11, 12, 13 july 2008 - Richard Mille, official timekeeper for the fourth edition
La Cote des Montres - August 17th, 2008
Last weekend, Richard Mille was, for the fourth time, official timekeeper at the Le Mans circuit.
Richard Mille’s presence was everywhere: on the podium, the car racing numbers, the programmes, the tickets. Not forgetting the banners decorating the sides of the track, the 4x3 panels which focused on various models from the collection, like the RM 011 Felipe Massa Le Mans Classic, specially designed for the event.
Richard Mille was also present on the track with five sponsored cars –including a Lola T70, Lola T290, Matra MS660… and a team, including such renowned drivers as René Arnoux, Shinji Nakano and Anthony Beltoise.
The success of this event exceeded all expectations, already making it a memorable occasion.
Flashback to three unforgettable days: The public was there to attend this historic event and the crowded stands testified to the growing enthusiasm of almost 82,000 spectators who had come to experience this exceptional moment. As far as Clubs were concerned, the spectacle was unique with almost 7,000 cars representing more than 40 manufacturers and the Le Mans Heritage Club competition which brought together 24 ex-Le Mans 24 h cars from 1923 to 2008.
After long deliberation, the Jury finally elected the Alpine Renault A442B which met all the set criteria in terms of authenticity, track record, innovation, design and general condition, and which celebrated its 30th anniversary victory in Le Mans.
On the track, the event got off to a great start on Friday 11thJuly with the night practices and a spectacle offered by eight former winners of the 24 Hour race: Jürgen Barth; Jean Guichet, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jan Lammers, Gérard Larrousse, Vern Schuppan, Gijs Van Lennep, and of course, Henri Pescarolo.
Saturday, 4 p.m.: to thunderous applause, Buzz Haldrin, a member of the first moonwalk crew in 1969, started the race for the grid 1 pilots in typical Le Mans style. He was replaced by Felipe Massa, Richard Mille watches’ private test-driver, who started the grid 2 race, attentively watched by Jean and Nicolas Todt, who came as a friendly observers.
Sunday 4 p.m. The end of the race was breathtaking, won by Jürgen Barth’s Porsche 936, the same car that lead him to victory in 1977… a great gift for the Stuttgart manufacturer which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year in Le Mans Classic.
One should also note some good results in the Richard Mille cars. The Matra MS660 driven by Dominique Guénat and Yvan Mahé finished third in group 5, whereas Fabrice Deschanel and Philippe Liechti, with their Austin Healey 3000, came second in the team ranking.
A new page in the 80 year history of the automobile was turned at the end of this weekend. We will now have to wait until 2010 for a new chapter of the Le Mans Classic to be written.
Another highlight: Little Big Mans. 70 children aged 6 to 13 years old, including Armand Mille, had the privilege of experiencing a real Le Mans start before racing off in mini-racing vehicles, watched attentively by their parents. At the end of a 4 km parade on the Bugatti track, each junior pilot was awarded a Little Big Mans trophy as a souvenir of this amazing experience.
Thanks to Richard Mille team and to Laurent Demarquay - photograph