Celebrating the halcyon days of high style, high speeds and high jinks, the appeal of classic cars and historic racing is broad and growing. Navigator looks at the latest event to join the classic car circuit – Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week.
Scores of classic car races, rallies and Concours are held around the world, attracting car enthusiasts to race and view some of the most iconic cars on earth. The most prestigious nostalgic events include the Goodwood Revival, Le Mans Classic, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Mille Miglia, Monaco Historic GP, Monterey Car Week and Spa-Classic, and this year also sees the inaugural Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week joining the lineup.
Hosted in Newport, Rhode Island – for some the birthplace of automotive racing in America – the event will welcome some of the greatest and most iconic cars in the world to different locations throughout the historic city. Having long celebrated being the epicenter of yachting in America, Newport has also been home to many firsts – the first polo match played in America in 1876, the first professional tennis matches in 1881, the first U.S. Open of golf in 1895, and every America’s Cup race from 1930 to 1983. It is also home to one of the first sanctioned track races in America’s history, which dates back as early as the Gilded Age when Willie K. Vanderbilt and some of his closest friends raced their newly imported automobiles at Newport’s Aquidneck Park horse racing track. Their races were considered a high society event, with nearly 10,000 spectators showing up in formal dress to watch iconic Newport families racing their high-priced automobiles against one another. The famed Vanderbilt Cup took place for just two years in Newport, before Vanderbilt relocated his racing events to Long Island. The Cup was then hosted at a handful of circuits all over America after having its formative years in Newport, with the last race weekend being hosted at Long Island’s Bridgehampton Race Circuit in 1968 before it was discontinued.
Today, Newport stands as a beacon representing America’s luxury sporting activities. Plugging into the coastal town’s rich automotive history, Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week is set to become a major international Concours event on the historic racing circuit, attracting car enthusiasts from around the world. Hosted during the first week of October, the event is a showcase of New England at its most beautiful – when the Fall colors are at their peak. During the four-day event, Newport will provide the backdrop for the greatest cars in the world at different historic locations along the famed Bellevue Avenue. Events will include academic symposiums, car club convocations, a concert at the Concours Village at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and a Tour d’Elegance starting on the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge and motoring through Newport and along the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, the week will culminate with a traditional Concours d’Elegance at the Breakers Mansion, where the rarest automobiles in the world will be judged for a chance to win the coveted Willie K. Vanderbilt Trophy. The Audrain’s Concours d’Elegance will also be celebrated with a memorable gala evening. The Chairman of this year’s event is television show host and arch motorhead, Jay Leno, while the Concours d’Elegance Chairman for 2019 is one of the premier automotive experts in the world, Donald Osborne.
CLASSIC AUTOMOTIVE EVENTS TO MARK ON YOUR CALENDAR
- Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week, USA 3 – 6 October 2019
A celebration of the history of motorsport and classic motoring in Newport, Rhode Island, uniting enthusiasts from around the world in a spectacular setting.
- Goodwood Members’ Meeting, United Kingdom 6 – 7 April 2020
With an astonishing collection of cars, access to all areas, and smaller crowds than you would see at the Revival, Goodwood’s Members’ Meeting has established itself as an unmissable event on the classic car circuit.
Historic Grand Prix Monaco, Monaco 8 – 10 May 2020
Superb historic racing on the same circuit as the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco is held biannually two weeks before the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco and features various historic motorcar categories racing through the famous Principality.
- Mille Miglia, Italy 11 – 17 May 2020
A harmonious mix of classic cars built between 1927 and 1957 take part in this 1,000-mile dash from Brescia to Rome through a series of picturesque Italian cities in a celebration that combines the automobile world with the Italian appreciation for the finer things in life.
- Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Italy 22 – 24 May 2020
The jewel in the crown of the international Concours calendar, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is hosted on the stunning shores of Lake Como and attracts some of the world’s most beautiful and spectacular cars to take part.
- Monterey Car Week, USA 7 – 16 August 2020
Monterey Car Week sees a raft of staged events that take participants along the Monterey Peninsula, culminating in the most prestigious classic car event in the world, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
- Concours of Elegance, United Kingdom 4 – 6 September 2020
In the immaculate and stunning setting of Hampton Court, the Concours of Elegance is the UK’s premier Concours event, showcasing over 300 of the finest and rarest motor cars ever to be seen.
- Goodwood Revival, United Kingdom 11 – 13 September 2020
Celebrating the halcyon days of motor racing, the three-day festival culminating the auto tour is considered by many to be the best historic motorsport meeting in the world. Visitors generally dress up in period costume that combines with the stunning cars to create a genuinely unique celebration of the past.