From 13 to 15th May, the streets of Monaco will be transformed into the same legendary circuit where the current Formula 1 Grand Prix race is held. With one big difference: this time there won’t be high-tech cars buzzing around but classic F1 cars from the pre-war era up to the 1980s. Motul-backed Ten Tenths Racing, owned by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, will defend the Italian colours with their glorious Maserati 250F, driven by Marino Franchitti. We sat down for a talk with chief engineer Ben de Chair.
Ben, you are the chief engineer at Ten Tenths Racing. For those among us not familiar with the company, what is Ten Tenths Racing?
We’re a private company specialising in classic motorsport racing. The owner and my employer, Nick Mason, started collecting historic racecars over 40 years ago. His philosophy has always been that racecars, even when they are older, are meant to be driven, not to be kept and stored as garage queens. Nick has been a passionate racer all his life. Over the years he invested a lot in this collection, which consists of approximately 30 historic and iconic racecars, among them several Ferraris, prewar Aston Martin Ulsters from the 1930s, the legendary Maserati 250F and many others. Our company participates at key classic race events worldwide such as the Goodwood Revival, Le Mans Classic and now the upcoming Monaco Historic Grand Prix.
What is your role as chief engineer?
I have a background as a car restorer, race preparer and builder and have travelled the world to do so for race teams in the past. My job, together with my team of technically-skilled colleagues, Andy Maggs and Al Clark, is to preserve the collection, to prepare the cars and to tune them to perfection so they are at their best to participate at these historic races. I also enjoy keeping the social media content alive with my passion for photography.
You’re bringing a glorious car to the Monaco Historic Grand Prix next week, the Maserati 250F. What’s the story behind this icon?
We never participated with this car at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix before. The car is considered one of the most legendary F1 racers from the past, taking part in the 2.5-litre F1 competition from 1954 until 1960, following the footsteps of Juan Manuel Fangio and the late, great Sir Stirling Moss, who once stated that the 250F was the best front-engined F1 car he ever drove. Marino Franchitti will defend our colours in Monaco. I have high hopes. No pressure!
Will you be aiming for a victory?
Always, but with a level head. Other teams may be better prepared for this track and have developed their car setup for it. The track will be new to us with the Maserati. We’re aiming for the finish and of course a good result. Let’s see what happens. We will learn and make progress for the next time.
How does Ten Tenths Racing and Motul collaborate?
In our workshop we have some of the finest classic cars in the world. Our partnership is a very technical one. We race hard with our classic cars, therefore, we only go for the best possible partners. We have been using Motul for years now. We use their fluids for all of our cars; engine oil, brake fluid, Motul gear and, if one of our engine builders is in doubt, we send the oil to the Motul lab for an extensive oil analysis. It’s a very helpful service. The engines are very precious, and we meticulously take care of them. In the future, we’ll also be looking into the Motul Car Care products and the BioClean programme. It is reassuring for us mechanics to keep using the same premium lubrications for all our cars. We’re very happy with the Motul partnership and push Motul in every way we can when out with the cars and on our social media.
© Pictures: @benoslens