Dix Mille Tours Du Castellet | 19-20 October 2019

Fresh off claiming the BTCC Independents’ Drivers Title at Brands Hatch I set off for Paul Ricard in France to compete in the prestigious classic race, Dix Mille Tours Du Castellet.

I was super excited to get out there as I was not only competing in the 2.0 Cup in a 1965 Porsche 911, but also the Sixties’ Classic Endurance in a 1962 Jaguar Semi Lightweight E-Type. I’ve done quite a lot of driving in both cars these past two years assisting both Classic Performance Engineering and Tuthills Porsche with chassis development.

Porsche

Both races were very different, with the 2.0 Cup being a single make series purely for pre- 1966 Porsche 911’s, whereas the Sixties’ Classic Endurance is a multi-class 2 hour endurance race with cars ranging from fire breathing AC Cobras all the way down to MG Midgets. With a total of 93 cars taking part it made for some interesting racing!! The Jaguar was in the second from top class just below the Cobras but we were planning on doing some giant killing!

My co driver William and I qualified 3rd for both races, giving us a great opportunity to fight for silverware. I started both stints and managed to get to the front of both fields early on and pulled significant gaps to the cars behind. In the 2.0 Cup we were pegged back with a 50 second penalty due to my professional status, which meant William dropped down the order during the pit stop but did a great job to secure 8th overall in the 37 car field. In the Sixties’ Classic Endurance there is no such penalty, so William held on to my lead after the driver change and battled hard, carving his way through the back markers and fought off the powerful opposition. It was so busy, at times it felt like the M25. With 20 minutes to go he accelerated past the pit wall with a distinct misfire and we sensed something was wrong. The car then cut out on him and after pulling to the side of the track he was unable to get it restarted, which was such a blow. We had been on for an overall podium in a Class 2 car and it was snatched away from us with only 20 minutes remaining!

Rory Butcher Jaguar

Despite our obvious disappointment, we really enjoyed the whole experience. I absolutely love the feeling of racing these cars as they require so much driver input with zero driver aids. Unlike modern race cars, a little over steer is a positive thing and is often the fastest way! The noise of the engines on full power give you that warm feeling inside as you chase the throttle!

We were very proud of how we performed in both events and are lining up further classic events in 2020.

Rory Butcher