Lead­ing the Pack

Richard Mille roars into pole po­si­tion with its sus­tained sup­port for the pres­ti­gious Le Mans Clas­sic mo­tor­sport ex­trav­a­ganza,

Singapore Tatler - - STYLE - ob­serves Ter­ence Lim

The smell of burnt rub­ber wafts through the air, the mood is com­pet­i­tive and the con­cen­tra­tion in­tense. For those who have vis­ited the Cir­cuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, the French hal­lowed grounds of mo­tor­sport, rac­ing is more than just a com­pe­ti­tion, it is a re­li­gion. And Richard Mille, founder of the epony­mous watch brand, is happy to be part of this “re­li­gious pro­ces­sion”. His ob­ses­sion with cars is well-doc­u­mented and his ap­petite for speed in­sa­tiable. This ex­plains why the Swiss man­u­fac­ture has been the of­fi­cial part­ner of the Le Mans Clas­sic since the in­au­gu­ral race in 2002. The Le Mans Clas­sic is a bi­en­nial vin­tage sports car event held in July at the Cir­cuit de la Sarthe, which also holds the leg­endary en­durance race, 24 Hours of Le Mans. What makes the series spe­cial is that it only al­lows cars that meet cer­tain re­quire­ments to com­pete. The cars must have par­tic­i­pated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans be­tween 1923 and 1981, and they are cat­e­gorised ac­cord­ing to six dif­fer­ent eras.

Also, the drivers must own a Fédéra­tion In­ter­na­tionale de l’au­to­mo­bile (FIA) in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion li­cence, which cer­ti­fies drivers at a pro­fes­sional level. To spice things up, the race or­gan­is­ers, Peter Auto and the Au­to­mo­bile Club de l’ouest, have added new cat­e­gories to the event. Group C, which only com­prises Le Mans rac­ing cars from 1982 to 1993, was added dur­ing the last edi­tion in 2016, while this year’s race saw the in­tro­duc­tion of the Global En­durance Le­gends grid that sees the Grand Tourer 1s and Le Mans Pro­to­type 1s

For those who have vis­ited the Cir­cuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, the French hal­lowed grounds of mo­tor­sport, rac­ing is more than just a com­pe­ti­tion, it is a re­li­gion

from the 1990s and 2000s com­pet­ing. The lat­est for­mat now sees a whole host of rides (man­u­fac­tured un­til 2016) that have prior Le Mans ex­pe­ri­ence go­ing full throt­tle on the 13km-long cir­cuit. Flag­ging off the ninth edi­tion of the Le Mans Clas­sic were two house­hold names in mo­tor­sport: For­mula One leg­end Felipe Massa and famed rally driver Sébastien Loeb, both Richard Mille am­bas­sadors. Join­ing them at the rac­ing ex­trav­a­ganza were Richard Mille him­self; for­mer Chelsea star Di­dier Drogba, who flagged off the Lit­tle Big Mans, the race for chil­dren from seven to 12 years old; and Mike Fle­witt, CEO of Mclaren Au­to­mo­tive, whose 570S Sports Series and 720S Su­per Series thrilled spec­ta­tors on the tracks. As per tra­di­tion, Richard Mille in­tro­duced a sporty ticker to com­mem­o­rate the Le Mans Clas­sic. Only 150 pieces of the sporty and highly mas­cu­line RM 11-03 Le Mans Clas­sic, which fea­tures a fly­back chrono­graph ca­pa­ble of tim­ing laps, will pro­duced world­wide. To add to its mo­tor­sport flavour, the watch sports ac­cents of the leg­endary Bri­tish rac­ing green on the crown, the rims of the sub­di­als and on the tachy­met­ric scale. This year also saw the brand launch an­other in­ter­est­ing project at Le Mans:

Richard Mille col­lab­o­rated with famed photo agency DPPI and pub­lisher Edi­tions Cer­cle d’art to pro­duce a book ti­tled Car Rac­ing 1965. The tome fea­tured im­pres­sive pho­tos of the Le Mans cir­cuit that have never been pub­lished be­fore. An ex­hi­bi­tion show­case at the rac­ing vil­lage gave at­ten­dees a chance to re­live the his­tory of the Sarthe track and im­merse them­selves fur­ther in the ex­hil­a­rat­ing at­mos­phere. Richard Mille’s tight-knit as­so­ci­a­tion with fast cars and mo­tor races is prov­ing to be ben­e­fi­cial for both brand­ing and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. Not only is the brand

speak­ing to the right au­di­ence at the races, it gets to ex­tract de­sign in­spi­ra­tion from the cars and the mo­tor­sport world to cre­ate its watches. It seems like a win-win sit­u­a­tion for Richard Mille and chances of it over­tak­ing the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion to snatch the che­quered flag looks like a done deal.

PEDI­GREE TIME The case of the Richard Mille RM 11-03 Le Mans Clas­sic is made of ATZ white ceramic, an ox­ide al­loy that boasts im­mense strength, while its cal­i­bre RMAC3 move­ment is crafted from grade 5 ti­ta­nium with dif­fer­ent fin­ish­ings on the var­i­ous com­po­nents

PETROL­HEADS UNITED The Le Mans Clas­sic pro­vides Richard Mille the per­fect plat­form to prop­a­gate its brand mes­sage to a group of well-heeled and af­flu­ent men, who share the brand’s pas­sion for speed

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.