Renault has announced it has entered five 8 Gordinis in the 17th edition of the Historic Monte-Carlo Rally. The Paris-based automaker chose to race the 8 Gordini because the iconic, rear-engined sports sedan is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Well-known pilot Jean Ragnotti will be racing car number 8, the very same machine that he drove when he made his racing debut at the 1967 Rallye du Vaucluse in southern France. Car number 19 is an uncommon variant powered by a 1.1-liter four-cylinder engine while the other 8s are all equipped with a more common 1.3-liter four-banger rated at 103 horsepower and 86 lb-ft. of torque.
The race kicks off this week in several European cities including Glasgow, Stockholm, Barcelona, Monte-Carlo, Reims and Olso. Renault has chosen to start the event in Reims, France, on the 24th, and the 8s will cross the finish line in Monaco on January 28th.
The Renault-backed 8s will face competition from a wide array of cars including Porsche 911s and 912s, miscellaneous Alpines, numerous Minis, a Daf 66 and even a Lancia Stratos. That being said, the goal of the Historic Monte-Carlo is follow a set schedule as closely as possible and not to drive flat out.
Renault is the only automaker that routinely enters factory-backed cars in the historic rally. Over the years, the automaker’s Classic department has signed up with several 4s, a couple of 5 Alpines and a fleet of Alpine A110s. Renault execs take the event seriously and ex-Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares personally drove one of the A110s last year.
Stay tuned to Ran When Parked for on-site coverage of the Historic Monte Carlo next week.