Sport et Collection 2016 – year of the TDF
After missing the 2015 edition, the 2016 edition of the Sport & Collection was pretty important for me: I felt like I had to be there. The Sport & Collection 500 Ferrari contre le cancer is one of the biggest and most talked-about charity event in France. It is one of the only events that manages to gather a very impressive amount of great cars (including race cars – it’s the only place in the world I’ve seen the Ferrari 333SP race), which obviously means bringing in a LOT of spectators – and all for a good cause. All the proceeds go to the CHU de Poitiers to help them in their research. If you’re interested in participating & entering a car, or even as a simple visitor, please, check their website out to have all the info you need.
This year was very odd because of two outside elements. First of all, the strikes in France (how unusual, right? so typical) that led to people having trouble to find fuel (this was a bit worrying because without fuel, impossible to go to the event). Second of all, the weather: a lot of rain and floods. Even the highway we were supposed to take was flooded, which led to us taking a different, longer path. Anyways. It was an early thursday morning, and my friend came to pick me up. But this Sport & Collection wasn’t random, because I actually experienced it with a friend’s Ferrari 360 Modena. Seeing the car arrive in my random parisian street was pretty impressive: the engine noise reverberated between the buildings. I felt like the luckiest person in the world, about to embark in a 500km journey to Le Vigeant. Getting inside was fairly easy, and I had massive leg space. The seats adjustments were electronically controlled, which made the whole thing much easier. The V10 worked pretty well. The only real problem I can see with the car were the wipers, which felt a bit old, especially under the rain which made them real loud (how practical, considering you’re supposed to use them in the rain lol).
So we arrived at the event on thursday. Everything was about to get started: trucks were being unloaded, people from the organization were organizing & building some temporary tents & the Village. Some cars were already having fun on the track (a lot of owners arrive a day early to have more fun). Most cars weren’t there. This is cool because it allows you to watch the coming & going of the trucks and all the treasures they might hide. For example, this year we saw the arrival of an awesome “Monaco combo”: LaFerrari, Ferrari F50 & Ferrari 599 GTO. All three cars apparently belonged to the same owners. Why was it easy to know? Mainly because of the “bullet impacts stickers” on the flanks of the cars. You just sort of know. The Ferrari F50 was particularily odd: golden wheels (I don’t mind those that much), the bullet stickers (a bit tacky) AND it had a small propeller under the back plate: this was the detail that kind of killed it for me haha. But hey, to each their own, right? But I would definitely have to get rid of the propeller if I were to buy the car lol. We had some pretty cool aerial views of the cars. All cars were exposed under tents: F40, F50, Enzo, 599 GTO & LaFerrari. In that order. Apparently they tried to bring a 288 GTO as well, to have the “Hyper 5“. But apparently, it’s easier to get your hands on a 599 GTO haha. We hung around the paddocks for a while, then decided it was time for dinner with a few friends. After a well-deserved pizza, we went to our host, and it was time to charge all cameras, shower, and off to sleep.
The week-end would be a very fun one, as with every year. I’ve met some old friends I don’t get to see a lot, spent more time with them, bonded even more. That’s one of the most important things for me in an event nowadays: spending a good time with my mates all the while enjoying the show (and obviously, working, taking pictures & videos to relate everything to you). Some friends were actually camping in a nearby field, and we often went there at the end of the day to chillax and have a cold beer. Thanks for your hospitality, fellas!
Sport et Collection is an incredible event with a LOT of cars. Sure, it’s Ferrari-themed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any other brands represented, as you will definitely see below. However, I feel like Sport et Collection 2016 was the year of the TDF, no doubt. Indeed, there were FIVE different Ferrari F12 TDF (Tour de France) present. One red, one red with a french-flag stripe (it should ring a bell to you), a yellow one, a yellow one with black stripes, a grey one, and a grey one with silver stripes. Basically, each had a different spec, which was pretty interesting, mainly for diversity / photos. All of the F12 TDF would take up the track at least once in the week-end, except one (the yellow with stripes). And I have to admit that an F12 on track looks pretty pretty incredible.
Sport et Collection is one of those events where it basically feels like a small-town event. The people are really nice, both owners and visitors. There is an awesome ambient: you can discuss freely with pretty much everyone, owners included (provided you’re not annoying and pushy – like some people I know lol). You have incredible access to cars, like it was your own home almost. There is a lot of trust, and I wouldn’t see it otherwise for a charity event. People get to have ride in the cars, though it’s the lottery, you can have a Ferrari Mondial just like you can have a ride in an F40 or a 458 Challenge haha!
Sadly, this year the Ferrari 333SP didn’t drive as much as the other years. Also, there were only two units present. I didn’t get as much footage from them as I used to nor would have liked, but you can’t have everything! What made up for the lack of the 333SP action was the presence of a flat black Renault RS01. I remember seeing this race car for the first time during the 2014 Festival Automobile International in Paris, wondering when would be the 1st time I would see it in action. Sadly, it wasn’t during the special Renault competition with all the others from the RS01 gang, but here, alone. Still, it allowed to see how well the car performed against other cars. Of course, it’s all a matter of who’s behind the wheel. But to me, it was quite clear that the Renault RS01 was a pretty brutal car, that seemed to eat everything in its path. One thing I overhead from the pilot will forever stay in my mind: “I’m putting 10s on the 458 Challenge, and I’m not even pushing”. Was he bragging? From what I’ve seen with my own eyes, I don’t think he was. The Renault RS01 is very very efficient. Some say it looks like a modified Audi R8. I can get where that’s coming from, but boy, does it look good! And the sound, oh the sound…
Saturday was the day of the famous “rally”, where some owners join a chill stroll around the french countryside and join a château for lunch. The rally usually takes the whole half of the day, from 7AM to at least until lunch. But it’s not unusual to see the cars come back to the event around 3 or 4PM. I never was a fan of the rally: I much rather stay in the paddocks & pitlane, seeing the cars race. I have less opportunities to see such cars on the race track, than seeing a bunch of Ferrari on a rally, which basically means having one car every 30/40 seconds (sometimes more). I’d rather see a 675LT eating a 991 GT3RS on the straight line haha.
Anyways, any kind of Ferrari was present, every generation. From the older classics (there were at least three Ferrari 275 GTB this year), to more modern cars (Ferrari Enzo, 599 HGTE, F12, F12 TDF…). Obviously every model you could think of was there (give or take lol). Nice little thing this year I noticed: there seemed to be a bit more english cars. Sport et Collection 2016 really seemed to be a great year: it even hosted an official Pirelli race (with a bunch of 355 Challenge, 328 etc).
Sunday was the parade day. This is the moment most people wait for: when MOST of the Ferrari take the track for the parade. It’s usually very scenic (depending on where you position yourself), but undoubtely VERY IMPRESSIVE. Seeing that much Prancing Horses in the same place is always an absolute THRILL. Usually, the classics come first, then the supercars / special cars, followed by “THE HORDE” of Prancing Horses. Your hearts pounds faster, especially when you’re fully aware that you can’t really miss yourself: you have one shot basically considering they only do one lap at slow pace. After that, owners are free to either keep going and do another round, or go back to the paddocks. After the parade, most owners leave because they still have to go back to their respective homes (4/5h road-trip from there to Paris)!
All in all, it was, as usual, an incredible event. Though it felt a bit empty at times this year, I couldn’t deny it: some “big owners” that usually bring a shit load of nice cars didn’t come (like David Piper or Peter Mann, for example). Though Peter Mann was preparing for the 24H of Le Mans, it was probably due to the general ambiant I mentionned earlier (bad weather + fuel problems in France). Another thing that bugs me: the 3G/4G isn’t the best, considering we’re in the middle of nowhere = so it’s a bit hard to get reception sometimes (that makes things more difficult for me, considering I’m trying to bring you LIVE coverage most of the time lol).
But I wouldn’t miss it for the world, I’m simply being a pain. Thaks to everyone who made it possible and shared all those cool moments with me (I’m not going to make a list or say names, I know I will forget people). It was great, and I heavily reccomend you to attend and enjoy this awesome french charity event! 😀