Monaco Historic Grand Prix

Maserati 250F

Maserati 250F

Every two years a little bit of magic happens on the Cote D’Azur of the Mediterranean Sea when the tiny Principality of Monaco hosts the Grand Prix Historiques. The event reflects the long history of the most famous road racing circuit in the world with cars from pre-war Bugattis and Alfa Romeos right up to McLarens and Brabhams that dominated the Formula One scene in the late ’70s and early ’80’s.

James Mann at Monaco

James Mann at Monaco

One of the best things about the event as a photographer is that the marshalls and Automobile Club de Monaco are pretty relaxed about where you can take pictures around the circuit and you can get really close to the action. The city is a maze of tunnels and hidden escalators that have taken me nearly all of the 20 years I’ve been coming to the event to navigate and each time I visit I discover somewhere new to shoot.

This is one of the classic views in Casino Square De Tomaso leads March 711 in the 1966-72 race. Weather this year was mixed with the rain arriving just in time for the sports car race.

I love the grid walk at Monaco. They still have very elegant grid girls and it’s so atmospheric.Here’s Marc Devis in the 1980 ATS on pole position with an Arrows A3 in second place.


In the harbour-side paddock the ex-Jim Clark Lotus 25 gets a thorough pre-race check by Classic Team Lotus. This car finished 8th here in 1963.

This view makes a great establishing shot with the Alpes Maritime towering above the city of Monte Carlo shrouded in mist. Here’s Belgian driver Christophe D’Ansembourg in the Mclaren M26 chasing a pair of Shadow DN8s in to the harbour chicane.This is where Jenson Button had his nightmare accident coming out of the tunnel in the BAR Honda in 2003.

Monaco always draws out the star drivers and it was great to catch up with two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen who drive the stunning McLaren M14A in the Heritage parade.

The only thing missing from the weekend was good friend and motor racing commentator Henry Hope-Frost who loved the event. Henry was killed in a mortorcycle accident earlier this year. I shared many a fine time in Monaco with him as he regaled us with stories of long gone racing battles that he brought to life with sound effects that only improved with each bottle we ordered.

Henry Hope-Frost:250F

Henry Hope-Frost:250F in 2016