A British driver hurtling through northern France in a Ferrari was caught going 265km/h (165mph) during a clandestine race at the weekend as part of a car rally across Europe, local authorities said on Monday.
The 51-year-old driver was one of six given tickets for going at least 150km/h on the A26, known as the “British motorway”, which links the port city of Calais with the eastern cathedral town of Reims.
Another man, 57, was caught doing 205km/h in his McLaren, well above the 130km/h limit.
They were participating in the Modball rally, an annual event with the motto: “Drive all day … Party all night!”
Organisers did not respond to requests for comment, but the Modball website said this year’s rally began on Sunday with the first leg of the journey running from London to Paris.
The website said drivers were not supposed to race but it hadn’t stopped dozens from competing to be the first to arrive at the daily destinations during the week-long event.
Three drivers were caught going 230km/h on the same highway during the 2016 edition of the rally.
“It’s an official rally, but what isn’t really official is the speed – they say everyone is free to drive the way they want,” one driver in a French two-man team told AFP.
“I respect the 130km/h limit in France, so at most I’ll do 150km/h,” he said.
This year’s Modball involves 180 modified speedsters heading from London to Paris, Lyon, Monaco, Venice and Vienna, where the rally is set to wrap up on Friday.
The race fee of nearly £3,000 per person – or £4,000 for the luxury package – also gives participants access to lavish parties, though the Modball website stipulates they are not “required to drink alcohol”.
“I’ve paid €15,000 (£13,200) to participate,” said the French driver, who asked to remain anonymous, citing food and gas expenses.
He said he had rounded up sponsors to help offset the costs, putting their logos on his car, a colourful Mini.
“I even got a porn site, because I wanted to laugh a bit. You might as well have something crazy,” he said.
Organisers insisted they had not encouraged speeding at the event.
“We focus on the events each night and keep driving time down to ensure safe journeys between cities,” they said on the Modball Facebook page.
Four of the drivers stopped on Sunday were temporarily prohibited from driving in France, and were only allowed to continue after their teammates took their place.
The Ferrari and McLaren drivers were fined €750 each and will have to appear in court at a later date in nearby Saint-Omer, prosecutors said.
The other drivers stopped by authorities were issued standard speeding tickets.