At 76 years old, Gérard Holtz does not seem to take a wrinkle. Retired from television for a few years, the former sports presenter on France Télévisions remains a hyperactive who devotes his days to writing and theater. It is on the occasion of the centenary of the 24 hours of Le Mans that he publishes the official book, 1923-2023: 100 years of legend of the 24 hours of Le Mans (Gründ editions). According to him, this race is the most mythical in the world: "The tickets were sold in two months, 110 countries broadcast the race. It's extraordinary! " explains the specialist. "The circuit is mythical with stories, dramas, twists, Steve McQueen's film... At Le Mans, the spectacle is everywhere: from the grandstands to the stands and the motorhomes that rub shoulders with the Rolls Royce. »
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The car, often singled out by environmentalists, has had bad press for some time. But Gérard Holtz defends the tradition of the 24 hours by recalling what this race has brought to the automotive world: "I am for electric and hybrid of course. But Le Mans is a passion and a tradition. It's also a fabulous lab for Mr. Everybody's cars. Disc brakes, LEDs, fog lights, the white line on the road, hybrids... All this was invented at Le Mans and then installed in cars sold to the public.»
"I just turned down an offer from a DTT channel"
After a career in the public service, Gérard Holtz nevertheless reveals the many proposals of the private sector. All declined so far: "I have never given in to the sirens of the private sector," he explains. I refused TF1, La 5 and Canal+ several times because I was attached to public service. A TNT channel even offered me to come back recently in a wellness show where I would have given recipes of form and energy at my age. But I said no because I am busy with my books and theater with my one-on-one on sport and its secrets. »
Recalling memories of being a journalist, Gérard Holtz also tells this chilling anecdote during a report from Israel more than 40 years ago: "I had shot a film in Jerusalem and I was bringing the film reels to develop them in Paris. But the Israeli Mossad secret servicetook them from me to check if I had put explosives in them. They searched everything with their demining team, it was very impressive!»