Classic Racing School: A New Path To Vintage Single-Seaters. The purpose behind The Classic Racing School is easy enough to glean from its name, but it provides more than just a way to learn the basics of driving on an old car around any old race track. The young French entrepreneur behind the project, Julien Chaffard, has created the only full-service curriculum for open-wheel racing enthusiasts looking to connect with the past as they build and hone their talents in vintage machines. We recently visited the school’s facilities near the central French city of Clermont-Ferrand to learn more about this unique program that Julien’s been dreaming up since his childhood.
Located just a few miles from Clermont-Ferrand, the birthplace of Michelin, the school hosts its events at the nearby Circuit de Charade when class is in session during the spring-to-fall season of cooperative weather. Fans of Formula 1 history will be familiar with this legendary racetrack that was part of the championship calendar on and off between 1965 and 1972, when the likes of Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, and Jochen Rindt found victory there, but even with that legacy aside, the circuit is plenty dramatic. Carved into the mountains around an extinct volcano, the course features striking elevation changes that once prompted Sir Stirling Moss to claim, “I don’t know a more wonderful track than Charade.” Not many endorsements go further than that.
The school’s cars—continuation Formula Fords manufactured by the same Crosslé Car Company that built them in the 1960s—combine with the historic circuit to offer one of the most authentic vintage open-wheel experiences this side of a time machine. In today’s film, we talk with the founder and the instructors involved in building a new school of vintage racing.
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