For logistical and, let’s be honest, financial reasons, there are quite a few annual motoring events that we only get to see and read about via news reports and photo galleries. While some members of the current CAR team have very gratefully attended one or two of the more high-profile events such as Le Mans and Goodwood Festival as guests of various manufacturers, there are still plenty of dream trips out there that surely need to be experienced first hand just once in a petrolhead’s lifetime.
Here’s what the CAR team thinks. For the purpose of this article, we assumed that we could both afford the trip and call on a few favours to gain VIP passes (‘cos that’s how we like to roll).
Hannes Oosthuizen – Sultan of Brunei’s collection
I would like to see the Sultan of Brunei’s entire car collection for myself. There has been such a lot of mystery and rumour about the collection, and recently report that he has started selling some of the cars, but I’d like to see what treasures there are for myself. Reportedly he owns up to 5000 cars, many of which he has never driven, and they’re scattered all over the world. The video below shows just a small part of the collection. He has, reportedly, more than 350 Rolls-Royces, eight McLaren F1s, 6 Dauer 962 LMs, the only right-hand drive Mercedes CLK-GTR in the world and also a Jaguar XJR-15. Most interestingly, he has a number of cars built exclusively for him, such as Ferrari and Aston Martin Estate cars.
Nicol Louw – Goodwood Festival of Speed
As some of the favourite events have already been taken I decided to choose the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Even though I lived in the UK for six years I have never attended this event (and kick myself for it). The festival was first run in 1993 by the Earl of March on his own grounds as a hill climb event. Lord March desperately wanted motorsport to return to Goodwood and this event was a huge success from the start. The winning recipe is to invite celebrity drivers and historic cars (from all genres) to compete in the hill climb and allow spectators to get close to the action. Although some competitors take the event very seriously, the idea of the day is to have fun. Many manufacturers are also joining the party these days by showing off latest prototypes for marketing purposes. It is the only place in the world where a 1960s Formula One car follows a Group B rally car up the hill! With the UK being obsessed health and safety laws it is nice to attend an event where the general public can mingle with the drivers and their machines.
Wilhelm Lutjeharms -Isle of Man TT
The Isle of Man TT has grabbed my attention several years ago, but late last year I experienced the final nail in the coffin. After watching the documentary movie Closer to the Edge, I realised this is simply one of those events that as a petrolhead and/or motorcyclist you cannot afford to miss. You can only be in awe when you watch these racers risk their lives on the island’s famous Tourist Trophy (TT) route. The fact that some of the island’s roads don’t have a speed limit is also very appetising.
Sudhir Matai – Bonneville Speed Week
There are few places on Earth like the Salt Flats at Bonneville. The uninterrupted view spans so far that one can see the curvature of the Earth. 30 000 acres of desolate salt pan may not seem like a very exciting place to visit but once a year this extinct lake is turned into a haven for speed freaks. For decades now this has been the site of the annual Bonneville Speed Week an event that has played host to numerous land speed records. Speed junkies from around the world converge to break and set records in a multitude of classes. Cars boasting anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand kilowatts powered by petrol, hydrogen, diesel and batteries gather to genuflect at the Mecca of Speed. There are no restrictions as to what you can enter, if you bring it the organisers will almost certainly create a category for it. With the closest town being miles away there are no cushy 5-star hotels with waiter service, so you have to mingle with all and sundry; I’d have it no other way as I am told that the sense of camaraderie at the event is second to none. As much as I’d like to visit this event, I want to take part even more.
Juliet McGuire – Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
I would choose to go to Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California as I see this as the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate of car shows. The high fashion, the celebrities, the setting, the picnic and of course the beautiful cars. It takes some of my favourite things and rolls them in to one day.
Kyle Kock – Race of Champions
Generally, even the most hardcore motorsport fans only follow certain formulae. But once a year, the cream of Formula One, WRC, NASCAR, sportscar and touring car championships come together to represent their nations and go head-to-head to determine who really is “best of the the best.” The ROC came into being in 1988, thanks to the efforts of Fredrik Johnsson and French female rally driver Michele Mouton – the only woman to successfully compete in the upper echelons of rallying, with four wins and a second place in the 1982 championship. In the end a country team, consisting of two drivers, is awarded the Nations Cup and the winning driver overall is awarded the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy (Toivonen was a mercurial driver who lost his life while at the wheel of his WRC Lancia Delta S4 during the 1986 Tour de Corse).
The event happens in a large stadium on a temporary race circuit. Vehicles that have been used are the infamous ROC buggies, a WRC car, and a special vehicle called the Solution F Prototype as well as the KTM X-Bow. Over the years, legends such as Juha Kankkunen, Jimmie Johnson, Carlos Sainz, Jean Alesi, Stig Blomqvist, Stephane Peterhansel, Jeff Gordon, Tom Kristensen, Walter Rohrl and Tommi Makinen have all graced the event.
Peter Palm – Goodwood Revival
Every September, it’s a case of call back the past at the Goodwood estate of Lord March. Not only racing and commuting cars of the 40s, 50s and 60s but also motorcycles, vans, military vehicles and classic aircraft. Racing stars of yesteryear take part in spirited races while onlookers pray that they don’t right-off any of the irreplaceable historics. Spectators are even encouraged to dress up in period clothing. No doubt there are 78 LPs playing on wind-up gramophones making lots of scratchy noises too. A real time warp this must be, with the evocative sounds of yesteryear and the smell of old oil and even older leather.
It has to go on the bucket list!
Ian McLaren – Monaco Grand Prix
So the brief said that we would be VIP, right? Well, in that case I’d like to be properly looked after on one of the mega yachts that pull up next to the track at Monaco each year. I’d like to share a joke with a few famous people, including movie stars and drivers, and I’d like to have a prime view of the track, while watching the race with a tumbler of Johnnie Walker Blue my hand. I think a trip to the best after-parties (the one that Kimi is at) would be in order and, just for a laugh, I think Bernie should let me take an original Mercedes-Benz 300 SL around the track just before they dismantle it for the year. And I want a helicpoter flight out of there the Monday! Apparently the traffic is chaos!