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Grand prix glamour and beyond

Thousands of spectators and cars will flock to the Riviera at the end of May for this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, to catch a glimpse of the exhilarating Formula 1 race.

The layout of the Principality of Monaco means it will be transformed into a natural arena between 23rd – 26th May, allowing throngs of spectators to look down on and feel part of the action.

The jewel of the Formula 1 crown

Not only one of the most glamorous races in the F1 calendar, Monaco is also one of the shortest and the oldest, with the first competition held back in 1929. Despite new rules and new drivers over the years, it is this long-standing and significant history of motor-sport – coupled with a unique race course – that makes Monaco Grand Prix such an exceptional event.

The 3.3 kilometre track passes through the heart of Monte Carlo, along the tight and twisting streets and right in front of the Monte Carlo Casino, with the 19 corners making overtaking notoriously difficult. Drivers must change gear a staggering 54 times per lap at Monaco, meaning more than 4,200 changes over the course of the race.

It’s easy to understand why Brazilian F1 champion Nelson Piquet once declared that “a win here was worth two anywhere else”. No other Grand Prix offers more spills and thrills, demonstrated by the infamous 1982 race which saw five lead changes take place in the last two laps – possibly the most eventful finish in F1 history.

Exploring the French Riviera by car – in style

While there’s an undisputed thrill to spectating, motoring enthusiasts will agree nothing beats the feeling of getting behind the wheel themselves – and where better than the scenic coastal roads along the Riviera.

This summer, you might wish to try taking it up a gear by hiring a vintage convertible. Rent a Classic Car offers a fleet of iconic vehicles, including a Jaguar E-type roadster, a Corvette C1 and an Austin-Healey 100/6, or Riviera Classic Car Hire offers legendary motors such as an Alfa Romeo Duetto, an Aston Martin DB9 and a Morgan 4/4.

Once behind the wheel of a stylish automobile, there are plenty of spectacular routes to explore. Drive along the Corniche de l’Esterel, running from La Napoule to St-Raphael, with vast rocks rising up high on one side and the Mediterranean Sea sparkling brightly in the sun on the other. Venturing further, follow the road east from Nice to Monaco itself (avoiding joining the Grand Prix, of course) which is beyond praise. Take time to stop at St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and the Villa Ephrussi, the villages of Villefrance-sur-Mer and Beaulieur-sur-Mer, and the perched village of Eze with its exotic garden and fabulous Chevre d’Or Hotel.

As a Parc du Cap resident, whether you own a vintage vehicle or a little run-around, you’ll sleep safely in the knowledge the development provides secure underground car parking and 24-hour security.

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