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Building or restoring replica racing cars is an activity for all ages! In the Savoie region of south-eastern France, 15 young people work with established experts to learn new skills in mechanics and bodywork. The teenage participants make and service racing cars, before learning to drive them.
In the heart of the Savoie region, a large workshop is devoted to building replicas of ‘Le Mans’ type Formula 1 racing cars and prototypes. Clad in their blue overalls, the workshop mechanics are aged between 10 and 16: as members of the not-for-profit association Mini Racing Chambérien, the children are trained in mechanics and bodywork by volunteers – older members and professionals from the trades involved. Launched in 1987, the project is rooted in teamwork across the generations, and the desire to share and pass on a genuine passion.
The young participants learn new skills by working on a fleet of nine cars built from scratch by the association over the years. Today, the cars are being restored and re-fitted to current safety standards by budding mechanics, as part of an after-school and weekend club. The workshops teach multiple skills: mechanics, disassembly, engine cleaning and re-assembly, chassis work, bodywork, painting, electronics, soldering and polyester resin casting. Car maintenance and tuning are also taught.
In addition to acquiring professional skills and complete autonomy, the apprentice mechanics experience work in an exacting, organised environment, in a spirit of respect for others and for the tools of their trade. Once work on a vehicle is complete, participants are given the opportunity to drive it on a closed track – the ultimate reward! The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès supports this project, focused on the transmission of artisan expertise across generations, as part of the second edition of our H³ programme (Heart – Head – Hand).