As the days pass by the countdown brings us ever closer to the date of the 30th anniversary edition of the 2 Tours d’Horloge. Last year, the famous endurance event created by Eric Van de Vyver in 1992 was successfully revived. It remains the only race in the world open to historic racing cars run over an uninterrupted 24 –hour period. As in the past and like its revival last year the event will take place on the Paul Ricard circuit, which also hosts the French Formula 1 Grand Prix. This not-to-be-missed rendezvous for both French and foreign teams has already received almost 40 entries. In keeping with the mixing of categories typical of the great endurance races, gentlemen drivers and professionals will share the wheel of GTs, touring cars and sport prototypes.
V de V Sports took the trouble of organising a preparatory 6-hour race, which attracted around 20 entries, on the Magny-Cours circuit on 25-26 March to give competitors the opportunity to practise and get back in the groove for the 2 Tours d’Horloge. Thus, the overall victors of the Magny-Cours race, Sébastien Crubile/Pascal Duhamel in the Porsche 930 Turbo run by the Pascalou Racing team, will try to clinch the double by winning the 2 Tours d’Horloge backed up by Romain Rocher, who already took part in the 2021 race.
Last year, the team comprising Armand Mille/Max Guenat/Guillaume Mahé/Erwin France entered a 24-hour race for the first time. They have decided to come back after finished second overall in 2021 and winning the TC4 category with a real Group A BMW 635, which took part in the European Touring Car championship and the Spa 24 Hours driven by Thierry Boutsen. The Equipe Europe outfit that prepares this car is thinking about beefing up its presence with a second BMW.
Another Munich saloon to follow is the BMW 635 CSI driven by father and son crew of Paul, Jean-Baptiste and Matthieu Chateaux victorious in the touring category in the 6 Hours of Magny-Cours. Then there’s the BMW 635 run by Jean-Marie Belleteste’s JMB Racing team that has also entered a rotary-engined Chevron B16! Without forgetting the Wasserman Racing 323i with Eric Wassermann/Eric Baumard/Olivier Huez and the 2002 Ti of David Ferrer’s sons Aexandre and Jérémy, associated with Samuel Macarty.
Among the other teams entered running German cars is the one managed by former French touring car champion Alain Cudini who also raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 13 times. He has entered a Porsche 944 S2 for Arnold Noret/Franck Hardonniere/Bruno Vieren and a 911 3.2 for Christian Noret/Jacques Colibet/Philippe Vigneron. Other teams running Porsches include the Duigou Racing squad with a 911 3.0 RS, the Team YOKAÏ Z with a 944 Turbo (Christophe Noel/Jean Obeniche/Grégory Lecaude/Séverine Roy), Banking Compétition with a 964 (Romain Duval/Patrick Bonnardel/François Riaux), the Team Flatmotors by O-One with a 964 RS (Jean-Marie, Corentin and Alexandre Pelletier), YDEO by LD Racing with a 964 Cup for Benoit, Matthieu and Thomas Fertin teamed up with Michel Mitieus, the Quarkus Racing Team with a 930 3.0 SC (Damien Alfano/Alexandre Boutin/Ronaldo Da Cunha) and the O-ONE team of Josserand De Murard with a 930 Turbo.
The two new teams seen at Magny-Cours with Porsches have renewed their confidence in V de V Sports. Legendary Racing has entered their 911 3.0 RS in the colours of the famous American team, Brumos for Franck Laga/Jean-Louis Meynart/Jérôme Cudennec and the team Team Flatsix Le Mans their 911 3.0 SC for Christophe Gaultier/Pierre Le Flem/ Stéphane Deshayes/Alexandre Scher. A warm welcome also to the Team Bersi Immobilier, which will run a 911 3.0 RS for Damien Kohler/Richard Depagneux/Christophe Van Riet and Grégoire Audi. Finally, an authentic Porsche 906 is also expected driven by Italian crew Silvio Perlino/Mario Sala/Maurizio Fratti who already raced in the Deux Tours last year.
Proof of the wide-ranging variety of the cars entered for the race is provided by the presence of the grid of the CMR team’s Alfa Romeo Giulia (Georges Cabanne/Eric Guillaume/Laurent Fermaud), the Marcos Mantis run by Daventure Racing (Alexandre Jaboulet-Vercherre/Jean-Marc Bachelier/Laurent Collin), the Ford Capri Belga prepared by the Belgian squad Royale Ecurie Azur for Jean-Pierre Baudart/Stéphane Charlier/Benoît Meurmans, the Lotus Europa of Lionel Couaillet/Laurent Guillerme/Alain Roumanet, the Opel Commodore B GSE entered by the Bretagne team and driven by "Segolen"/Pierre Laversanne. Without forgetting the impressive Hyracing Shelby Cobra Daytona for Olivier Muytjens/Brice Pineau/Kurt Dujardyn/Jacques Castelein, the Rover 3500 (victorious in the 1982 French Production Car championship with René Metge) entered by the British team SLEEP for Nick Sleep/Joel Wykeham/Alex Montgomery and the irreplaceable TVR Griffith 200 run by V de V Sports for Henri Leconte, a regular participant in the race since its creation. The former tennis player, winner of the Davis Cup in 1991, Roland-Garros finalist in the French Open International in 1988 and winner of the men’s doubles in Roland Garros in 1984), will team up with Patrick Brossard, Léo Mothe and the man without whom the event would never have seen the light of day, Eric Van de Vyver.
Among other teams expected is the Team Classic Garage with an Austin Healey 3000 MKII for Sébastien Berchon/José and Jérémy Da Rocha and Eric Pérou’s team with an identical model. And JP Racing with Jean-François Piquet and Claude Cassina.
In the prototype category the organisers are hoping for the arrival of drivers Laurent Vallery-Masson/Eric Martin/Fabrice Notari/Pascal Gerbout, the reigning overall winners at the wheel of the Gemanova team’s Tiga SC 84. Also expected is the Grac MT-14B run by the Chateaux Sport Auto team for the trio consisting of Axel de Ferran, Bernard Zimmer and Belgian Freddy Loix, four-time Belgian rally champion from 2013 to 2016, and former works rally driver for different manufacturers in the WRC (Toyota, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Peugeot) and in the IRC (Skoda).
In the meantime, the following have been confirmed: the Rédélé team with Jean-Charles Rédélé, son of the founder of the Alpine brand, in a Lola T590 with his team-mates Alain Bazard and Philippe Peauger, the Palmyr team with a March 81 S (“Nelson”/François Belle/Augustin Sanjuan) and a Tiga SC 79 (Marc Faggionato/ChristianVaglio-Giors/Gislain Genecand), RPL with a Chevron B16 for Didier and Julien Gruau, Maurice Bouvet, José Beltramelli, and the aptly-named British team Rosbif with two Tiga SC 83s for the father and son trio Ross, Charlie and Nick Hyett and Chris Snowden/Mike Fry/David Houghton.
With just four months to go to the race more names are expected to join the growing entry list.
While the 2 Tours d’Horloge will occupy most of the track time at the weekend, it will leave enough space for two other events: The Legends Car Cup, a single-make formula, with cars powered by a fuel-injected Yamaha 900 cc engine developing 140 horsepower for a weight of 480 kg that provides hotly-contested races, and the Roadster Pro Cup for Mazda MX5s.