Top Gear Festival and Franschhoek Motor Museum pay Tribute to the 90th Anniversary of Le Mans

Photo by Denese Lups at Franschhoek Motor Museum

A breathtaking line-up of historic cars spanning nine decades of legendary racing will take to Top Gear Festival’s Durban street circuit this June.

This year, the theme of the Franschhoek Motor Museum’s, always impressive display, will be to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours by showcasing an impressive procession of 14 iconic race cars spanning from the 1930’s to present day.

The tribute begins with the Bugatti Type 35B, a fine example of the car that won the 1929 French Grand Prix.

The procession continues with the 1939 Lagonda LM and 1954 Morreti 750S Bialbero Spider Grand Sport. The Morreti qualified for the 1955 Le Mans but due to an accident the day before the final event it arrived too late to take up its place on the grid – even so, today this car is still eligible for Classic Le Mans.

The impressive Le Mans Tribute continues with the 1957 Lotus 11 750, this vehicle had several class victories at Le Mans, resulting in the Eleven becoming Lotus’ most successful race car design.

The 1953 Austin Healey 100 will also be making its way to Top Gear Festival. The “100” name comes from Donald Healey, who selected the name from the car’s ability to reach 100 mph (160 km/h), as opposed to the Austin-Healey 3000, which is named for its 3000 cc engine.

No Le Mans Tribute would be complete without Aston Martin, so we’re bringing two – the 1954 Aston Martin DB35 and the 1964 Aston Martin DB4GT.

The DB3S was built as a replacement for the heavy and uncompetitive DB3 – it is one of only 31 examples to ever be built. The DB4GT is the same car that won its debut race at Silverstone and raced alongside the Le Mans-winning DBR1 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Another car that embodies the spirit of Le Mans is the 1955 Jaguar D-Type.  The D-Type’s structural design was revolutionary at the time. D-Types won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1955, 1956 and 1957.

The tribute continues with the 1971 McLaren M6.  The McLaren M6A was developed by the Bruce McLaren Motor Racing team for their entry in 1967 Can-Am season. The M6 name was later used in the development of a closed-cockpit sports car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the M6GT.

ek sal my moer strip as ek 200m voor die einde gestop word en nie my medalje kry nie

Bringing some Italian flare and muscle, the 1956 Maserati 150s was developed to compete against German and British rivals in championship sports car racing. The chassis could be altered to create different wheelbases and the engine could be enlarged up to 2.0 litres. Grand Prix driver Jean Behra drove a 150S to victory in the 1955 Nürburgring 500-kilometre race ahead of no less than 14 Porsche 550 Spyders.
The 1963 Ferrari 250 Lusso is next onto the grid, built by Ferrari from 1953 to 1964, this car formed part of he company’s most successful early line.

The instantly recognisable 1955 Mercedes Benz Gullwing also forms part of the 90th Anniversary celebrations. When first built, the 300SL was best known for being the world’s fastest production car.

The final two vehicles that form part of the 14 car line-up are more modern day machines – the 1991 Mazda 767B and 2005 Mercedes DTM.

Owners of the CLK DTM Cabriolet include former McLaren Mercedes Formula One drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Mika Häkkinen. Häkkinen competed in the DTM 2005–2007 and will be in South Africa for this year’s Top Gear Festival as a guest driver.

This spectacular tribute to the 90th Anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours will form just part of a 90 minute extravaganza which takes place on the specially created street circuit in Durban on 15-16 June 2013.

This year’s Top Gear Festival – powered by Shell V-Power, in ‘the warmest place to be’, is expected to attract tens of thousands of petrol heads keen to see the world famous Top Gear presenters, guest drivers and legendary cars in action and take part in this true celebration of all things motoring. Visitors are encouraged to book early so as not to miss the most exciting event on the 2013 entertainment and motoring calendar.

Tickets are likely to sell out once again and are now on sale ranging from the Basic Ticket at R250 to R2100 for an Ultimate Village Package.

For more information on ticket prices or to book visit www.topgearfestival.co.za. For guests that would like to come from further afield, there is a full range of travel packages giving Top Gear enthusiasts the perfect excuse for a weekend in Durban. Ranging from self-drive packages and luxury coach packages to flight packages which include travel, accommodation on a B&B basis in a Southern Sun 3* or 4* Hotel – there is sure to be something to suit every budget and taste.  For more information on travel packages available, go to www.topgearfestival.co.za/tickets/travel-packages or www.edusport.co.za.

Photo by Denese Lups at Franschhoek Motor Museum

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