HMI to fire up the sound of thunder at ExCeL

HMI to fire up the sound of thunder at ExCeL

HMI to fire up the sound of thunder at ExCeL

  • Six racing specials to be driven on the Grand Avenue
  • All six on display in special HMI paddock
  • HMI expands into same hall as the London Classic Car Show
  • Busy Conference Programme confirmed for Friday (16 Feb)
  • Exclusive Drivers’ Club for VIP visitors and exhibitors

Six very special racing cars will deliver the sound of thunder as they take to the Grand Avenue at Historic Motorsport International at London’s ExCeL, next year (15-18 February).

Following a hugely successful opening show in 2017, HMI is expanding for its second year and moving halls within the exhibition centre to join the London Classic Car Show, its sister event.

The change will allow a number of star cars to take advantage of the innovative Grand Avenue – an automotive catwalk along which the stars of the show are driven. The sight and sound of all manner of classics and supercars on the move adds a totally new dimension to the exhibition.

And HMI aims to make the most of the move by assembling its very own paddock supported by Octane magazine featuring six unique racing cars that fit with the Grand Avenue’s 2018 theme of ‘Specials’.

The eye-catching new enclosure will be located right in the heart of HMI at the opposite end of the indoor roadway to the familiar London Classic Car Show paddock. Here the cars will not only be on permanent public display when not performing but visitors will also be able to savour the sounds and smells of these cars being fired up in readiness for action.

The innovation will add yet more excitement – more so as the first of the six to be identified is an Edwardian Fiat, better known as the ‘Beast of Turin’, a flame-spitting 28.5-litre behemoth that claimed a world land speed record in 1911 at 116 mph (photo below left top middle).

Event director Alexia Antikides said: “HMI reflects the UK’s leading role in the world of classic motor racing and rallying, and is a platform for engineering and preparation experts, event organisers and promoters and participants. Moving the show from the other side of the ExCeL centre to join the London Classic Car Show gives it more space and even more of a presence.

“Best of all, it gives us access to the Grand Avenue where we promise to exercise some seriously exciting racing cars – unique one-offs that redefined their respective eras. The Beast of Turin is just the start: watch the space to discover what else we have planned.”

Other innovations planned for HMI in 2018 include a special hospitality hub open exclusively to exhibitors and their guests.

The HMI Drivers’ Club is supported by leading companies at the heart of historic motorsport including British Motor Heritage, Dunlop HP Tyres and Piloti, makers of professional and competition driving shoes. The Drivers’ Club will be a central meeting place where exhibitors can catch up with existing and potential customers, colleagues, friends and the trade.

Confirmed exhibitors read like a who’s who of the historic motorsport world. They include organising clubs such as the Veteran Sports Car Club (VSCC), Under 2-Litre Touring Car (U2TC) and Pre ’63 GT Championships, the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC), and the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association (HGPCA).

Equipe GTS, which runs racing championships for pre-1966 FIA GT cars, is also taking space, alongside racing manufacturers such as Crosslé and Lister Cars and specialist dealers and preparation experts like Hall & Hall, the Old Racing Car Company, Quinntech Racing and Tech 9 Motorsport.

Engine experts including Gosnays and Cosworth and event organisers and support companies including Rally Round, Supagard, Lista and Motor Racing Medics will also be on hand.

Many of the features of the first event will be back for 2018. The Supagard Theatre will again host HMI’s Conference Programme, which mixes debate on important issues affecting the sport with star driver appearances and other entertainment. Among the names appearing at HMI in 2017 were multiple Le Mans winners Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell, Emanuele Pirro and Jackie Oliver plus tin-top hero Steve Soper and F1 ace Martin Donnelly.

Historic Motorsport International and the London Classic Car Show are staged by Brand Events, the company behind a raft of successful motoring events including CarFest, Fast and Furious Live and Scotland’s IGNITION Festival of Motoring.

The 2018 edition of HMI/LCCS will be held at ExCeL, London, on 15-18 February. Follow the show website – – for news and information as it breaks.

Veterans turn back the clock as they set off from London to Brighton

Veterans turn back the clock as they set off from London to Brighton

Veterans turn back the clock as they set off from London to Brighton

The world’s longest running motoring event delivers a slice of living history as pioneering automobiles tackle their annual outing   

The clocks went back one hour last Sunday… but this coming Sunday (5th November) they will be going back more than 112 years as hundreds of veteran cars set off from London on their annual pilgrimage to Brighton.

A bumper entry of more than 450 horseless carriages will leave Hyde Park as dawn breaks, ready to tackle the epic 60-mile drive from capital to coast.

The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which dates back to 1927, was founded to commemorate the Emancipation Run of 1896, which celebrated the new-found freedom of motorists granted by the ‘repeal of the Red Flag Act.’ The Act raised the speed limit to 14mph and abolished the need for a man carrying a red flag to walk ahead of the cars whenever they were being driven.

Acknowledged as the longest running motoring event in the world, this year has a French theme in honour of the country’s contribution to motoring’s early days – in 1903, for example, France built 30,000 cars – more than half of the world’s total production in that year.

Fittingly, almost half of this year’s entry are of French-built cars, and include an 1893 Peugeot Type 14 – the oldest vehicle on the Run and the first car to have been driven on Italian roads.

Renault, like Peugeot, a name familiar to today’s motorists, was another of motoring’s pioneers. The company, a long-time supporter of the Run, has entered a recently restored Type C from 1900, while other French marques represented include De Dion Bouton, Mors, Bolide and even a patriotically-named Napoleon.

Even though few of the cars have any form of protection against the elements, the Run will take place come rain or shine… and there’ll even be a few stars on view, too.

Among the celebrities taking part this year are adventurer Charley Boorman (photo above), who will be driving a 1904 Rover 8 hp from the British Motor Museum to promote men’s health during the month of Movember.

As in previous years, BBC presenters Chris Evans and Alex Jones will be following the Run in a fleet of classic buses all carrying successful bidders who raised money for the BBC Children in Need charity.

Due to on-going road works in Brixton, this year’s Run will take a slightly different route out of London. After leaving Hyde Park, the veterans will drive down the Mall past Buckingham Palace, before heading down Horse Guards Parade on the way to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. It will then cross the Thames at Westminster Bridge before heading towards Stockwell, Clapham Common, Balham and Morden rather than Brixton and Croydon.

Upon leaving London, the Run will take in Banstead, Tolworth and Reigate before re-joining the traditional route at Redhill. From here it heads to a spectator-friendly halfway halt at Crawley High Street.

Crawley High Street also marks an important stage on the Run as it’s the start of the Chopard Regularity Time Trial, the only competitive element of the event. Finishing 13 miles away in Burgess Hill, the Regularity Time Trail requires drivers to get as close to a chosen average speed as possible with a Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph, worth £4,950, awaiting the Trial winner.

After Burgess Hill, the Run tackles yet more scenic but demanding Sussex roads, passing through Hassocks and Clayton where it joins the A23 for the run into Brighton and the finish at Madeira Drive.

Aside from the start – the first car will be flagged away from Hyde Park at 7.03am precisely – timings are approximate, but the first cars are expected at the Crawley halt from 8.15am with the last leaving by 2.00pm. The first car is due at the Madeira Drive finish at shortly after 10 am while to be sure of a finishers’ medal, participants need to make it to the finish before 4.30pm.

Aside from Hyde Park, Crawley and Madeira Drive, the organisers have suggested the following locations as good viewing points:

7.03 am – 8.15 am: Constitution Hill, London
7.03 am – 8.15 am: The Mall, London
7.03 am – 8.15 am: Horse Guards Parade, London
7.10 am – 8.20 am: Westminster Bridge, London
7.10 am – 9.15 am: Clapham Common, London
8.20 am – 2.05 pm: Handcross – The Red Lion, High Street, B2110
8.25 am – 2.10 pm: Staplefield, B2114 – The Jolly Tanners, RH17 6EF and The Victory Inn, RH17 6EU
8.45 am – 2.30 pm: Cuckfield High Street, B2036
10.00 am – 4.25 pm: Brighton – St Peters Church, York Place, BN1 4GU

“Seeing these lovingly maintained cars is more than a spectacle. It’s a piece of living history, a reminder of the fearless motoring pioneers who, literally, paved the way for all of us,” said Peter Read, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club’s Motoring Committee.

The Veteran Car Run is organised by the Royal Automobile Club and is the final act in the Club’s annual London Motor Week – seven days filled with an array of functions and events to suit all motoring tastes.

This year, London Motor Week includes an annual Art of Motoring exhibition, Motoring Lectures, a Motoring Forum, a Bonhams Veteran Car Auction, dinner with FIA President Jean Todt and the Dewar and Simms Trophy presentations, awarded for British engineering excellence.

The week culminates with the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show on Saturday 4th November and the world-famous Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox on Sunday 5th November. Some events are open to the public while others are invitation only.

The final countdown to London’s free motor show has begun

The final countdown to London’s free motor show has begun

The final countdown to London’s free motor show has begun

In just a couple of days’ time, on Saturday 4th November, Regent Street in London’s West End will be transformed into the country’s biggest free-to-view motor show.

The busy shopping street will be closed to through traffic and the road filled with cars from the past, the present and the future. Close on 200 vehicles from the days of the horseless carriage, through the classic years to the battery-powered cars we will all be driving in the future will be taking part in the annual Regent Street Motor Show which, this year, is presented by Enjoy Illinois Route 66.

Illinois and the famous Route 66 is presenting the Regent Street Motor Show this year to promote the state and America’s ‘Mother Road’. One lucky visitor to the Illinois stand will win a four-night holiday, including flight and accommodation, to the state.

Taking centre stage at the Show will be around 120 horseless carriages ­from the dawn of motoring. They and their passengers, many in period costume, will be taking part in the annual Veteran Car Concours on the day before they set off on their dawn drive from London to Brighton. This year’s judging panel includes Alan Titchmarsh, a man more known for his petunias than his Panhards.

If the veterans mark the start of the story of the car, Go Ultra Low marks a chapter to come. The latest zero and low emission battery and hybrid cars will be on display from manufacturers including BMW, Renault, VW, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai. Short ‘taster’ test drives will be offered, allowing visitors to sample the next generation of environmentally friendly transport.

In keeping with the low emission theme, Harrods will be displaying its electric vehicle fleet from the battery-powered 1901 Pope Waverley to the newest Nissan e-NV200 delivery van. The Royal Automobile Club will also have a major presence at the Show with its Pit Stop gourmet food van and cars from its heritage fleet while the Brasserie Zedel’s Citroën H Van will be sharing some of their French delicacies.

And in between there will be displays of classic cars and bikes, racing cars and supercars. Among the classic car club displays will be a tribute to the London-built Talbot, while the Fiat 500 Club will be celebrating the 60th birthday of Italy’s iconic city car. Hexagon Classics, the dealership that focuses on the rarest and most collectable classic car marques in the world will have a pair of Lotus cars on show.

Racing displays include a preview of the biggest classic motor sport event on the calendar – the Silverstone Classic ­– with some of the rarest and most famous historic racing cars ever made and there’ll be the chance to have a pint of Silverstone Ale from the Scarf and Goggles pop-up pub.

Bringing the racing story up to date will be British Rallycross star Oliver Bennett and his Ford Fiesta as well as a display from Bambino Zipkarts showing would-be Lewis Hamilton’s how to get started in the sport. Dare To Be Different, an initiative spearheaded by Formula 1’s Susie Wolff and the Motor Sports Association, will aim to inspire and celebrate women in motorsport.

Race fans will be able to buy memorabilia from the Grand Prix Shop as well as admiring the Hackett-backed Aston Martin Vantage race car.

While Renault will be showing its Zoe and Twizy cars in the Go Ultra Low zone, some of the company’s other models will also be in the Motoring Today area. Visitors will have the chance to see the new Captur and Kadjar up close, while two-wheel fans will be able to enjoy the latest machines from Triumph.

Visitors can also discover what it’s like to drive a Mercedes F1 car in one of two Top Gear Experience simulators while, each hour, the elite West End Kids song and dance troupe will be performing automotive-inspired stage tunes: find them in a special area near Regent Street’s junction with Great Marlborough Street.

There’s a chance for gentlemen to ‘de-beard’ as Movember kicks off. The Movember Foundation has teamed up with Gillette to present a pop-up station giving visitors a close shave ahead of ‘moustache month’.

The Movember Foundation’s lounge will be open throughout the show and there will also be the opportunity to win prizes at a ‘Mighty Mo Hoopla’ game as well as the chance to admire a newly launched Harley Davidson.

The first Regent Street Motor Show was staged in 2005 and it has now become a hugely popular must-see spectacle which welcomed more than 400,000 visitors in 2016. The Show officially opens at 10.30am and closes at 4.00pm.

Quite apart from the cars and entertainment, all Regent Street’s fabulous shops are open for business throughout the show while there are dozens of restaurants and bars in the area for when refreshment is needed.

The Regent Street Motor Show and the Veteran Car Run are key events in the week-long London Motor Week run by the Royal Automobile Club