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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Gulf Concours to showcase region’s ‘best-in-class’

The annual event returns to Burj Al Arab with an array of classic and bespoke cars

A Ferrari 250 GT is one fo the top draws. Gulf Concours
A Ferrari 250 GT is one fo the top draws. Gulf Concours

While the thrill of the new tends to dominate the motoring landscape around this time of year, with the Dubai International Motor Show and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix still lingering in recent memory, the viewfinder is widened when it comes to the Gulf Concours.

This annual event returns to the grounds of the Burj Al Arab from December 7 to 9, after its successful inaugural run last winter, taking its cues from scene-leading extravaganzas such as Pebble Beach in California and Villa d’Este in Italy.

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That first running had more than a century of automotive art on display, from a 1913 classic made by French manufacturer Clement-Bayard through to hypercars from Ferrari, Porsche and Dubai company W Motors.

“From our point of view, it went really well and achieved all its objectives,” says James Brooks-Ward, the director of the organisers, Desert Gate Events. “For the 2017 edition, there will be 50 cars on display. We have two new manufacturers on board: Jaguar Land Rover and Porsche. Both have some great classics to display and some very interesting new models.

“The elements of manufacturers, classics from around the region and modern bespoke models worked really well last year, providing an interesting story of the car’s evolution,” he says. “We were keen not to change this but to enhance the event as the exclusive automotive garden party for the Gulf region. There is limited space on Burj Al Arab’s North Terrace, so we insist that everything must be the best-in-class in the region.”

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Also among that line-up will be current carmakers Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Bentley, while classics highlights include a 1922 Mercedes SSK, a wallet-worryingly expensive 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder and, for off-road connoisseurs, a Series I Land Rover from 1951.

A key part of any concours of elegance event, meanwhile, is judging the finest motors on show, and two prestigious names will be on hand in Dubai: British royal Prince Michael of Kent and Sandra Button, the chair of Pebble Beach. There is a high standard of cars to match, thanks to the quality of last year’s field.

“We wanted to make sure that although we come from an international concours background that this is an event by the region, for the region,” Brooks-Ward explains. “This means that although one cannot forget the Ferrari 250 GTO from the UK [last year], I was really pleased to see a wonderfully presented [Jaguar] XK120 Roadster from Dubai win a prize.

“We are trying to innovate with each new edition and this year we will be hosting a dinner for the owners, as well an additional evening event at Burj Al Arab,” he says. “The important thing not to lose sight of, from our perspective, is that the focus must always remain on the cars and the experience of the weekend.”

For more information, visit www.gulfconcours.ae

Also on December 7 to 9, the third edition of the Gulf Car Festival (www.gulfcarfestival.com) will take over Dubai Festival City Mall, a new venue for the event. Last year's festival brought together about 900 cars worth more than Dh300 million from across the Emirates and wider Gulf region – and that first figure is set to swell by several hundred this time around, with between 1,000 and 1,200 cars expected. The first day is themed around American muscle; the second centres on supercars, exotics, European cars and classics; and the final day will major in JDM (Japanese domestic market) cars, tuned vehicles and trucks. Individuals and car clubs can register their vehicles, although the festival isn’t all static displays, with stunt drifting, a rev battle, car pulls and a burnout competition.