Motoring related events that I’ve attended.
An annual event which has increased in size every year, and now includes the “Performance car show” as well as the motorsport elements. It’s a great day out, with a large arena including a live action section.
Here are just a small selection of photos of some of my favourite cars from the day.
On 8th September 2012, the motoring fraternity got together to support an 11 year old boy called Connor. Connor has been battling cancer for a number of years. Connor and his dad are big car fans and, not being able to find anything local, decided to put on his own show.
His father posted the request on a Subaru enthusiasts forum, and the event gathered momentum very quickly. Within 24 hours, more than 1,500 cars had signed up. A cap had to be put on the numbers, with 500 turning up on the day. It was a momentus, one off event organised in less than 2 weeks.
The full story can be found by clicking here. It was a great day and Connor looked to love every minute of it! The volunteers responsible for the organisation was very slick; it was incredibally well put together and showed what really can be done when there is motivation for such a worthy cause.
Below is a map of the event, showing the extent of attendance for this very special day.
Addendum. Very sad news, Connor is no longer with us, he passed away in January 2013. An amazing inspiration to all of us, and the reason behind this fantastic motoring related event. My deepest sympathies go to his family and friends. Rest In Peace little man.
On 29th July, I co-organised an event in Sheffield City centre called “Supercars in the City”, where we arranged for more than fifty sports and supercars to parade into the city, park up to allow enthusiasts to get up close and personal, meet the owners and also go for passenger rides for a donation to charity.
Enthusiasts and onlookers were treated to a spectacular array of cars, both old and new ranging from the latest Ferrari 458 Spider, to a classic Jaguar C Type replica. Amongst Lamborghini’s, Porsches and other exotica were some rare custom supercars including an Ultima GTR and a one-of-a-kind Pulse GT1.
The star of the show – and the one which attracted the most attention – was the new McLaren MP4-12C supercar.
The aim of the event was to raise awareness and raise money for Bluebell Wood Children’s hospice, whilst also giving everyone the chance to experience these rare cars up close. Unique elements enhanced its appeal including the rolling convoy through the city and passenger rides in a number of different cars, thanks to Sporting Bears Motor Club.
The event was supported by the JCT600 group, who brought along a brand new range of cars from Porsche, Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes. In total, the event raised more than £3,000 for Bluebell wood.
My father in law has been going to this event for a few years. It’s not particularly well advertised, but in turn is a very relaxed, informal affair with a large and diverse range of cars and motorbikes on display. He invited me along, which I duly accepted, and we arrived on a lovely July summers afternoon to a field full of a complete mixtures of vehicles.
It was a great way to pass on a couple of hours with a very friendly atmosphere (and free entry too!). I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but needless to say if you are a car enthusiast (and you must be, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog) it is worth looking up for future years if you are local to the Wakefield area.
It also gave me a chance to play a little with my camera at motion shots, the results of which are in the gallery below.
Welcome to the 2nd Annual Supercar Driver secret meet! The biggest event on the Supercar Driver calendar in terms of attendance figures, more than 200 cars attended this years event.
Our starting position was at Donington Park, where we had exclusive use of the land adjacent to the GP museum. After time to relax and get reacquainted with each other, members were led by the GrayPaul team to our destination – the Ferrari & Maserati dealership, where our hosts had laid on a fantastic display of some very special cars.
The Supercar Driver team had also arranged for a racing-simulator to be present on the day, so members could have a go at driving a realistic racing game – complete with full feedback in the controls!
The event has a charitable element to it and raised a significant sum for the BlueBell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Below are a bundle of pictures and a little more information about some of the rare cars that came out to play on the day…!
This is a rare breed indeed. In fact, it’s the only one of its kind! The car was originally build to compete in the British GT series in the mid-‘90’s against the heavy hitters such as McLaren and Porsche. It was tested at Silverstone with a Jaguar XJ220 engine producing more than 850bhp. Unfortunately, just two weeks prior to its first race, the rules changed and the Pulse couldn’t be modified in time.
The car was parked up and was never completed. In October 2008, owner Keith bought the car as a pile of bits and set about returning it to its former glory – with a few of his own enhancements along the way (who can miss that giant rear wing!).
In terms of engine, Keith’s intention was to use an Audi RS6 engine, but none were available so chose an equally impressive Audi RS4 2.7 Twin Turbo! This ensures that it goes just as fast as it looks!
The CTR3 was released 20 years after the original Ruf CTR, on April 11, 2007 at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. Continuing the Ruf tradition of enhancing Porsche cars, the CTR3 shares both the body panels and engine from Porsche.
For the first time, however, it features a Ruf designed body. Built out of steel, aluminum, and Kevlar-carbon, the car weighs just 1,375kgs.
The engine of the CTR3 is a Porsche derived 3.8 L flat-6 paired with twin KK&K turbochargers; meaning the CTR3 produces 691bhp with a top speed of a whopping 233mpg.
The CTR3 will get you to 60mph from standstill in just 3.1 seconds!
This year Supercar Driver members brought along a couple of classic Rally cars! The red car above is a “Hawk Stratos”, a replica of the Lancia Stratos HF, which had a successful rally career during the 70’s.
The Stratos was designed by Bertone and has the familiar lines of this design house (they also penned some of the earlier Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s). This Hawk model is owned by Supercar Driver member Rob.
The yellow/white car below is an Audi Quattro.
For those who aren’t aware of the history, the Audi Quattro was the first rally car to take advantage of the then-recently changed rules which allowed the use of four-wheel drive in competition racing. It won competition after competition for the next few years and in doing so, became a rally legend.
This Short-Wheel-Base version is an original Quattro car and has been fitted with Porsche GT3 running gear.
Fast? You betcha!
Inside the showroom, Graypaul had arranged a stunning array of automotive splendour! This included a full complement of Ferrari racing cars, the latest model road cars from Ferrari and Maserati and of course some of the legendary classics. This included the Ferrari F40, Ferrari Enzo and the Porsche Carrera GT.
The new Ferrari FF was on display as was the 599 GTO. In the workshop area, guests were able to talk to the dealership engineers and several cars were on the ramps for Supercar Driver members to have a nosey at what goes on underneath a number of fantastic supercars!
With so many cars in attendance this year, it is difficult to mention them all – and to highlight all the wonderfully rare exotica that attended the event. In attendance were two of only five TVR Typhon’s in the world, a Porsche 959 and a Ferrari F40. There was also two of only three Ford GT 720 Mirage’s, the only Tipo 250 and a Mercedes CLK DTM AMG (that’ll be the one that maxes out on acronyms!). There was also a Mercedes SLR Cabriolet, Ascari Ecosse, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari Enzo and what is believed to one of only a handful of Corvette ZR1’s in the country. Special mention must also go to the incredible Jaguar XJ13.
Photos by Dom Fisher (www.dfishpix.co.uk) and used with permission.
Cars In The Park is now in its 4th year and gets bigger and better each time. Designed as an informal gathering of car enthusiasts, I went along with the Sueprcar Driver club and to enjoy the day of all things motor-like.
The Porsche Club GB put in a great appearance with examples old and new. Other local clubs brought some delightful cars. By far the largest group was the TVR fraternity which spread as far as the eye could see! There were several Aston Martins from over the eras and lots of variety in the form of sports cars and hot-hatchbacks.
The weather held out and a great day was had all round.
The grounds of Harewood House are beautiful, and the tea rooms, gardens were open to view, as well as the Servants Quarters in the house itself, providing a fascinating insight into the days gone by of this exceptional stately home.
On the bank holiday weekend, 28th August 2011, Supercar Driver took its members and their fleet of very special sports cars, supercars and hypercars on a fantastic Roady Rally experiernce.
An early start, the arrival time at the Wakefield meet point is at 7.30am and traditionally, I’m running fashionably late. Still, the motorways are clear so I’m able to make up time without the stop/start of a traditional week-day M1 morning queue.
Arriving a little after 7.45am and I’m one of the last ones to arrive, with a number of cars already parked and much morning conversation is being had. Grant is here from GPA signs, busy stickering up the cars who didn’t get chance to have their livery applied last weekend. It’s a bit of fun and generates camaraderie amongst friends.
Jonty has gone to town on his F355, with oversized Ferrari badges, the SCD logo and giant Italian stripes spanning the length of the car. This customisation is catching too, as Paul momentarily arrives in his silver 360 Spider – also complete with new stripes, and freshly painted wheels!
With my car stickered up with the brand logo, it’s time to hit the road. The weather is very hit and miss today. Some of the convertible owners chance some topless action, whereas most keep their hoods up. A good thing too because just as we peel off from the M62, the heavens open and it buckets it down.
A few cars pull in at the next services to put their roof up and now the only car with the roof left down is an Audi RS4 cab, owned by Rupert. Speaking to him later, he valiantly assures us that the rain didn’t get him and that most of it went over rather than into the cabin. Impressive those Audi’s, faster than even the rain!
Next stop, Forton Services, where we will rendezvous with the Manchester folks.
This is my first time at these services and first impressions are that this is a small service station. No matter, the whole place seems to be in freeze-frame anyway as onlookers gaze as supercar after supercar pull up one by one – and then try to squeeze into the tiny parking spaces. A VW golf parks up next to my 911 and decides that all of his occupants will dutifully exit via the opposite door. Thank you to that man.
We arrive at exactly the same time as the Manchester convoy, meaning that a stream of cars snakes in from the slip road. Ferrari’s, TVRs, more Porsches a sprinkling of R8’s and a delightful-sounding Maserati 4200.
Time for a coffee. A quick check that the road within the car park is now clear and I do a double-take as a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead majestically glides down the narrow service road, looking in vain for a space big enough to cope with a car of this size. Its road presence is absolutely mind blowing and, putting my jaw back into place I glance behind it to see the bright orange detail of the Bugatti Veyron Super Sports following in behind. The Phantom ushers past almost silently, the Bugatti with its near tick-over rumble as it finds a parking space and reverses in. This is going to be a great trip!
With food and conversation now finished it’s time to hit the road. Unfortunately I can’t be a part of the entire weekend, but enjoy the convoy for the first few miles on the motorway, before turning back for the long journey home. Regardless, it’s been great fun catching up with old friends and doubtless they will have a fantastic time in Scotland!
An event organised as part of the Supercar Driver club, where 50 people had exclusive access to view the Virgin racing factory.
With two convoys from West Midlands and Yorkshire both congregated close to the factory, created a real buzz on the sleepy industrial estate.
Shortly afterwards, we all snaked over to the Virgin headquarters and were shown around the factory, getting a chance to view the racing cars, and the development areas up-close, being guided through by team principal John Booth. A large number of mechanics and race crew were also on hand to answer any questions that we had.
This private viewing of F1 racing was facinating – not least for the true understanding of the cost of this fine motorsport. In one example, we were shown the steering wheels. There were six in stock, with each one costing £60,000!
This was a money-can’t-buy experience, with all visitors donating to a charity raffle, raising almost £2,000 for the local Children’s Hospice.
The 6th Gear experience is a red-letter experience day company, giving you the chance to drive a number of bright and lairy supercars in a safe environment around a race track. Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, even the odd Aston Martin and 911 Turbo, they are all here ready to blaze a trail of pedal-to-the metal action on a fantastic twisty circuit.
The company runs from three different outlets and today the Supercar Driver team has been invited to sample their venue and to drive their two latest editions – the Ferrari 599 and the 458.
6th Gear run events at several locations and today we were at Bruntingthorpe. It’s a proper circuit too. You park up in a large car park and wait for the bus to take you to across the circuit to the registration area held in the centre of the track (not actually on the track, you understand).
It’s a busy affair with a lot of people waiting excitedly to sample one of the delicious supercars on offer. But it is very efficiently managed. First up, registration. Once complete, you head over to the waiting area for your name to be called. Whilst waiting you get to watch the others on the circuit, salivate over the exotica on display, or grab a burger if you’re feeling a bit peckish.
Before you head out in your car of choice, you head out on a circuit overview. This takes place in a Range Rover and the driver explains the corners, the racing lines and the best gears and speeds for each section.
Back from the overview, I glance over at my ride of choice – the Ferrari 458. It is looking splendid – although it isn’t being used much. Neither is the 599. These cars are the premium choices in the line-up, so they do cost more than the other cars to drive. Sadly the reason for their lack of movement today is not due to finance, rather that both of these cars have broken down. Ferrari’s, eh!
It is a shame, but it can’t be helped. 6th Gear owner Simon later informs us that both cars will be whisked back over to the dealership tomorrow to have their problems remedied. As for us, we get to pick one of the other cars, and get an extra lap by way of apology. So, it’s not all bad!
I chose the Ferrari F430 F1 Spider. “F1” meaning it is equipped with some lovely flappy-paddles. Whilst the rest of the Supercar Driver team are working out what is happening with their ride, I’m keenly jumping in the car and ready for the off. Time waits for no man.
Whilst red-lining or gear-breaking isn’t permitted in the 6th Gear cars, my instructor does allow me good use of the rev range – that Ferrari engine tunefully singing in my ears as we power through the corners and down the long straight.
You can really get some speed up too, and the chicanes allows for some fun on the turns. 6th Gear host events across the country, including the Elvington track which is also great fun. But unlike the Elvington circuit, which is largely cones on a slab of tarmac, Bruntingthorpe is a purpose built circuit and looks more impressive as a result. Both circuits give you great opportunity to experience these cars for all they are worth. The F430 that I am driving is great drive on this Bruntingthorpe circuit – you can really stamp on the loud pedal. Throwing the car into the bends and blipping the gears on the down-shift.
The steering feel is excellent and very precise. A great car!
Adam chose the E-gear Gallardo Spyder. “It was perfect weather to enjoy car, roof down and the sun out,” he says. “After a lap familiarising myself with the circuit, the car inspired confidence and was able to freely enjoy the car, downshifting and upshifting when I wanted and really pushing it when the track allowed.
“The instructor was very patient and relaxed which made the whole experience far more enjoyable than some experience days I have attended in the past. Next time the 458 Italia is calling me!”
Not so impressive was the Murcielago, which was a manual car. The car felt heavy and the gear changes notchy. The taming of this bull wasn’t happening on this occasion!
After your driving experience, you are treated to a fast-lap with their expert driver, Simon Shaw. This lap was in a Gallardo and his skills were suitably amazing. This experience has to be enjoyed to be appreciated.
These driving experience days are great fun and allow you to try out other supercars for a great price. So, if you fancy a blast around the track using someone else’s petrol, sampling maybe a Lamborghini or perhaps a new Ferrari that you are considering I would recommend the 6th Gear experience as an adrenaline fuelled day out that can only make you grin from ear to ear.
To find out more, go to www.6thgearexperience.com.
Now in its second year, the Madchester event has already become a red-letter date in the Supercar Driver calendar. Promising an enjoyable drive through countryside, twixed with a little chaos in the city centre, it guarantees fun for all!
We started the journey with an initial meeting at Wakefield, where a Porsche 911 C4S, Audi R8 V10 and a TVR Griffith 500 greet me as I arrived (late, as usual). Setting off to our next meet point at Sheffield where we picked up a huge number of cars. A rainbow of colours and Marques in the Tesco car park, including Ferrari, Lotus, BMW and Aston to name a few. We set off in convoy, an exotic line which stretched as far as the eye could see as the twists and turns of Derbyshire’s ‘Snake’ presented its merry fun for our metal (and plastic!) machines to enjoy!
Leading the pack is quite an interesting experience; Am I going to slow? Am I going to fast? More importantly, am I going the right way?
Panic over, following my nose all was well and we arrived in Manchester in good time. The destination – Krispy Kreme donut shop!
For anyone who hasn’t been, this is human design at its peak of ingenuity. Kirspy Kreme is basically a McDonalds type fast-food place that just sells donuts. Instead of a burger, you have a donut. Rather than fries, you grab a donut. Would you like a drink? Well, you can have one of those but the rest is line after line of delicious cakeness. I succumbed at the counter and bought a tin full. Marvelous!
We meet up with our fellows from the Cheshire side of the Pennines and my oh my did they come out in force. Line after line of Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s and even some more bonkers sorts like the Dodge Viper and a beautifully rare Renault Alpine.
Richard hands out the directions. It’s a deliberately rough photocopied map with a couple of “X”’s on the page to mark the start and end point. With everyone setting about their own journey to get to the goal (a car park in the city centre) I end up behind a silver Ferrari. This particular car is new to the club, but as I pull alongside and see a familiar face! Lee has traded in his 308 Dino (see Issue 1) and replaced it with a magnificent 360.
Lee is a hands-on kinda guy and has already set about taking apart the Ferrari in order to give it a thoroughly good clean and refurbishment, starting with the nuts and bolts under the wheel arches. He later tells me “It’s like many other brands, they seem to build the cars well, but the final fit and finish lets it all down – such as rusty wheel nuts on Porsches, for example.” His new car is looking well, and is in very capable, practical hands with its new fastidious owner.
As the drive through the centre continues, cars are appearing from all angles as they try to circumnavigate through the city to the main car park at the other side. It is great fun and the sudden appearance of some very special cars brings smiles from the more enthusiastic members of the public – and the inevitable comments from a few of the jealous ones.
Following a short period of conversation, it’s back to Krispy Kreme for a few more donuts. With a big car-park and plenty of space to congregate, I speak with Steve, who has just purchased his Ferrari F355 from Supercar Driver partner Amari. He is full of praise for Amari, saying it was “an easy no-hassle purchase”. The car has been bought to use as a wedding-hire vehicle and the classic, almost timeless design is a real talking point amongst our petrol-headed friends.
Around lunchtime it’s time to depart. It has been yet another excellent run into Manchester.
A fun event today, Supercar Driver gathered a number of cars together to visit a local Children’s Hospice, to give the children a chance to view and sit in some of these rare and exclusive cars.
A fun day was had by all, with lots of laughter and smiles – and beeps of horns all round. 🙂
The season starts here! Marking an official start to the driving season, Supercar Driver members got together for a ‘secret meet’ in Nottingham. The extensive list included pretty much every Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini since the 80’s as well as Noble, Aston-Martin, Arial, Corvette and Lotus cars, to name but a few.
With special guest cars also in attendance, we almost filled the paddock at Donington Park! After having time to socialise, we headed to our next location – the GrayPaul Ferrari & Maserati showroom. Led by the centre staff, they took us on some of Nottingham’s finest roads, allowing members to showcase their pride and joy in large convoys. This attracted the attention of locals who looked on as a seemingly endless stream of sports and supercars passed by on a quiet Sunday morning.
We were treated to some very, very special cars not least of which was the Bugatti Veyron Super Sports. Dressed in black and bright orange it was an extraordinarily rare sight that couldn’t be missed. Other rarities included the Alfa 8C Spider, an Aston Martin V600 Le Mans, an Aston Martin 2/4 MkIII, a De Tomaso Guara, a Ferrari 275 GTB, a Lamborghini Miura S, a Countach 5000, an open headlight Diablo SV, a Lamborghini Reventon Roadster (making this the first time a Reventon Roadster and a Veyron SS have attended a supercar meet in the UK), a Mercedes CLK DTM AMG, two Spykers and an LS7 engined TVR Sagaris! Also featured was the UK debut of the BAC Mono.
Inside the showroom, we had more of the best that the automotive world has to offer. this included the Ferrari F40, two Enzo’s, a Bugatti Veyron and a Porsche Carrera GT. BAC Mono had its first public outing at the Supercar Driver event!
Members also gave something back to those less fortunate, raising more than £2,000 in donations on the day for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Video of the event:
2010 Celebrates another year of the annual Knight Rider convention, held in the town of Halifax, UK. Over the years KnightCon has grown and is now one of the world’s biggest Knight Rider events – with replica cars from past and present and the original Knight Rider rolling command centre on display (or “a massive truck” to those unaffiliated with the original series). Many other American cars also attended – including replicas from several other classic TV shows.
The event is organised by Steve and Rob, who work tirelessly throughout the year to make these events so special. This year didn’t disappoint with a flagship marquee, inside displaying perfect replica’s of the original 80’s icon – The Knight Industries Two Thousand as well as the Mustang Three Thousand from the 2009 series.
There were props built to look like the inside of the trailer, a stage for the celebrity guests and TVs showing schematics of KITT. Guests were also treated to a bar and a shop where you could buy Knight Rider based goodies. Outside the car park was full of KITTs, Mustangs, The General Lee and even the A-Team van!
KnightCon this year was a 2 day event, starting Friday night with a VIP guest party. I’m a big fan of Knight Rider and Chris Jones had been asked to help with the on-the-day organisation and he’d ask if I could come along to assist with event security for the Friday evening. Happy to oblige, I started practicing my lines. I had received a clipboard list of guests who were down for the Friday event. One of the barmaids in the Marquee mentioned that her husband was due to come down later so was overjoyed when the opportunity presented itself. I scanned my name list. “I’m sorry” I said with a dry smile, “If their name isn’t down, they are not coming in”.
Chris grimaced. “You’ve been dying to say that haven’t you”.
Outside the Marquee there was a projection of the KITT schematics onto the top of the tent which looked fantastic at night.
The Friday night event was excellent – with music and drink flowing until the guests arrived later in the evening. Rebecca Holden, who played April in Series two and Mike Scheffe who designed the original KITT car came along as special guests. After being presented on the stage, they said a few words and then proceeded to mingle with the crowd for the rest of the evening.
The evening passed without a hitch and the next morning I arrived expecting a few people milling around. I could scarcely believe my eyes – a car park packed with people, cars overflowing and a semi-frantic Chris welcoming me with “Where the f**k have you been?!” Whoops…
The car display was magnificent. As you entered the car park where were a number of American cars of all ages to the right, further up the straight were TV show cars including Starsky and Hutch, Delorian, The A-Team van and the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard!
An out of place character was also on display near the entrance to the show – a bright yellow Ferrari 355 convertible. Jonty owns the car and had come to see the car show like the rest of us. Not knowing where to park he mistakenly drove into the event and was directed to park up inside with the display cars! Having the car near the entrance caused a lot of negative feeling with some of the hardcore American car owners which I found disappointing – yet not unusual as I’ve seen this behaviour before.
As Jonty left later in the afternoon there was much jeering “I bet it’s an MR2 or some crap replica” one said. I found this negativity towards someone who had only come to enjoy the show like everyone else a little unfair “That’s a real Ferrari” I said to one of them. Laughs and dismissive belief followed along with aired comments “Why bring that to an American car show”. As he departed, revving the engine to get over the speed hump and up the hill “yeah, that’s it, blow your engine up!” Mercifully, they were in the minority and seeing the fruitlessness of any defence I just left them to it.
Later in the afternoon “Eleanor” also arrived from Gone in 60 Seconds fame, which attracted a huge amount of interest. A spectacular rare car, fastidiously looked after by its owner who has modified a number of components to improve its performance. “It’s a real handful to drive though” he tells us “No power steering and a cable clutch means it is hard to control when setting off”.
Now then main event – the KITT replica’s. A huge number of cars were on display. Many of them had the complete dashboards and one in particular had a voice recognition system, which allowed KITT to actually respond to your requests. Fantastic!!
The Celebrity guests arrived in the afternoon, being driven to the crowds in three replica KITT cars. With Rebecca and Mike they were also accompanied by Catherine Hickland who played Stevie in the original series. She Married “Michael Knight” in the show and actually married David Hasslehoff in real life.
A Q&A session followed, allowing anyone to ask them questions about the show, their lives at the time, or what they are doing now. We were regaled with stories of life during the Knight Rider days and the fun that was had whilst producing the TV show. These days Rebecaa is a singer and Catherine is now a professional hypnotist in Las Vegas!
Video messages were also played from many of the other cast and crew, including David himself.
All in all, a fantastic day out, with a lot to see. Three cheers for Rob and Steve who put this event together with such detail and perfection. In the run up to the event they spent several days working until 4am with friends and family to get everything finished in time. They then proceeded to spend most of the weekend either shell-shocked or in frantic panic keeping the show running smoothly. Not that you’d know it as it was one of the most professionally arranged events I have attended.
So thanks again to you both. One man – or in this case two – really can “make a difference”.
Addendum: The series of KnightCon shows finished in 2013 and due to expansion in the displays and wider public appeal, will in future be known as Star Cars and Heroes.
August’s main outing for our group is a drive out and meeting at Project Kahn based in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Project Kahn has been around for years and primarily turns very special cars in extra special cars with mod’s including bodywork, wheels, interiors and of course engine and power hikes.
We were invited to the showroom to meet the staff and see what they can do. Inside, the main showroom is actually upstairs and is like a car-candy sweet shop for the motoring nut. An array of Range Rovers, Ferrari’s and Porsche’s are on display. Taking proud of place at the front of the showroom is a gleaming white Bugatti Veyron. A very special car indeed, with the rear spoilers proudly erected to almost lofty heights, the curves of the bodywork seem to shrink the car, looking relatively small in its demeanor.
An Orange and Black Range Rover Cosworth is in the centre of the showroom which is a great talking point. Hmmmmm….Cosworth. If bling is your thing, Kahn undoubtedly has something of interest to you!
The drive to Kahn has brought a lot of great cars out today. We’ve got numerous Ferrari’s and Porsches and we’ve also got a couple of Lamborghini’s; a black Gallardo and a yellow Murcielago with a street presence to match is formidable status. The car looks huge and bonkers.
The drive to Kahn is a wet one, coupled with a dose of finest motorway roadworks ensures that speeds are kept to a minimum and the group bunched together on the motorway. Brightly coloured cars painting the dreary wet landscape and keeping the drivers of some of the more slippery metal in maximum concentration mode.
Rain or shine isn’t going to spoil a good outing for our convertible posse though – indeed, the classic Jaguar team don’t have much of a choice – they didn’t have roofs in those days, so cap-and-goggles it is!
A great turnout and morning was had at the Kahn showrooms. The highlight had to be the Veyron – one of two that usually live in the very special showroom!
I am now the feature writer for supercardriver.com . This report can be viewed in a magazine format, by clicking here.
Ginetta was originally formed in 1958 by the Walklett brothers, primarily as a racing company. The company ran into trouble in the late 80’s and ultimately was acquired by businessman Lawrence Tomlinson in 2005. Since then company has gone from strength to strength, winning several racing events, the highlight being the GT2 class at Le Mans. Ginetta are also in the Guinness Book of Records for being the only car to drive across the channel tunnel. Supercardriver arranged a factory tour and the turnout was a resounding success.
Today’s special car-park head turners included a Lamborghini Murcielago in brightest of bright blue and, new to our camp, a Dodge Viper – still looking as wild and bonkers as ever a car could do. My good lady is with me for the first time on these events and is busying herself on camera duty. I give special mention to the Ferrari 360 in front of us, hoping to gain some kind of purchase agreement. She prefers the 911 in the corner (GT3RS). “I like the blue wheels”, and peering inside “Oooh, it’s got blue seatbelts too!” Ah. The gleaming white Z4M Coupe also gets a special mention so I give up on my mission as a task for another day and press on with car park navigation and photos.
We are soon greeted by Mike Simpson who will be our main host for the tour. Mike is the sales manager at Ginetta as well as a racing driver and has huge breadth of knowledge. As we enter the impressive boardroom through a set of double-doors the first thing that strikes you is the not-inconsiderable boardroom table with seating for 20 people. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the feature wall holding the many trophies that have been won over the years by the Marque.
The adjacent wall overlooks the factory below with large windows for us to peer through which we all dutifully do, with just a smidge of concealed excitement. We are then informed by our hosts that Supercardriver has “provided the biggest turnout ever to the factory tour – and by far the most impressive display in the car park”. Mike then proceeds to tell us the Ginetta story of followed by a short video highlighting the notable history and Ginetta’s heritage.
Introduction over, a brief Q&A follows and we are then taken to the offices where the CAD (computer aided design) work takes place. From here, the technology can be used to establish impact of changes and build new designs. These assessments can prove crucial when viewing the likely impact of body/chassis changes before moving them to production – thus potentially saving a lot of money in the event of an unforeseen design problem. This was fascinating to see and our group asked several questions.
On display around the building are several cars that have recently been built. A red G20 is waiting collection from a 14-year-old youngster who will be taking part in next years Ginetta Junior racing series. These competitions are designed for those who are too young to race in more senior competitions, whilst still giving them a taste of the full-blown racing action.
Next we are led into the workshop where our hosts describe each of the engineering bays and the production processes in areas such as engine and roll cage development/creation. Leading through the factory, we are shown Ginetta’s road ready electric sports car. After an 8-hour charge, the batteries will run the car for 250 miles before needing another pump of home-brew juice. The car is taxed, road legal and a fully working example of what could be achieved using alternative power. Our host commented that it feels very much the same to drive as a normal car, just with an eerie silence when stationary. The dashboard is cluttered with many buttons and switches, revealing its prototype status. The post-it note on the dashboard amuses; “if you don’t recognise it, don’t touch it!”
Around the workshop, many racing cars are in different stages of undress, being rebuilt or prepared for their next outing. In a corner of the workshop floor are a number of special cars including iconic Ginetta and TVR cars that Lawrence and the racing team took to racing victory, as well as some classics and rarities from his personal collection. Towering over the cars, amidst the racing support-lorries and buses, is a real surprise and delight – a magnificent black and orange helicopter!
Ginetta recently acquired Farbio and with it the GTS model. Now re-branded as the F400 and modified to improve on this already impressive production road car. With a carbon fibre body it continues to be built at the specialist factory in Bath, whilst these premises in Leeds focus on the racing breed. Still, there is an F400 production car taking centre stage for us to drool over. Used as the demonstration vehicle, the car undoubtedly has had a tough life but to look at you wouldn’t know it – as striking as ever with the classic bold lines of a modern small supercar, slightly McLaren-esque one might say.
Sitting in the car, low and rigidly straight forward you are immediately reminded of its purpose; leather sports seats and a minimalist look to the cabin, a large screen display on the centre console acting as your only company. Once in the driving seat – not a delicate maneuver it has to be said – it’s a comfortable place to be and it feels like a real racecar, legs stretched out forward in the low-slung seat, hands gripping the small steering wheel.
Leading us out after the tour comes to a close, we pass through the staff Gymnasium, lavished with all the latest fitness apparatus. It gives further impression that employees of Ginetta are well looked after and those who we had the opportunity to speak to were certainly hugely enthusiastic about the company. The factory tour was a great way to spend a Monday evening. A huge thanks goes to Mike and the staff at Ginetta who stayed back especially to allow us the pleasure of an insight to this fascinating world of racecar production. We wish them every success for the future.
Their only request of us was a donation to their chosen charity – The Teenage Cancer Trust. With donations from all our drivers we raised a fantastic £640.