Tour Auto 2010

Date: April 27, 2010

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And here we are to kick off the European season: due to join our friends and share the passion and enthusiasm once again at one of the premier events of the classic car season. The Suixtil team is lined up and rearing to go when … the volcano erupts and we are ashen in the face of such a tragedy to strike: lives at stake and affected in so many ways and our plans in disarray. Will that be the ultimate spanner in the works, will that keep us from joining the fun and long-planned party? Really, all the flights out of Hong Kong to Europe are now cancelled and rescheduled for dates weeks away by which time the Tour will be long over, maybe even the Mille Miglia too. What is one to do? Well, the Suixtil way is to toughen it out, smile in the face of adversity and look for fixes. And here we are, three attempts at flying and as many days later, finally re-routing to Rome and –sheer luck- getting the last flight out, then hopping on trains to cover the last 1000 miles (could that be a coincidence?) first across an Italian countryside (under another glorious weather) that brings back memory from the last classic car party attended there just a year before, making new friends and acquaintances along the way and sharing some laughter and insouciance along the way. The same grit and determination we put in anything Suixtil does, seem to be paying off yet again.

Now of course while it is great to be able to join the feast, our mind keep wandering, wondering and worrying about all our friends (will have they been so fortunate and lucky as us? Will we be meeting them at the appointed times and places? Will they too be OK and able to patch up their itineraries in the face of so much adversity and with such short notices?) and all the other people affected by a natural disaster of a scale hard to comprehend especially when considering that it originates from such spec of an island that has so far only contributed little remarkable to the global community that it might at times appear somewhat aloof. Our thoughts go to them all and we certainly wish a prompt recovery from the disruptions and an efficient return to a normalcy we only realize we badly need when it is threatened.

And now is finally the time to join the scruteneering and find out who made it and if the mood of this great edition of the Tour will be irretrievably spoilt. Let’s remember that by any standard this vintage of the Tour Auto was going to be quite extraordinary: from stunning plateaux on both the regularity and competition side to a spectacular itinerary building in some thrilling specials along with some of the most scenic French routes before ending next to Nice for a closing party of the highest standard, everything was –as usual with the Patrick Peter team – organized to delight and challenge in equal measures drivers and machines alike and make the Tour Auto 2010 a truly unforgettable event that would both bring vividly back some memories of the glorious years past and new thrills that simply were not accessible back then.

The range of beautiful cars on display is certainly something to be marveled out: it reflects both the vivid passion of the participants to the premier event, the talent of the organizer to propose an itinerary that combines natures of competition (scratch / regularity) and itineraries that will challenge and excite both racers and spectators alike and settings that could only be dreamed of. From the scuteneering, buffeted between the Louvres at one end and the Concorde and Arc de Triomphe at the other, to the stops in Vichy, Lyon, Megeve, Le Tholonet and an arrival in Beaulieu sur Mer on the Mediterranean Sea, with passages at such famous tracks as Magny Cours, the Circuit de Bresse, or the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, through mountain passes and closed roads, the Tour Auto has it all. It truly is a competition, whichever category, whatever car has been chosen. The plateaux are just indescribable, with well represented felines, from Jaguars to Panteras outdone by prancing horses (including some of the most prized models of the brand) and German marquee, one does not know where to start looking, the only notable under-represented brand being the trident-ed brand to be found more under the hood of the few SMs enlisted for the grueling challenge rather than on their own chassis, along with their, how appropriate, goddess (DS in French) siblings. That alone speaks volumes of the range and variety of the brands and models enlisted and compliments once again the abilities of the organizers.

The volcano incident has certainly wrecked havoc with some of our friends’ and competitors’ plans and we certainly regret the absence of teams 6, 61 and 65 at least (the curse of the 6 about to be made worse when our friends racing under # 165 are forced to retire from the race after the start of the second stage of the race with a broken engine).

Fortunately, our Suixtil teams racing under the numbers 53 (a stunning 250 GT berlinetta from 1960 in astounding company this year) and 60, a 275 GTB4 from 1967, both cross-generational teams proving once again how contagious our common (though not benign) passion is, are having better luck: not only are they enjoying themselves to the max, but are also performing exceedingly well in this grueling contest of wits, will and endurance (both beast-machines and driving teams running on all cylinders). As a result they cross the finishing line ranked 103rd and 40th respectively.

Did they enjoy the experience? Well, one qualifies it as second to none, while the others already swear to be back next year. And their Suixtil uniforms: we only hear compliments about their functionalities and resilience to the difficult paces they were put through, though that does not come as a surprise considering the attention to details and care we had devoted to their production. All in all, further encouragements for us to keep up the development of our Heritage products and we certainly have exciting plans in this field that we will unveil over the key events of the season.

A conclusion to draw, if only one has to be consigned to be committed to paper: book your place for next year’s edition of the Tour Auto and come challenge yourself and your favorite beauty to a second-to-none event: that exemplifies the Suixtil “at life speed” motto like very few others can - plus you can always plan to then unwind in Monaco, a short spin further, afterwards and recharge your batteries there before heading to the Mille Miglia. Now what could top such a busy schedule?

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