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Le Mans Classic 2023 : the centenary summer for Alfa Romeo

Le Mans Classic 2023
Le Mans Classic 2023: the centenary summer for Alfa Romeo

Le Mans Classic 2023 : the centenary summer for Alfa Romeo

Le Mans Classic 2023

From June 29 to July 2, the 11th edition of Le Mans Classic 2023 is being held on the legendary 24 Hours circuit. This essential event in the world of vintage car competition offers tens of thousands of visitors and enthusiasts the opportunity to admire on the Le Mans track the racing cars from the 1920s to those from the end of the 1970s which marked the history of this legendary race.

This is a great opportunity for Alfa Romeo, four-time winner of the competition, to present some of the exceptional models which have made up the brand’s extraordinary sporting adventure, such as that of the Sarthe circuit. This is an all the more beautiful opportunity given that the hundredth anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Circuit is matched by the hundred years of the emblematic Quadrifoglio, which since 1923 has identified the most efficient cars of the Alfa Romeo brand. These are two centenary milestones, essential witnesses to the history of motor racing which will be celebrated this year at the 2023 Le Mans Classic.

On this occasion, four exceptional models, flagships of the collections of the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese, will be exhibited on the brand’s stand: a 6C 3000M from 1953, an extraordinary 33 Stradale prototipo from 1967, a 33/3 Litri “The Mans” from 1970 and a 33 TT 12 from 1975. Alongside them, the latest additions to the range are also present: the very exclusive Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio “100° Anniversario” rub shoulders with a Tonale Rechargeable Hybrid Q4, the first rechargeable hybrid SUV of Alfa Romeo, which personifies the metamorphosis of the brand.

The icing on the birthday cake, the very exclusive Alfa Romeo Giulia SWB Zagato will make its first laps in public during the parade on Saturday morning, July 1. Visitors will be able to discover it as a world premiere at the Builders’ Village. It will be alongside a remarkable Alfa Romeo 33/3 which took part in the 1970 edition of the 24 Hour of Le Mans, adorned with the Autodelta logo, the official team of the Alfa Romeo competition department, which is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this year.

To go even further, Alfa Romeo invites all its fans, the “tribe” of Alfists, to be the protagonists of this unmissable event, Le Mans Classic 2023. From Friday June 30 to Sunday July 2, Alfa Romeo invites its tribe to participate in the second edition of the Alfa Romeo Tribe Days. Three days of pure passion, punctuated by unique events and exclusive driving experiences on the Montlhéry and Le Mans circuits, where some of the most beautiful pages of international motorsport were written.

Le Mans Classic 2023

6C 3000 CM spider (1953)

The “6C 3000 Competizione Maggiorata” (CM), bodied by the Milanese coachbuilder Colli, was born in 1953 in the form of a racing coupe intended for the “sports car” category. This model was designed to participate in the 1953 Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The engine of this racing spider, designed by Giuseppe Busso, takes many elements from the previous 3-liter in-line 6-cylinder, created expressly for the 6C 3000 prototype, but with a displacement increased to 3495 cm3 and power, at resulting from its evolution, 275 hp.

The coupe version came second in the 1953 Mille Miglia, driven by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio, F1 world champion in 1951 with the GP Tipo 158-159 “Alfetta”, and best driver of the Alfa team at the time . The Argentine driver dominated the race but was forced to slow down due to a chassis problem.

The experience at La Sarthe, in June 1953, was still unfortunate for the Alfa Romeo 3000 CM coupe: all the cars withdrew from the race. The main reason is the short time to develop the entire project: the design office has the main and imperative objective of designing and organizing the production of a new compact model, which will become the “Giulietta”.

The spider version, on the contrary, won the first “Gran Premio Supercortemmaggiore”, run in 1953 in Meran, driven by J.M. Fangio. This extraordinary car is usually on display at the Museo Alfa Romeo. The car on display is equipped with disc brakes fitted in 1955 by the R&D department.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale prototype (1967)

On the basis of the Tipo 33/2 with multiple competition victories, a small series of 18 coupes was created between 1967 and 1969, for the road, with a fascinating aluminum body designed by Franco Scaglione.

Legendary model having marked the history of Alfa Romeo, but also of the Automobile, both by its rarity and by its sculptural beauty, it is one of the rare road cars born after the racing model, inheriting excellent technical solutions which, fifty years later, can still overshadow those of sophisticated modern cars. Its design, the quintessence of automotive beauty, is almost indescribable: it is embodied by the balance of forms, the purity of the lines, the elegance of every smallest detail.

The original chassis, from the competition, is made up of three large aluminum alloy tubes, with a diameter of 20 cm, arranged to form an asymmetrical “H”. Two cast magnesium frames are therefore attached to the ends: the front supports the suspension and pedals, the rear supports the engine, transmission and suspension. The fuel tanks, made of rubber, are housed in the chassis tubes.

Compared to the competition version, the 33 Stradale is distinguished by a wheelbase extended by 10 cm and a chassis reinforced by sheet steel in the passenger compartment, as well as by equipment and finishes adapted to use on road.

Even the engine – a two-liter V8-90° – has been “softened” and brought down to 230 hp. (compared to the 270 hp of the prototype version), while being able to push the car up to 260 km/h.

Le Mans Classic 2023

Alfa Romeo 33/3 l Le Mans (1970).

Alfa Romeo’s return to sports car racing in 1967, with the “Tipo 33” project, was part of an evolutionary process that would last ten years. After the successful debut of the two-liter car at Fléron, and before the big victories of 1968, Autodelta designed a new version of the V8 engine, with a capacity of three liters, in order to compete for overall victories.

Things looked promising, but during the car’s debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1969, it was forced to retire. During the season, it won two victories (Zeltweg and Pergusa) and in 1970, the Autodelta team consolidated the development of the 33/3.

The car prepared for the following year was revised in depth: the engine developed 420 hp, the gearbox was redesigned, the weight was reduced to 650 kg and a completely new bodywork was created.

1971 was the year of all victories: 1000 km of Brands Hatch (De Adamich-Pescarolo), Targa Florio (Vaccarella-Hezemans) and 6 hours of Watkins Glen (De Adamich-Peterson) were the main prestigious victories that propelled Alfa Romeo in second place in the World Manufacturers’ Championship.

Le Mans Classic 2023

Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12 (1975)

The 33 TT 12 made its debut at the 1000 km of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5, 1973, when the World Manufacturers’ Championship was at its peak, with significant commitment from the most prestigious brands, like of Alfa Romeo and its competition division, “Autodelta”.

If the name “33”, present on the circuits since 1967, evokes a legendary racing car, the “TT” means “Telaio Tubolare” (tubular chassis) – derived from the previous “33 TT3”, with a V8-90 engine °. As for the “12”, it represents the number of cylinders of the new 3-liter flat-12 engine, capable of exceeding the power of 500 hp. The bodywork features unusual aerodynamics and an unmistakable aesthetic, made of two side fins and a large air intake above the engine hood.

The 1973 season was devoted, by decision of Autodelta technicians, to the complete development of the new car and, the following year, the 33 TT 12 reaped its first successes, notably first place at the 1000 km of Monza.

In 1974, the management of Alfa Romeo decided to participate in the 24 hours of Le Mans, in order to beat Team Matra, its first real competitor. During the qualifying session in March, Merzario and his 33 TT 12 took off with a lap achieved in 3′ 31″ 000, or 4 seconds ahead of Matra. But, for organizational reasons, Alfa Romeo and Autodelta decide not to participate.

The 1975 season was the golden age of the 33 TT 12. The best drivers took the wheel of the “TT 12” and won the coveted World Manufacturers’ Championship. Merzario, the most talented, Andretti, Bell, Brambilla, Ickx, Laffite, Mass, Pescarolo, Scheckter, Vaccarella, Watson.