Ludovic Caron has won the Tour Auto twice. For the 27th event he teamed up with Denis Giraudet, whose impressive results include a victory in the Tour of Corsica in the World Rally Championship. Unfortunately, their beautifully turned out AC Shelby Cobra suffered mechanical problems at the start of the second leg and finally gave up the ghost in the fourth. Outside these two incidents the crew in no. 208 gave it their all and thrilled the spectators with performances in keeping with their reputation. Out of the six timed stages in which they took part they finished in the first four on four occasions.
After karts and Formula Ford, Caron took up historic car racing at the age of 20. Motivated by this burgeoning passion, he set up his own restoration and race preparation workshop. We listened to his thinking about entering a car like the AC Shelby Cobra in the Tour Auto.
Why does a driver choose a certain historic car rather than another? A family memory or an idol from the past? “Ford was the first mass production car manufacturer to use motor racing as a large-scale communications tool. That’s why I was attracted to the AC Cobra. In the early 60s, this car was the ephemeral starting point of a saga continued with the Ford GT40 in 1966. This story really thrills me. I like the AC very much; its lines, its brutal aspect both in terms of its performance and its look. It’s the first real muscle car. Once you’ve tried it you become completely addicted! I began in 2001 and I still feel the same pleasure behind the wheel.”
To tackle an event like the Tour Auto in-depth preparation is necessary, which includes elements that are more modern than the car itself. “Today, some parts like the pads and rings are manufactured with better-quality material than at the time. The engine oil supplied to me by Motul is much much better than the products in the 60s. So although you have performances that are not any better than the original ones the overall level of reliability is superior and you can maintain the maximum level of performance over a longer period. The Tour Auto is a gruelling rally. You come across traffic on the liaison sections. In the special stages and on the circuits you’re flat out! ”
Motul is supporting the Tour Auto and Ludovic Caron’s C2C racing team was one of Motul’s technical partners in the 27th running of the rally.
Photo Credit: © Julien Philippy