It's not very common to see four Lotus Seven competing in the Historic Endurance, but it will be possible this weekend. The Portuguese duo João Mira Gomes/Nuno Afoito will be joined by the Frenchmen François Cazalot and the family - father and son - Savinien and François Legeleux; with the curiosity of the son driving the early version with a 1100cc engine, instead of the traditional 1500cc one. Once again, Le Mans Classic regular Damien Kohler brings his unusual DIVA F10, an English-built, Ford-engined car that is particularly fast on this track. As the prestigious Pau Classic Grand Prix is an opportunity that few can afford to refuse, Portuguese Paulo Rompante, driving an Alfa Romeo Ti Super in GTP specification, will make his debut on a circuit that was partly used for the first time in 1933.

Entered in the H-INV class as a guest entry is the Porsche 924 of Spanish driver Toni Garcia.

Index of Performance: Where certainty is only one

With the motto "Relaxed Historic Racing" and the aim of providing hard-fought and lively classic races for Gentlemen Drivers on the best events and circuits of Southern Europe, there is no Historic Endurance race without the Index of Performance. The winner of this classification may come from a range of smaller cars, such as Lotus Elite, Audi or a Mini. The only certainty is that the winner will take home a watch by the prestigious Swiss watchmaker Cuervo Y Sobrinos.


bottom of page