Preview: Le Castellet
The BOSS GP Racing Series is the prime attraction at the Kennol Grand Prix de France Historique from 7 to 9 April 2023 at Circuit Paul Ricard. Formula 1 cars and a former F1 driver will enrich the programme for the season opener.
Legendary cars and drivers come together on the Côte d’Azur at Easter to enjoy racing and reminiscing about the “good old days”. Together with thousands of spectators, they celebrate racing from different eras, including the modern Monposto bolides of the last 25 years from the BOSS GP Racing Series. That racing series that gathers cars of immense material and emotional value and presents them to the spectators in action. All this will happen at the season opener in Le Castellet in front of the eyes of numerous French racing legends. Rene Arnoux, Yannick Dalmas, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Eric Helary, Gerard Larrousse, Franck Montagny and Jean Alesi have announced their participation. The latter will meet his 1997 race car, the Benetton B197 of German Ulf Ehninger (ESBA Racing), at the BOSS GP “Grid Walk”.
Divided into four classes (BOSS GP F1, OPEN, FORMULA, SUPER LIGHTS), 20 drivers and their teams head to Le Castellet for the season opener. There, the first championship points and trophies are at stake. Among them are defending champion Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed) in his Toro Rosso STR1, his team-mate Thomas Jackermeier (GER) in his STR3 and Frenchman Didier Sirgue (LRS Racing) in a Jaguar R2. A dozen GP2 cars (now Formula 2) and AutoGP cars will also try to conquer the notorious Signes bend at the end of the Mistral straight as quickly as possible. However, all eyes will be on the surprise comeback of ex-Formula 1 driver Antonio Pizzonia (BRA). The Austrian team HS Engineering has scored a coup by signing the former Jaguar and Williams driver: “It’s been almost eight years since I last drove a single-seater when I raced in AutoGP with Zele-Racing, and I can’t wait to get the feeling of pushing a single-seater car to the limit again,” says Pizzonia ahead of the season opener. The Brazilian will drive the modified World Series car with a Gibson V8 engine in the OPEN class all season long.
For the BOSS GP Racing Series, there will be two practice sessions on Friday, qualifying and a race on Saturday and another race on Sunday. The races will start after the VIP Grid Walk at 15:15. The race duration on Saturday (20 minutes) differs from that on Sunday (25 minutes) – however, the same number of points will be awarded for both races. But apart from the points and trophies, the main focus of this spectacle is fun, adrenaline and the enthusiasm of the drivers and the fans.
Friday, 7 April
12:20–12:45 Free Practice 1
16:10–16:35 Free Practice 2
Saturday, 8 April
09:35–10:05 Qualifying (divided in two groups)
15:15–15:35 Race 1 (20 minutes)
Sunday, 9 April
15:15–15:40 Race 2 (25 minutes)
all times CEST
Tickets and live stream
Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office. Access to the paddock is included in the ticket price, and the pit lane is open for a pit walk during the lunch breaks on Saturday and Sunday. The supporting programme includes a Formula 1 exhibition and two concerts by the AC/DC cover band “Rock to Hell”. Those who cannot be there have the opportunity to follow a large part of the programme via livestream.
On the racetrack, which was used by Formula 1 until recently, other legendary racing cars will be on display in addition to the BOSS GP Racing Series. Among them are Formula 1 and Formula 2 racing cars from the 1970s and 1980s. They will be joined by the FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup, Formula Ford with cars from before 1993, the Lotus Trophy and endurance racers. The latter will tackle a 6-hour race on Saturday evening.
Pictures: Jean-Marie Biadatti/HVM