Monterey Car Week has been a fixture in the minds of motor sport aficionados since its earliest origins in 1950.
A celebration of the automobile, the weeklong gathering is, in fact, a collection of several independent events that take place on the Monterey Peninsula.
I have attended Monterey Car Week since 2010, and this year, I had the honor to be a guest of Infiniti USA, one of the key sponsors that make the week so special. Having the privilege to stay at the Inn at Spanish Bay is unique. Upon check in, you immediately feel like an important person. In the lobby, you can recognize celebrities and CEOs of the world’s top luxury car makers, as excited to be here as you are. On Thursday, after getting my credentials at the Infiniti Media Center, I visited the amazing group of cars on display at the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex. At my first media dinner hosted by Infiniti, I had the pleasure to sit next to Shiro Nakamura, chief creative officer of Nissan, who is one of the top designers on the planet and one of the judges at this year’s Concours d’Elegance.
On Friday, I planned a trip to The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, and then I visited the Aston Martin Estate to discover the futuristic DP-100 concept. In the evening, I was scheduled to test drive the all-new $250,000 Lamborghini Huracán. But the “pièce de résistance” of my day was the test drive of the new $2.5 million Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, with my private coach, sportscar legend Andy Wallace, on the scenic roads of the Monterey Coast. (See my review of my test drive experience on page 34.)
The Quail, located on immaculate lawns overlooking the beautiful crescent-shaped beach at Carmel, combines the viewing of some 200 landmark vehicles with a sophisticated culinary experience. Awards are decided upon by using a peer-based judging system, with the Rolex “Best in Show” being the top prize. The event took another dimension this year, and now, most super luxury car makers are present to display and launch their latest models, including Infiniti, one of the key sponsors of the event. Infiniti brought its latest Inspired Performers, including the Q50 Eau Rouge concept and the Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1. The all-new Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo racecar was also unveiled at The Quail.
On Saturday at Monterey Car Week, I was able to make an appearance at two different breakfasts, Infiniti at the Lodge and Rolls Royce at their mansion hosted by CEO Torsten Müller Ötvös. The day after The Quail, most aficionados headed to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. This event contrasts starkly with other Car Week events in that it features wheel-to-wheel racing for more than 550 historic cars. If you wanted to be seen and recognized this year, your name needed to be on the Bentley VIP guest list at their Pebble Beach party hosted by CEO Christophe Georges. Fortunately, my name was on the list and I enjoyed the party.
Excited cheers echoed across the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links on Sunday when a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe was named “Best of Show” at the 64th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance competition. This car was the first postwar car to take the top award at this prestigious event. It was also the first Ferrari to win. The Concours showcased 216 cars and motorcycles, 35 of which came from outside of the USA. The event also marked the centennial of Maserati. The most unbelievable moment of the day was my visit to the jaw-dropping display of 20 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas. On Sunday night, I had tears in my eyes since I needed to return to reality! Monterey Classic Car Week will return next year on August 13-16.