Hilton Head, SC, June 26, 2008 -– Start your engines! The 2008 Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival, which will take place at Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island, S.C. October 30-November 2, will feature a special 100th anniversary celebration of the Great Savannah Races at the Hilton Head/Savannah Historics vintage track event, to be managed by Historic Sportscar Racing, Ltd., at the re-opened road course on Hutchinson Island in Savannah, Ga.
Porsche will serve as the presenting sponsor for the track events on Hutchinson Island, which will mark the first time in more than a decade that this race course has been opened to the public. The event also serves a landmark occasion since it marks the first time that civic and business leaders in Savannah and on Hilton Head Island have joined forces to promote a regional event.
“We’re delighted to have support from both the Hilton Head and the Savannah communities for these high-energy track events,” said Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival executive director Carolyn Vanagel. “The Great Savannah Races, which ran between 1908 and 1911, served as the very first grand prix road race in the United States. It’s such a thrill to be able to bring and element of racing back to Savannah and to celebrate this innovative racing event.”
On Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31, vintage race cars will take center stage at Hilton Head/Savannah Historics including some cars from the original Great Savannah Races. Hosted at the newly-reopened Hutchinson Island track, located adjacent to the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort and Spa, this two-day vintage track exhibition will offer everything for the avid performance car fan, from exhibition laps at speeds exceeding 100 mph to interactive autocross events. Visitors can also enjoy high-speed rides in the latest and greatest sports car models.
Additionally, a number of Brass Era Cars including cars representative of those originally in the Great Savannah Races can also be seen on parade Friday, October 30 through the city streets of Savannah. The 1910 Lancia Tipo 55 race car which Billy Knipper drove to victory in Savannah in 1910, earning the prestigious Tiedemann Trophy, will be featured throughout the long weekend. The car, which participated in the 2006 Goodwood Festival of Speed, is owned by Ken Prichard Jones, a member of the Veteran Racing Car Club Limited in Sussex, England. At the time of the race, the Lancia held the world record for average speed in its class.
A vintage E-M-F Stock Chassis Racer, which was one of three cars the factory built to enter in the Savannah race in 1911, will also be featured at the Hilton Head/Savannah Historics as well as in the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival at Honey Horn on both Saturday, November 1 and
Sunday, November 2 in the Quest for Style & Speed exhibit. Emblazoned with the number 33, this vintage 1911 race car finished third in the race, averaging 57 miles per hour on the course. The car recently, which has been meticulously restored by Gordon Matson of Concord, N.H., earned a national award from the Antique Automobile Club of America and was invited to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2007.
In addition, a 1908 Renault, one of the first of William K. Vanderbilt’s set of ten specially commissioned Renault Racers which normally resides in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, will also attend to celebrate the Centennial. It has been driven at Goodwood by IMS’s hugely experienced chief restorer, premier Concours judge and former race mechanic, Bill Spoerle.
“These particular cars have an incredible history,” said Paul Doerring, chairman of the board of directors for the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival. “We’re honored to share these vintage racing cars with the public during our centennial celebration of the Great Savannah Races.”
The Great Savannah Races have earned an illustrious place in the history of American auto racing. In November of 1908, spectators arrived in Savannah from all across the country to witness the International Race for the Grand Prize Race of the Automobile Club of America, which was later called the American Grand Prize Race.
The event was designed to be even larger than the popular Vanderbilt Cup Race and offered a gold cup valued at $5,000, which was twice the value of the Vanderbilt Cup at the time. Louis Wagner won the 1908 Savannah race in a Fiat which averaged 65 miles per hour. Only 9 of 20 cars finished the 402-mile race, which featured 30 major curves along a 25-mile track.
The Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival is one of the nation’s signature automobile events. This year, the festival will feature the Worldwide Auctioneers’ 3rd Annual Hilton Head Sports & Classic Car Auction, historic automobile race exhibitions, vintage motorcycle displays and a Club Car Jamboree.
New exhibits for the seventh annual Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival include a special celebration of Brass Era (Pre-1916) Cars as this year’s Honored Marque. During the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, November 2, the brass classes will showcase at least one model from each year between 1899 and 1915.
Other anniversaries to be celebrated as featured Concours classes on Sunday, November 2nd include the 100th anniversaries of both General Motors and Morgan, the 60th anniversary of Porsche and the 50th anniversary of Edsel.
BMW will return as the Official Automotive Sponsor of the 2008 Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival. Other official sponsors include Hargray as the Official Communications Sponsor, Monthly Media Group as the official magazine, Adventure Radio as the Official Radio Stations and Celebration Events as the Official Special Events Planning and Catering Company. Additional sponsors will be announced in the coming months.
Gate ticket prices are $15 for Thursday or Friday’s vintage track event, the Hilton Head/Savannah Historics, $25 for Saturday, $35 for Sunday, $50 for a two-day (Saturday & Sunday) pass and $55 for an all-access (Thursday – Sunday) pass. Children under 12 get in free, ages 12-18 are $5 per day (with student ID) and military (with an active duty I.D.) receive ½ off general admission ticket prices at the gate. Advance discounted tickets are currently available at www.hhiconcours.com.
For more information, please call (843) 785-SHOW (7469) or visit the official Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival website at www.hhiconcours.com.