The reach of Sheikh Zayed can't be underestimated. Good-quality roads were at a premium in the Emirates, before the Founding President of the UAE, whose legacy is being celebrated throughout 2018 with the Year of Zayed, established the country in 1971. Back then, the kind of machines that will be traversing the nation from Saturday (February 3) as part of the celebratory Zayedna event were mere futuristic kernels of ideas in the minds of young future car designers.
Translating to “our Zayed”, Zayedna is the latest and most visible project yet from the Bahrain-based Supercars Club Arabia, which will bring a clutch of the fastest vehicles on the planet to the UAE for the six-day tour. After an opening ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, participants will wind their way from the capital city to Dubai, via the celebrated driving roads of Jebel Hafeet, Hatta and Jebel Jais.
Billing itself as the world's most exclusive supercars club, SCA was founded in 2014, and has since set about expanding its now-global membership to more than 300 owners of some serious automotive eye candy. When we caught up with the club recently at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort in Dubai, a stop-off on a leisure drive through the emirate, the multimillion-dirham contents of the car park were an impressive sight: the highlights included a McLaren P1, a Porsche 918 Spyder and a Ferrari Enzo, plus a wealth of Lamborghini Aventadors, Porsche GT3RSs, Maseratis, a Dodge Viper, and rows and rows of other Ferraris (F12berlinettas, 458s and 488s, among others).
'How do you define a supercar?'
“We started with a small tour in Dubai and to Oman, and we set a list of cars that we accept,” recalls Auf Al Delaimi, SCA's vice-president who co-founded the organisation with club president Sheikh Salman bin Isa bin Mohammed Al Khalifa. “And for the first event, for 50 supercars to turn up, it was something major.
“How do you define a supercar? Each to their own. But I think it’s a mixture of everything: the brand, the quality, the look and the style of the car itself that makes it a supercar. You have your typical cars or brands that are automatically supercars – such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Bugatti – then there are some selected cars, but the list that we have is really short, to keep the exclusivity.”
That exclusivity continues with Zayedna, he explains.
“We have two major tours each year. One takes place in the GCC; one takes part in Europe or the US. Our next tour is going to be focused on the UAE – the culture and certain locations. And being 2018, the Year of Zayed, we have decided to call it Zayedna.
“We’ve limited the participants to 25 cars – we’re already fully booked, although we might increase it because we have some VVIPs wanting to take participate. We prefer to work with quality rather than quantity.”
'The best driving road in the GCC'
The club's ethos reflects the hard-core vehicles involved – Zayedna and SCA's other main tours are designed to demonstrate the capabilities of their supercars, rather than being a flashy crawl around urban streets.
“The roads that we choose are the best driving roads in each location we go to,” Al Delaimi says. “We send a team to monitor and check out the roads to make sure they’re suitable for these cars and also fun to drive. It’s also a location to showcase these cars. We’re spending an extra day to do probably the best driving road in the GCC and the Middle East, which is Jebel Jais, and this is going to be completely closed for us by the RAK Government and the RAK Police. Then we’re finishing in Dubai for a big showcase.
“We are going to have two major cars at the opening ceremony [in Abu Dhabi]: a limited-edition LaFerrari and a limited-edition McLaren P1 – there’s only five in the world.”
With such expensive four-wheeled playthings involved, as you might expect, SCA's members enjoy similarly rarefied personal statuses.
“We have members from all over the GCC – a lot of them are royal-family members, VIPs, businessmen and women,” Al Delaimi says. “Also, even though it’s called Supercars Club Arabia, it’s not just for those living in Arabia or from Arabia; it’s a club for the world. We welcome anybody from different locations. We have members from Europe, from the US, even from Asia, who have participated and joined some of our tours. Some of these members are flying over from Europe, the US and Asia to participate in Zayedna.”
After Zayedna, the next phase of the club's growth is a bricks-and-mortar expansion, with plans for an SCA Lounge cafe/restaurant in Bahrain, followed by a similar base in Dubai. That seems set to be the only lounging around likely, however, with the keys to such an array of wallet-emptying supercars available.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/supercarsclubarabia or find the club on Instagram @supercarsclubarabia
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