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The world's best sports car show

By

August 20, 2009

Le Castellet is the circuit built by Paul Ricard

Le Castellet is the circuit built by Paul Ricard

Imagine a sports car show held not in an exhibition center, but at the safest racetrack in the world, so the cars can be appreciated in their natural surroundings, without speed limits. The first "International GT & Supercar Show" will be held at Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France on September 26 and 27. Exhibitors include Ferrari, Gumpert, Koenigsegg, Ad Tramontana, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, F&M, Morgan, Audi Wiesmann, Spyker, Mosler, Pagani, Porsche, Saleen, TVR, Yes, Venturi, Alfa Romeo Zagato, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Castagna Milano, Maserati, Lotus, Lightning and Tesla.

Auto shows have been with us for a century, and they're one of the most publicly anticipated events on the technology calendar each year because they directly relate to the average person. You can see all the latest cars in one place at one time, and personal transport is seen as a right in most developed countries. A static display however, is not the ideal environment in which to view or evaluate a machine designed to move, and it becomes less ideal for every extra kmh in top speed that an exhibiting car can do. Accordingly, the upcoming GT Supercar Show's choice of venue threatens to break the mold for supercar shows – it's being held at the Le Castellet circuit in the South of France, on a plateau overlooking the Mediterranean.

Le Castellet is the circuit built by Paul Ricard , the man who made billions of francs from the aniseed alcoholic liqueurs, Pernod Anise and Ricard Pastis. Ricard's ability to make money was only rivaled by his eccentricity, and as a motorsport fan, when he retired in 1968, he set out to build not just one of the iconic race circuits in the world, but also the safest circuit in the world. The circuit began hosting the French Formula One Grand Prix in 1971 and remained part of the F1 rotation until 1990. It is known for many things, but the legendary "Mistral Straight" is perhaps the best known feature of the Le Castellet circuit - when it was first built, the gunbarrell 1800 metre straight saw some of the highest speeds achieved on any racetrack due to its length and the afternoon sea-breeze which blows directly behind cars (and bikes) at a significant rate.

Just recently reopened after a major (monumental) upgrade, it is now known as the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track (Paul Ricard HTTT) and was officially recognised as the first model circuit by the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety. Now that all the technical upgrades and refinements are in place, it is arguably the safest racetrack in the world. Rebuilding the grandstands in recent times, it is to hold a round of the FIA GT Championship in October and is again in the reckoning for taking the F1 French Grand Prix. Prior to the incredibly comprehensive upgrade, it hosted 14 Formula One French Grands Prix, 22 Bols d'Or events, and 12 World Motorcycle Championship MotoGP events so it's likely to quickly return to the forefront of motorsports.

With its innovative facilities, it's the perfect place to try out a GT or Supercar, and it's so much more relevant as the venue for a supercar show. We expect the first "International GT & Supercar Show" will indeed create a trend which will be mimicked around the world.

The manufacturers of said GT and Supercars obviously agree with the concept of the show. The following makes will be exhibiting their wares and offering suitably qualified prospective customers a drive at the GT Supercar show: Ferrari, Gumpert, Koenigsegg, Ad Tramontana, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, F&M, Morgan, Audi Wiesmann, Spyker, Mosler, Pagani, Porsche, Saleen, TVR, Yes, Venturi, Alfa Romeo Zagato, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Castagna Milano, Maserati, Lotus, Lightning and Tesla.

The circuit even has its own airstrip for those who need to travel some distance.

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