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Ti 10: What to do this bank holiday

3 weeks ago

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Writer:

James Mills | Managing editor

Date:

24 May 2024

With not one but two bank holidays in a month, May is truly spoiling us. A three-day weekend is all the excuse needed to roll back the car cover, pop the bonnet, check the fluids and wheel the car out of the garage, before cursing yourself for forgetting to unclip the battery trickle charger…

It’s time to make a plan, find out what’s on your doorstep or a decent drive away, and get out there and meet a fellow petrolhead or two. Here are 10 events to inspire you.

Masters Historic Festival, Brands Hatch, Kent – 25-26 May

Price: from £26 adult, kids under 13 go free

Info: brandshatch.co.uk

If you’ve found yourself bemoaning the fact that today’s F1 cars sound no more thrilling than a high-powered hair dryer, get yourself along to the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch, where your ears will be treated to sounds that are somewhat more inspiring. The Masters paddock will be awash with howling naturally aspirated F1 cars spanning the 1970s and ’80s.

As if that weren’t reason enough to head to Kent’s ever-popular Brands, the Masters weekend includes 1990s and 2000s Le Mans prototype and GT racing machines, and a category for the 1960s and ’70s sports cars that would originally have tackled the 1000km races back in the day. With a guest race for the HRDC Gerry Marshall Trophy, featuring pre-1983 touring cars, the racing promises to be action packed.

Ti 10: What to do this bank holiday

The Exclusive JDM Season Opener, The Motorist, Leeds – 25 May

Price: £20 to display car, £10 as visitor

Info: exclusivejdm.co.uk

All long-standing members of the Ti community will know we have a soft spot and healthy regard for all things JDM, with R versions of the NSX, Integra DC2 and Civic FN2 all within our fold. For the uninitiated, JDM refers to cars from the Japanese domestic market, and over the past two decades the scene has been transformed from one that was on the fringes to one that’s hugely popular, thanks to the rise of movie and gaming franchises including The Fast and the Furious and Gran Turismo.

The cars have become hot property in the collector scene, but the movement retains an approachable, friendly vibe – as you’ll find very much in evidence at The Motorist, in Leeds. This impressive automotive enclave will play host to the weird and the wonderful of the JDM scene.

Ti 10: What to do this bank holiday
The Motorist, Leeds

Sandringham Pageant of Motoring, Sandringham, Norfolk – 26 May

Price: from £18, under 12s free

Info: sandringhammotoringpageant.co.uk

When it comes to motoring one upmanship, being able to rattle off a full rundown of the runarounds employed by the more obscure members of the royal family takes some beating. So consider this a tip: get yourself along to Sandringham, as the estate’s Pageant of Motoring promises a display of royal vehicles that are rarely seen.

That’s not all that’s on offer, though. The Aston Martin Owners’ Club holds its concours d’elegance in the royal gardens, there’s an accompanying classic car display, live music and even aerial displays. No word, however, on whether any of the royals will be there.

Prescott Historique, Prescott Speed Hill Climb, Cheltenham – 25-26 May

Price: from £18 adults, kids go free

Info: prescotthillclimb.co.uk

The historic Prescott Estate dates back to the 13th century, but it wasn’t until nimbyism became a thing that members of the Bugatti Owners’ Club – fed up with the increasingly hostile reception they were getting around the country during the 1930s – hatched a plan to secure a dedicated venue for stretching the legs of their beautiful machines. In 1939, no less than Jean Bugatti himself visited Prescott’s first ever International Meeting.

This weekend sees a whole host of classes of car tackle the 1127-yard (1031m) hillclimb course, ranging from rare models from ERA (English Racing Automobiles) to the four different classes of the Healeysport Speed Championship. With a display of Bugattis, and the chance to win a raffle prize ride up the hill, you’ll not want to miss the Prescott Historique.

Ti 10: What to do this bank holiday

British GT Championship, Donington Park, Leicestershire – 25-26 May

Price: from £21, under 13s go free

Info: donington-park.co.uk

With top flight drivers, GT3 and GT4 spec sports cars, and Donington Park’s epic run from Redgate down through Craner Curves and up and over McLean’s, you just know that the British GT Championship is going to be quite the spectacle.

Sunday is funday – rather, raceday – and the British GTs will slug it out for three full hours, calling for pitstops, refuelling and driver changes, which should keep the racing ultra close. With renowned drivers piloting cars that include the McLaren 720S, Mercedes-AMG GT Evo, Aston Martin Vantage AMR, BMW M4 and Lamborghini Huracan Evo2, it’s hopefully going to be wheel to wheel, door handle to door handle all the way.

Ti 10: What to do this bank holiday

Paul Ripley’s Cornering Masterclass, The Motorist, Leeds – 26 May

Price: £25

Info: eventbrite.co.uk

Ed Sheeran may have thought nothing of ‘driving at 90 down those country lanes’ in Suffolk’s Castle on the Hill, but as driving coach Paul Ripley – once called ‘God’s chauffeur’ – will doubtless tell you, it’s not speed but inappropriate speed that will get you into trouble. (Take note, Mr Sheeran.)

All joking aside, Ripley takes the business of driving extremely seriously, and any time spent in the company of the animated Yorkshireman will tell you as much. For those who are serious about improving their cornering skills on country roads, joining the talented Mr Ripley for a seminar at The Motorist is a smart move; the tips should stay with you for life.

Porsche Club GB at the Ace Café, London – 27 May

Price: Free

Info: porscheclubgb.com

Claimed to be Europe’s largest free gathering of Porsches, this is a chance to hang out at the storied Ace Café, on London’s north circular ring road, and kick the tyres with all manner of Porsche owners.

From air-cooled to water-cooled, flat-fours to V10s, and unrestored to concours-winning, there’s likely to be something for everyone who lives and breathes the Stuttgart brand, and you can enjoy the same double egg sandwich or bacon and Ace sausage sarnie that fueled the teddy boys and ton-up boys alike in the 1960s.

Ti 10: What to do this bank holiday
Ace Café, London

British Touring Car Championship, Snetterton, Norfolk – 25-26 May

Price: from £25, under-13s free

Info: snetterton.co.uk

Some might say the BTCC ain’t quite what it used to be. The days of E30 M3s out-cornering rabid, floor-melting Sierra Cosworth RS500s, or even the slightly later period of Laguna Airflows (extra points if you remember that) and 155 Silverstones are well behind us.

However, even if the cars don’t seem quite as inspiring, the racing is every bit as competitive/combative/crashy (insert as appropriate) as it ever has been, thanks in part to spec engine (350bhp hybrid), gearbox and suspension components. Round three at Snetterton should be stormer.

Simply VW, Beaulieu, Hampshire – 26 May

Price: Participants £18.50

Info: beaulieu.co.uk

It’s not essential to be a fully paid up member of the Volkswagen fan club, given that there is so much to see and do at Beaulieu and in the surrounding area, but it sure does help. The Simply VW event this Sunday is as good a place as any to discuss the highs and lows of the Golf GTI, decide which generation of Scirocco has the X-factor and lust after a classic Camper conversion.

And if you have a vee dub yourself, why not take it along for display?  Meanwhile, at the National Motor Museum, the star attraction for most if not all has to be the World of Top Gear display.

Ti 10: What to do this bank holiday

Caffeine & Machine x Petrolheadonism, The Bowl, Bedford – 25 May

Price: £10.79 per car

Info: Caffeine&Machine.com

Caffeine&Machine seemed to be at the vanguard of bringing together petrolheads in an informal, welcoming setting that doesn’t require all of your time to get the best from it or dressing up in period garb.

Since launching its original social venue at Houndshill House in Stratford-upon-Avon, Caffeine & Machine has grown into three venues, and The Bowl is a hop and a skip from the Millbrook Proving Ground that the likes of Frankel would spend many a day at, giving cars a hard time with standing starts, in-gear runs, brake fade tests and road holding assessments. No such antics are permitted at The Bowl this Saturday, where there’s promised to be an eclectic mix of American, Japanese and classic cars plus, of course, plenty of supercars.

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