The 2012 Le Mans Classic, Richard Mille sets the pace during this 6th edition


The 2012 Le Mans Classic, Richard Mille sets the pace during this 6th edition

The 2012 Le Mans Classic, Richard Mille sets the pace, once again, during this 6th edition

The 2012 Mans Classic - 6th, 7th, 8th July
La Cote des Montres - July 16th, 2012

The 2012 Le Mans Classic - © Didier Gourdon
Last weekend, the Le Mans Classic celebrated its 10th anniversary by uniting more than 110,000 motorsport fans from around the world on its Grand Circuit racetrack. Richard Mille was naturally present at this event as the Principal Partner and Official Timekeeper of Le Mans Classic, a role it has held since the competition’s first edition in 2002.

The 2012 Le Mans Classic - © Didier Gourdon
The 24 hours track, an internationally renowned racing circuit stretching over 12 kilometres, was at the heart
of this six-grid competition. The 1,000 drivers who raced in relays on the track included several big names from the motorsport world, six of whom were previous winners of the 24 Heures du Mans competition. Derek Bell and Emanuele Pirro, both of whom have five wins under their belts, were just some of those among the starting line-up, which also included gentlemen drivers of 30 different nationalities, as well as famous French names such as François Fillon. FIA President Jean Todt – accompanied by actress Michelle Yeoh, partner of the Richard Mille brand – made an off-duty appearance to start the race on Saturday, 7th July at 4 p.m.

The 2012 Le Mans Classic - © Didier Gourdon
After 24 hours of racing, the following teams were the first to cross the finish line, delighted to win the 6th Le Mans Classic: Traber/Tenery in Grid 1 (1929/1939) with a Talbot Lago, Gavin Pickering in Grid 2 (1949/1956) with a Jaguar Type D, Wills/Twyman/Pirro in Grid 3 (1957/1961) with a Lotus 15, Voyazides/D’Abel de Libran in Grid
4 (1962/1965) with a Ford GT40, B. Thuner in Grid 5 (1966/1971) with a Lola T70 MKIII and Chris Mac Allister in Grid 6 (1972/1979) with a Gulf Mirage. A special mention goes out to Dominique Guenat, associate and friend of Richard Mille, who raced brilliantly to finish third in Grid 6 behind the wheel of a 1976 Lola T286.

In addition to the race, the numerous other highlights included an exceptional gathering of 23 Ferrari 250 GTOs (out of the 38 constructed) on Friday at the opening of the event to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary; the Little Big Mans parade, with its procession of miniature replicas from legendary brands driven by children aged 7 to 12, who darted around the track on Saturday before the competition began to thunderous applause from the stands; an auction organised by the Artcurial Auction House and directed by Hervé Poulain, which gave collectors the chance to acquire rare classics such as the Ferrari 275 GTC, which sold for more than 1.5 million euros; and a record gathering of more than 170 classic car clubs and 8,000 classic cars that descended, as is traditional, on Le Mans for the occasion.

This 6th edition also celebrated the participation of American cars in the 24 Heures du Mans. It was an opportunity to pay tribute to the Ford GT40 and its four consecutive victories (1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969) and, of course, to the creator of the legendary AC Cobra, Carroll Shelby, who recently passed away. Incidentally, it was an American car – the Cadillac «Le Monstre» created in 1950 by Briggs Cunningham – that was awarded the Prix d’Excellence in the Le Mans Heritage Club contest.

Exceptional mechanics have always been the driving force behind Richard Mille. Since 2002, there has been complete osmosis between this event and its Principal Partner, whose logo appeared everywhere: from the track itself, to the shiny bodies of the racing cars. During this 6th edition, Richard Mille presented two limited edition watches to celebrate the race in full Le Mans Classic style, which lovers of mechanical precision were able to admire all weekend long. Like the racing cars themselves, the RM 011 LMC chronograph watch and the RM 008 LMC tourbillon chronograph watch have been developed without compromise and with an unyielding focus on unbeatable technology and performance.