Wilton House Classic and Supercar 2014 took place last weekend. As an event, Wilton House is unique. It is much more than a static show of cars. We joined around 70 supercars for the early morning supercar parade which included a stopover at the historic Gurston Hill Climb! Our rides? The Jaguar F-Type V8S Convertible and the McLaren 650S Spider!
Having caused chaos at the Brooklands Hotel last year, the start line for this year’s event had moved to a parking lot outside the Mercedes-Benz museum, well away from the hotel! With the remnants of a tropical storm headed for Wilton mid-morning, the turnout wasn’t quite to the same level as last year.
Despite the weather, a number of brave supercar owners joined the convoy from the start including an awesome Jaguar XJ220, a chrome Lamborghini Aventador and a few Ferrari F12 Berlinetta’s. The first stop would be Fleet Services. Having left Brooklands, we were pleasantly surprised at our good fortunes, the weather held!
A quick dash along the M25 bought us to the M3. Light traffic meant we were able to drive in convoy without causing too many problems to other road users. We followed a silver Audi R8 most of the way with a white Gallardo and several others making the initial blast very interesting indeed!
When we arrived at Fleet Services, things started to go downhill… at least if we are talking about weather. The cars were a completely different story! As we marvelled at the flood of supercars who had decided Fleet Services was a better place to join the convoy than Brooklands, we spotted a couple of Ultima’s another Lamborghini Aventador (a green roadster) and even a Dodge Viper.
The biggest surprise was yet to come though. Whilst we waited for the last to arrive, a red McLaren F1 pulled into the car park. Fresh from DK Engineering’s workshop, this particular car had recently arrived from the US. Its new owner seemed more than happy to pack on the miles and we left with a bolstered Convoy.
Our final destination was Gurston Hill Climb. It was quite an ordeal getting there too as the rain fell hard, making the roads extremely treacherous. We passed a three-wheeler Morgan en-route, stiff upper lip appeared to be all that kept him on the road, exposed to the combination of heavy rain and massive spray.
As a hill climb venue, Gurston doesn’t quite have the reputation of Shelsey Walsh, or other famous British hill climbs. Based amongst the fields, you would be forgiven for thinking it was yet another farm track. The first run took place 25 June 1967 when the first record was set in a McLaren-Oldsmobile. Bringing McLaren’s 650S Spider back to its roots just felt right!
The rain-soaked track made for interesting driving conditions, the Jaguar F-Type V8S relied heavily on its traction control system as it jumped from bump to bump. The experience was thoroughly entertaining though. I suspect the F-Type could have set a fantastic time on the right day and in the right hands, unfortunately we let it down somewhat!
Being slightly wider than the F-Type, the 650S Spider was an altogether different prospect. On a hill climb built for cars of the 60’s and 70’s, as well as track day special’s, the 650S Spider felt as though it was a little wide to really test its limits. It was still a very interesting experience though.
By the time the track closed, a Gumpert Apollo and a Ferrari F40 joined our group.
Check back for the second part of our Wilton House experience.