The 26th Tour Auto Optic 2017 Begins in Paris
The 26th Tour Auto Optic 2ooo began this year’s run at the historic Grand Palais in Paris on Monday, April 24. (The Tour runs through the week to April 30.) This exquisite location has been the traditional start of the Tour Auto for many years now, and it provides an all-inclusive atmosphere with two purposes - the 245 entered cars can be prepared, signed in and scrutineered, and manufacturers can show case appropriate product.
Located in the heart of Paris on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Grand Palais is one of the iconic monuments of Paris. Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 and dedicated “by the French Republic to the glory of French art”, it was designated as a historic monument in 2000. The Grand Palais was a resounding success, with praise for its exceptional architectural blend of steel, stone and glass. The monument’s decorative work is lauded as well: it is the work of some 40 then contemporary artists who embellished the facades with statues, polychrome friezes in mosaic and ceramic, ornaments and monumental groups. The Grand Palais is a unique blend of the styles of the Baroque and of Classicism.
Ferrari took the opportunity to showcase its 70th anniversary, with a mammoth display enclosing its latest models. Ferraris are a mainstay of the modern Tour Auto, with dozens of classic Ferraris taking part. Last year, 23 Ferraris were entered, mostly TDFs, SWBs, 275s, Lussos and Dinos, with several 308 Group IV cars. And last year, Martin Sucari drove with his son Francisco in the 250 GT SWB, s/n 3143 GT, and they wrote about their exploits in Cavallino. They will do it again for Cavallino this year.
The next day (Tuesday April 25), the crews left the capital in the early hours of the morning to discover the roads and landscapes of Brittany. On Wednesday, they head south to the Nantes region. The next day the participants will quit the Atlantic coast temporarily and go inland to Limoges and then Toulouse. On Saturday afternoon, they will head for the Basque coast and beautiful Biarritz, where the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo will finish for the eighth time.
Besides the Special Stages, which are run on closed roads, the cars will also have challenges on circuits at Bugatti at Le Mans, then Val de Vienne, Albi and Pau. The total distance is 2500 km (1553 miles). including the 109 km special stages on closed roads.
Information from Peter Auto.
Images from 2016 from Mathieu-Bonnevie, courtesy Peter Auto.