Trophee Andros - ice racing series attracts world's famous drivers
Trophee Andros (or Andros Trophy) is the French national championship in ice racing with cars, founded in 1990. The championship is named after Andros, the French agro-industrial company and manufacturer of fruits and dairy products. Trophee Andros always took place in winter months between regular racing seasons, so many drivers from other series participated during their off-season.
Yvan Muller and Alain Prost – the greatest stars of ice racing
The most decorated Trophee Andros champion is Yvan Muller, known mostly as the four-time world touring car champion. He triumphed ten times in the ice racing championship between 1996 and 2006. Another legend who conquered ice racing tracks was Alain Prost, the four-time Formula One champion. He was the Trophee Andros champion three times. In recent years, Jean-Phillipe Dayraut was dominating in the championship, collecting six titles.
Electric racing since 2010
Trophee Andros was the first electric racing series in the world, much before some other electric championships like Formula E. Since 2010, a part of the championship is the Trophee Electrique, for electric vehicles. Christophe Ferrier was the champion three times in that category. Other champions were world known racers Nicolas Prost, Nathanael Berthon and Matthieu Vaxiviere.
Inaugural Trophee Andros was held in 1990
The idea of the national ice racing championship was born in the late 1980s when French rallycross champion Max Mamers and Andros company owner Frederic Gervoson met. After few years of unofficial ice racing meetings during the winter months, the inaugural championship started in January 1990. The first ever race was held in the ski resort Serre Chevalier, then three more in Chamonix, Lans en Vercors and Chamrousse. The first winner of the four-round championship was Eric Arpin, who was driving Peugeot 205 T16.
The second championship season started at the end of 1990 and finished in 1991. Since then, the championship was always organized in the same way, starting in one year and finishing in another. The 1991 season had five events, of which one took place in Paris (Pelouse de Reuilly). The champion was Maurice Chomat, who was driving the Citroen AX Sport.
Dany Snobeck took two championship titles
In following two seasons, the champion was French touring car champion and rally driver Dany Snobeck. His victorious car in the ice racing championship was Mercedes 190. Year by year, the championship was growing, expanding to eight rounds in 1999.
The longest championship season was the 2005/2006, with nine events. After that, the number increased to eight again. Currently, championship features seven rounds.
Michele Mouton is among female champions
In 1994, the first female champion was awarded. It was Patricia Bertapelle. A year later, the famous WRC driver Michele Mouton took the title, driving the Opel Astra V6. The lady’s category is still separate class as Trophee Andros Feminin. Some more internationally known female drivers took the title, such were Jutta Kleinschmidt or Marlene Broggi.
Yvan Muller took his first Trophee in 1996
Yvan Muller has won his first Trophee Andros title in 1996, driving the BMW 318. A year before, he won his first touring car title, becoming the French supertouring champion. Parallel to his touring car career, Muller was returning to Trophee Andros every winter, winning six consecutive titles between 1997 and 2002. His championship-winning cars in that period were BMW 318, Opel Tigra and Opel Astra.
In 2003, Marcel Tarres took the title and then Yvan Muller returned to the top, winning three more titles from 2004 to 2006, driving the specially prepared Kia Rio. Alain Prost and Jean-Philippe Dayraut became Muller’s main rivals, taking podium spots in a period when Muller was winning the titles.
Three titles for Prost, six for Dayraut
After Muller left the championship, focusing on the WTCC career, Alain Prost has won his first Trophee Andros title in 2007, driving the Toyota Auris. Prost and Dayraut were the front-runners in the championship, with Prost taking one more title in 2008.
In 2009, Dayraut finally became the champion for the first time, starting the period of his domination. Prost interrupted his reign with one more title in 2012, driving Dacia. Until 2015, Dayraut collected six championship titles and 54 wins, most of all drivers.
Three championship titles for Jean-Baptiste Dubourg
After winning his last two titles with Mini, Dayraut had a problematic season with new Mazda 3, finishing only sixth in the points in 2016. The new champion was Jean-Baptiste Dubourg, who was driving the Renault Clio. The podium was completed by Franck Lagorce and Benjamin Riviere. The positions four and five were taken by DTM driver Adrien Tambay and former F1 driver Olivier Panis. World rallycross star Toomas Heikkinen also participated full season with Mazda 3, finishing seventh in the points.
Jean-Baptiste Dubourg continued his domination in the series and won two more championship titles in 2017 and 2018. Many famous racers participated in the series occasionally or on a full-time schedule, like Romaim Grosjean, Benoit Treluyer, Olivier Panis and his son Aurelien, Nico Prost, Andreas Bakkerud, Nathanael Berthon, Timo Scheider etc.
Poweful cars with 3.0-litre V6 engines
Although cars in the Trophee Andros are bearing the names same as the production cars, that are in a fact silhouette race cars which only looks like production cars, but the technology is completely different. A good example is Dacia Lodgy Glace car. Because of promotional reasons, the car has Dacia name, but it featured four-wheel-drive and middle-mounted 3.0-litre V6 engine with about 340 hp, something that has never seen in normal Dacia.
The same situation is with all current cars in the championship – Renault Clio, Mazda 3, Mini Countryman, BMW M2, Audi A1 quattro and Peugeot 3008.
Seven circuits in Trophee Andros calendar
The recents season featured seven events. It began on the first weekend of December and finished on the last weekend of January or the first weekend of February. The venues are mostly French ski resorts (Val Thorens, Alpe d’Huez, Isola 2000, Serre Chevalier, Lans en Vercors and Super Besse) plus one round in Andorra. In the season 2018-2019, the great finale will take place at Stade de France in Paris.
Val Thorens is the place where most races were held, as Trophee Andros visited that resort for 30 times. Stade de France in Paris hosted the non-championship rounds seven times, the first time in 1999 and the last time in 2011. Except in France and Andorra, Sherbrooke in Canada hosted Trophee Andros races four times between 2003 and 2006.