How To Do The Historic Grand Prix Monaco

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The Historic Grand Prix – An Alternative to the Main Monaco Grand Prix

The Monaco Grand Prix is probably the premier motorsport event each year. Usually run around the end of May or early June, everyone who’s anyone in motorsport flocks to Monaco for the 3 day event.

While it would be amazing to do that 3 days, it is often just out of reach for us mere mortals who don’t earn high six figures a year.

The Monaco Classique Grand Prix is an amazing alternative.

What is the Monaco Historic Grand Prix?

The Monaco Historic Grand Prix (also known as the Classique Grand Prix) is held every 2 years. Usually 2 weeks before the main grand prix event, the Historic features all the pre and post war cars and bikes that would have been racing during their time frame.

Held on the iconic streets of Monaco, this event showcases a spectacular collection of vintage racing cars from different eras, competing on the same challenging circuit that hosts the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. The atmosphere is quite incredible as the roar of engines and the scent of motor oil fills the air.

Its a nostalgic experience that captivates both seasoned racing fans and newcomers like me alike.

One of the main reasons to attend the Monaco Historic Grand Prix is the opportunity to witness legendary cars in action. From pre-war Grand Prix machines to classic Formula 1 cars of the 1970s, the event features a diverse array of vehicles meticulously restored to their original glory.

Watching these historic cars navigate the tight corners and steep inclines of Monaco’s street circuit is a sight to behold, offering a rare glimpse into the evolution of automotive engineering and design.

Beyond the races, the event provides a unique chance to explore the rich history of motorsport in a glamorous setting. Monaco, known for its luxury and elegance, adds an extra layer of allure to the experience.

Visitors can enjoy the stunning Mediterranean views that are everywhere, along with some fine dining, and upscale accommodations that the principality has to offer. The Historic Grand Prix also attracts a community of passionate car enthusiasts, making it a perfect occasion to meet like-minded individuals, share stories, and revel in the shared love for classic motorsport.

Attending the Monaco Historic Grand Prix is not just about the races; it’s about immersing yourself in a celebration of automotive heritage.

The list of races has changed over the years and is now as below.

  • Series A: Pre-war “Voiturettes” and Grand-Prix Cars, up to 1939
  • Series B: Formula 1 and Formula 2 Grand Prix Cars, manufactured before 1961
  • Series C: Sports Cars that ran from 1952 to 1957
  • Series D: F1 Grand Prix Cars – 1500cc, from 1961 to 1965
  • Series E: F1 Grand Prix Cars – from 1966 to 1972
  • Series F: F1 Grand Prix Cars – from 1973 to 1976
  • Series G: F1 Grand Prix Cars – from 1977 to 1980

The race is run on the even years so biannually with the next one now due in 2026.

Monaco's stunning weather for the Historic Grand Prix
Monaco’s stunning weather for the Historic Grand Prix

Our Experience With The Monaco Historic Grand Prix

As long as I’ve known Brad he has talked about doing the Grand Prix in Monaco. the year he turned 50 I thought “what better time” and started investigating it. ​OMG – that is ridiculously crazy expensive.

To give you an example, to view the race from a Yacht (they back them into the port near the main straight) is on average €2,800 per person for the Sunday which is race day. That’s nearly $5600 AUD per person to watch a race for 6 hours. $11,000 for us both. Yeah – I think not!

Packages would have worked out to be around $35,000 AUD for us to spend 3 nights and do one day of race viewing. That’s crazy money and there was no way I was going to spend that for a long weekend. Especially how I usually travel. That could last me almost a year!

​Disappointed, I started searching for alternatives and found that Monaco also hosts the Classique Grand Prix which is run every three years. The Classique Grand Prix is all the older traditional cars and is WAY more our style.

The view of the Fairmont Hairpin from our VIP viewing room
The view of the Fairmont Hairpin from our VIP viewing room

​I managed to find a package with Senate Grand Prix, an English company that was 80% more affordable than the main Grand Prix.

We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel smack in the middle of things, and had free viewing from the pool deck of the “Fairmont Hairpin” which was really great. Three nights at the hotel was £1,650.00 which would be more now for sure but the Fairmont over the main race weekend was about $3000 USD per night.

The Fairmont Hotel Monte Carlo
The Fairmont Hotel Monte Carlo

I booked us in to the VIP suite at the Fairmont for the Sunday which was overlooking the track at the Fairmont hairpin, had complimentary food and drink, and a maximum of 16 people. I think there were maybe 8 of us so it was a great day spent with some lovely people.​ That was £1,200.00 for both of us so again, a great deal compared to the main race weekend.

What Sort Of Cars Race in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix?

​The races started out with the pre-war cars and built up to the late 70’s slot style cars we are used to. I loved how traditional everything was right up to the cigarette sponsorship. I’m sure its not ethically correct now days, but it was great to see the cars in their purest form.

A 1980's race car complete with cigarette sponsorship
A 1980’s race car complete with cigarette sponsorship

The Classic Grand Prix isn’t like the normal one, its lots of shorter races over the day so you spend from 9am till around 4pm watching the racing.

After the Saturday event some of the cars are showcased in Le Parc Spelugues in front of the Casino which was really great. Drivers were happy to talk to everyone, the history of the cars and info about current owners was available and it was a really cool thing to see.

Some vintage cars on display in the forecourt of the Fairmont Hotel
Some vintage cars on display in the forecourt of the Fairmont Hotel

You could also go down to the pits and wander around there (in the appropriate areas) in the evenings as well, which was Brad’s favourite thing I think.

I found the Historic Grand Prix great value for money compared with the horrendously expensive standard Grand Prix and the variety of cars, ages and speeds kept things interesting throughout the day.

An older car racing in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix
An older car racing in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix

Notes About The Monaco Classique Grand Prix

Senate Grand Prix has varying packages with different hotels, however if you can spring for it, try and stay at the Fairmont. It is wonderful to be in the middle of everything and the Fairmont VIP Suite is only available to Senate Grand Prix guests that are staying in the hotel.

Being able to not have to walk anywhere after a day of racing was divine. We did walk around of course but I had ruptured a tendon in my foot the week prior so on the days I just couldn’t it was really great to not have to go far at all.

Beware though, the Fairmont is inside the track so you have quite a roundabout way to get in and out of the precinct.

Stairs are prevalent everywhere in Monaco so if you are not able to do stairs confirm with Senate Grand Prix first as to your options. You might be better to stay in Nice and just train it in every day.

Stairs are the order of the day in Monaco
Stairs are the order of the day in Monaco

Wrapping Up: The Monaco Historic Grand Prix

This is an excellent way to experience both Monte Carlo and a grand prix event without shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for the main Grand Prix. Would I like to do the main Grand Prix – of course, but this was a really great long weekend.

Whether you’re a die-hard racing fan, a history buff, or someone looking for a unique and memorable experience, the Monaco Historic Grand Prix promises to deliver excitement, elegance, and an unforgettable journey through the annals of motorsport history.

If you wanted to take it even further into the budget realm, consider staying in Nice and just training it in and out each day. We stayed at the Jay Hotel for a few days before we went on to Monaco and loved it. It is in a fabulous location and a very nice boutique hotel. I did write a review on it which you can find via the link above.

The guest lounge in the Jay Hotel Nice
The guest lounge in the Jay Hotel Nice
Our bedroom at the Jay Hotel Nice
Our bedroom of the Jay Hotel Nice

Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She’s always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.