THE annual Italian Car Day at Brooklands, the biggest gathering of Italian cars in the UK, is scheduled to take place on Saturday May 5.
The event already looks likely to smash all previous records. Last year’s event saw more than 2,000 Italian cars – including no fewer than 240 Ferraris – assemble on the banking and around the grounds of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit in Weybridge, Surrey.
“The greatest thing about the event is that it welcomes Italian car enthusiasts and owners, regardless of whether they own a famous historic racing car, the latest road-going Ferrari, a much-loved classic or the smallest, most affordable modern Fiat on the market,” says event organiser Phil Ward of GB Promotions.
“Anyone who turns up in an Italian car – or motorcycle – forms part of the display, rather than being merely a spectator.”
Last year, 5,000 visitors enjoyed the sights and sounds of 2,000 Italian cars, from the ex-Rob Walker Ferrari 250 SWB (as driven repeatedly to victory in period by Sir Stirling Moss), to the Ferrari Enzo, F50, 288GTO and 275GTB, through some very special Maseratis and Lamborghinis (thanks in no small part to the support of the respective car clubs), to Abarth, Bizzarrini, De Tomaso, Innocenti, Moretti, Siata.
In fact, think of an Italian marque, no matter how obscure, and it’s almost certain to be there. And few people will come away without discovering a weird and wonderful Italian car, or even marque, they’ve never heard of before.
“In addition to the vast displays of exotica and ‘obscurati’, there is always a good, solid turn-out of classic and modern Alfa Romeos, Fiats and Lancias, so no-one need feel outshone when they turn up in their Italian pride and joy and park up with similar models,” adds Phil.
But the static displays are just part of the occasion. Despite closing for racing in 1939, Brooklands is still a vibrant venue with a spectacular museum and stretches of the original banking from Brooklands’ pre-war racing history. Meanwhile the ‘test hill’ and the Mercedes-Benz world test track will be used to run selected Italian cars during the day.
“We ran the first Italian Car Day at Syon Park in 1986,” said Phil, “when it was a champagne picnic with just 85 people. Ten years later we moved to Brooklands and the event has grown and evolved until it’s become the UK’s largest gathering of Italian cars and Brooklands’ biggest event of the year.
“But we remain true to our original aim of providing a real enthusiasts’ event, with a low entry price, to cater for everyone who owns – or simply admires – Italian cars and motorcycles.”
Pre-booking and early arrival is advisable for fast-track entry. Available from www.brooklandsmuseumshop.com or tel: 01932 857381 Ext 268. Adults £12 in advance (£14 on the day); seniors/students £11 in advance (£12 on the day); children (aged 5-16) £5 in advance (£6 on the day); family (2A + 3C) £32 in advance (£35 on the day). Advance tickets are available until midday on May 1.
Timetable (May 5): 08.30 Gates open; 11.00 Drivers’ briefing; 12.00 Track demo start; 13.00 Track demo end; 13.00 Lunch break; 14.00 Drivers’ briefing; 14.45 Test Hill start; 15.30 Test Hill end; 17.00 Event closed.