Celebration of the Motorcar at Carrick Hill

CelebrationOfMotorcar (63)Adelaide witnessed something truly special when a completely new type of show, Celebration of the Motorcar, took to the immaculately manicured gardens of Carrick Hill one stunningly perfect late Autumn Sunday a few weeks ago.

CelebrationOfMotorcar (56)The lush grounds were overflowing with some of the finest classic and sports cars this state has to offer, and were merely supplemented by the expansive views of the metropolitan area as backdrop. Thousands of attendees enjoyed the cars to the accompaniment of champagne, oysters and a string quartet from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

CelebrationOfMotorcar (9)Celebration of the Motorcar represents somewhat of a departure from most traditional car shows, largely because emphasis is placed on the experience of the attendee. The cars are there to serve the viewer, rather than the viewer attending a show about the cars. It’s a small detail, but one that ensured an interesting, eclectic, and most importantly a high-quality collection of vehicles. Entry to display was by invite only, and the cars were individually selected by a committee of advisers aiming to build the best possible display.  Continue reading

Bathurst 12hr 2014

B12hrSat_Sun 1115It’s easy to become complacent but our very own Mount Panorama circuit, just two hour’s drive from Sydney, is firmly up there in the small handful of the world’s truly great circuits. The only problem is that if you’re not a dedicated V8 Supercar fan, there isn’t really a lot of other top-class racing that happens there to attract your attention. Outside of the main game it’s mostly a calendar of club racing and corporate drive days.

B12hrSat_Sun 1100That was, however, until the arrival of the Liqui-Molly Bathurst 12hr and its rapidly growing momentum. Finally The Mountain is now graced with a sports car event exploiting the most of its undulating, twisting, climbing and dropping 6.2km of smooth, freshly laid tarmac. An event/circuit combo that attracted 13 top level international teams, building a bumper field of 44 cars.

a_B12hrSat 1204There have been endurance races for production cars at Bathurst before (notably the 12hr events of the early 90’s and a pair of excellent 24hr races in the early 00’s), but those races never really managed to gain the traction the current 12hr has. That’s probably because of a few factors, the primary of which being that we now have a solid international GT3 class which enables these cars to be raced all over the world under the same rules. That’s a big deal for manufacturers, because the likes of Nismo Japan can build an R35 GTR for Le Mans and also get race mileage (ie promotional value & return on investment) from it in other smaller events. Continue reading

Eurofest 2013

DSC_0457It only feels like a year ago that we heard of and attended a new show called ‘Eurofest’, but in fact it was three. Organized primarily by the BMW Drivers Club of SA and held on the grounds of the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, Eurofest was run by a fresh, younger group of enthusiasts and promised to offer something a little different from the other shows out there.

DSC_0468Personally, I thought it was a top day out but if there was one criticism to be leveled, it’s that it was predominantly a BMW/Mercedes-Benz show. For some reason a lot of other European marque clubs didn’t get behind it, which I thought was a shame given the potential of the concept and the energetic crew making it happen.

DSC_0521But after attending the third Eurofest, I’m proud to say that this event is quickly coming of age and the turnout this year was simply brilliant. It was still a predominantly German based field, which is to be expected, but what impressed me the most was not the country of origin of the cars but the sheer number of styles and cultures that harmoniously clashed on the lawns of the mill. Continue reading

The Cartier Style et Luxe at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

DSC_0914The final chapter in Any Given Reason’s coverage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is The Cartier Style et Luxe, a premium concours d’elegance for around fifty hand selected and high quality examples of mechanical art.

DSC_0502Set in a relaxed yet tasteful atmosphere on the lawns of Goodwood House, far from the noisy din of racing engines tackling the hillclimb, the Style et Luxe features possibly the widest spectrum of entrants spread over ten classes spanning automotive history.

DSC_0272Given that the Festival of Speed was celebrating 50 Years of the Porsche 911, it is no surprise that the rear engined cars from Zuffenhausen featured prominently in a class of their own. Taking center stage was a 1973 Carrera RS Lightweight, which was raced by Fritz Muller in the European and German National GT Championships.

DSC_0515Right alongside was one of only a handful of what has to be the ultimate air-cooled 911 – the 1995 993 911 GT2.

DSC_0282Right across was the most extreme 911 to have ever been built – the 1998 911 GT1 Street. New regulations in international GT racing in 1998 meant that manufacturers could enter a car that had been designed from scratch, providing a road going version was offered to the public. Strangely enough this is the only road going version to be built and none ever reached any customers, however the model finished first and second at Le Mans that year, giving Porsche its 16th victory. Continue reading

The Goodwood Festival of Speed

DSC_0176Sometimes in life we are blessed by experiencing something truly incredible. Be it driving a particularly fast or rare car, making no mistakes on the perfect rally stage, finally hearing a favorite song live or witnessing the sun rise over a remote mountain range, these are the rare moments that are remembered vividly, never forgotten and used as comparison for everything that comes after.

DSC_0422These moments are bittersweet, because whilst experiencing them is something of a privilege, it is tinged with the knowledge that this is probably going to be the pinnacle.

DSC_0727Sitting back now and writing this post about the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I’m coming to terms with the fact that there’s probably not a lot out there that can compare to the magic of Goodwood. The sheer quantity and quality of cars, the peaceful forest surroundings, the relaxed and open atmosphere and the diversity is something impossible to replicate. Continue reading

The Canary Wharf Motor Expo, London

DSC_0215While in London a few weeks ago I was tipped off to a motor show taking place in the city by Chris, who I was staying with. Lured in by the phrases “tons of cars” and “some really nice one’s too”, I hopped the tube for a look. And what I discovered was not so much a motor expo, but a whole new concept I’d never considered before.

DSC_0307The expo was taking place at the bottom of the Canary Wharf Tower, where Chris works. And here’s the brilliant idea – traditional motor shows are going the way of the dodo – they’re expensive to put on, and the only people who bother to attend them are penniless anoraks like myself. So why not bring the show to the time poor people who actually want to buy these cars? Such a simple concept, and the canary wharf motor expo showed how it can be executed perfectly.

DSC_0202In the foyer sat the kinds of cars most dream of…

DSC_0197… and outside, the kinds of cars most actually buy. Continue reading

2013 Willall Mount Alma Mile Hillclimb

DSC_0702Have you ever found yourself out driving on a sunny afternoon, and purely by chance discover an incredible little section of road you never knew about? You drive it for the first time with a grin on your face, and maybe even double back for another go at it. And then you start to think…. ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we could close this little section of road off for a hillclimb competition?’

DSC_0711That’s precisely how this previously unknown little country track, 10km out of Victor Harbor on the Yankililla road, became the fastest hillclimb course in the state. Now in its fourth year, the two day Mt Alma Mile event has quickly gained a reputation as a showcase for the state’s high performance tuners, as well as an accessible challenge for grassroots amateurs looking to test themselves against both the hill and other competitor’s cars.

DSC_0016You would very rarely ever find yourself at Mt Alma on the other 363 days of the year because it’s a road that kind of links nowhere to nowhere, and the fact that it turns to dirt at its summit even further reduces the likelihood of using it.

DSC_0029This is a huge shame, and every year I attend Mt Alma the sheer beauty of the countryside slaps me in the face, as if almost in laughter that this stunning countryside is just over an hour from the city yet I only ever come here once a year. Motorsport aside, you could just come here for a lazy Sunday picnic and have a great day out.

DSC_0013This has to be one of the most scenic pit paddocks in South Australian motorsport. Continue reading

Real racing, just in 1/32 scale

DSC_0103You’re behind the wheel of a Ford GT GT3 tearing down the back straight, door handle to door handle with a Gallardo GT3. The hairpin is looming, and one of you will have to yield to avoid an accident. Who will give first? Who will push that little bit too hard and spear off the track? Who will give it a little too much gas on exit, sending the tail into a drift and washing off valuable speed.

For most of us this is the stuff of dreams, but I’ve just had refreshed to me a way you can experience this, at 1/32 scale.

DSC_0114Slot car racing is certainly not a new thing, but I’ve never really tried it because I’d written it off as child’s play. But when a friend was taking his 1 year old to go slot car racing at Hobby Habit on Daws Road, I came along to have a shot. And I had an absolute blast.

Like anything, it is only as expensive as you make it – a good quality 1/32 Scaletrix car will set you back around $45-65 depending where you buy it. And you don’t even need to own the expensive track infrastructure – for just $5, Hobby Habbit on Daws road will let you use any of their 10 tracks for as long as you like. There’s fast and flowing tracks that are reminiscent of Phillip Island, tight and twisty street circuits like the Macau grand prix track, a banked oval speedway where you can achieve some pretty impressive speeds and your basic figure of 8 loops and beginner tracks.

c2812_porsche_spyder_dhl c3303_ford_wb_falcon C2974 Ferrari 308GTB 001Although you’ve gotta be careful when shopping for your car, because the sheer range and variety of obscure race cars of decades past that are available could easily end up costing you a fair sum. Restraint is needed.

DSC_0118And then you can get into modifying them for more speed. Carbon fibre chassis, bigger engines, magnesium wheels and grippier tyres are common modifications. I’ve even heard stories from my Dad about how he used to re-wind the electric motors, changing them from their regular 18-20,000rpm speeds to well past 70,000rpm, bringing much more speed and a distinctive high pitched howl.

I’m not really ready for another new hobby just yet, but slot car racing could be a cost effective way of fitting in some proper competition over the summer break. The first Any Given Reason slot car challenge? Hmm… maybe.