The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 4 June 2007

Major new international motoring event
Culzean Autoclassica set for Ayrshire

A MAJOR new annual international motoring event will soon be making its home in Ayrshire.

Starting in 2008, the Culzean Autoclassica will be hosted at Culzean Castle.

Picture shows the Autospirit team organising the Culzean Autoclassica, left to right: Robin Donovan, Tony Flint, Les Hannah, Norman Geddes and Mike Schafer with Norman’s Maserati.

Organised by Auto Spirit in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, the Culzean Autoclassica will be an exclusive event aimed at all marques of auto transport, with particular emphasis towards top or significant marques.

Owners of historic, vintage, classic, racing, sports and touring cars and bikes, prestigious sports performance cars will be amongst those invited to participate. Clubs representing any of these categories will be especially welcome. Invitations will also be extended to vintage commercial and tractor vehicle owners.

To capture the castle’s unique ambience and its magnificent location, the event will adopt a traditional theme. Participants will be invited to enter into the Autoclassica spirit by arriving in period costume, reflecting their particular era of transport.

A wide variety of activities will interest of all those attending, including a concours d’elegance, an auction of classics and auto memorabilia, special marque displays, club enclosures, trade village, action events, a gala dinner and hog roast barbecues.

A planned feature of the Autoclassica will be a nostalgic return of motor sport to the old Turnberry airfield track, albeit with demonstration runs and possibly a sprint. The track was the scene of major races in the early 50s when famous drivers like Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss, Ken Wharton, Reg Parnell and Ninian Sanderson drove the legendary V16 BRMs, Thinwall Special, Connaught and ERA GP cars.

The Autoclassica will be designed to encourage participation from both manufacturers and dealers, including those organizations associated with the motor vehicle and it’s lifestyle. Friday will be designated primarily as a corporate day, manufactures dealers and sponsors will be able to privately entertain clients both at Culzean and the Westin Turnberry Golf Resort with facilities such as test-driving available.

Auto Spirit and the National Trust for Scotland have teamed up with the nearby five-star Westin Turnberry Hotel, and on the Friday will host an annual Autoclassica Golf Tournament played over one of the hotel’s world-class golf courses. Hotel accommodation packages as well as executive accommodation at Culzean Castle will also be available.

The exact dates for the first Culzean Autoclassica have yet to be finalised, but will be sometime in August or September 2008.

Meanwhile, the organisers are planning to launch the Culzean Autoclassica over the weekend of 21, 22, and 23 September this year, in order to give potential sponsors, participating organisations, clubs and owners the opportunity to evaluate the many fantastic opportunities and pleasures the first event itself will generate in 2008.

The organisers are particularly keen to involve local Ayrshire businesses and would be delighted to discuss how best they can participate in the event and achieve maximum brand awareness. Specifically designed corporate packages linked with trade stands and corporate enclosures will permit the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with existing and new clients in a five star environment. Sponsorship opportunities offer an association with an event commanding international recognition and synonymous with auto heritage, the marques represented and the magnificence of the venue.

Special invitations are being extended to interested parties inviting them to come along to Culzean Castle and Turnberry for an enjoyable weekend of fun and to find out all about the Culzean Autoclassica. The launch will feature some of the activities intended to become part of the first Autoclassica programme in 2008.

To gain maximum exposure for the launch the public is invited to attend on the Sunday.

For more information, visit

The Autospirit Team

Autospirit is a new company formed bringing together a specialist management team who have been involved in the marketing and the presentation of car events for over twenty years. They include well-known names from event management, motor clubs and motor racing.

The principals of the business have a passion for all things automotive combined with a commercial awareness derived from many years in business in their own right.

Tony Flint, a retired local businessman with a lifelong passionate involvement in motorsport, high performance sports and classic cars and representing manufacturers and clubs, founded Autospirit. Tony has many successful years organizing international Porsche events at venues such as Princess Diana’s home Althorp House. Amongst his many other interests he had been planning a major event down in England when he was approached through mutual friend Norman Geddes, senior partner at Ayr-based Frazer Coogans Solicitors, and by Mike Schafer, the National Trust for Scotland’s Culzean Castle manager. Mike, an avid Porsche enthusiast asked him if he would consider organizing a motoring event at Culzean Castle Country Park.

Excited by the huge potential The Culzean Autoclassica would have, the name that was to become adopted for the event, Tony had no hesitation in enlisting the help of long time friend and fellow Marcos owner and car enthusiast Les Hannah. Les has a successful record as a major event organizer and was production director of the locally held International Guitar Festival. The company Autospirit was registered with Les as a director, and in partnership with Mike Schafer of the National Trust for Scotland they began planning an event destined to be different than anything ever hosted in Scotland.

Tony and Les recognised Culzean Castle was a five-star venue, however immediately noted it was not the only Ayrshire venue with similar status in the locality. The Westin Turnberry Hotel with its famous Turnberry golf courses on the doorstep could provide five-star international hotel accommodation and facilities for their high profile event. The added bonus was that the Westin Turnberry owns what remains of the old Turnberry Race Track, completing the dream scenario Tony and Les had planned for the Culzean Autoclassica, to celebrate Turnberry as being the only Scottish track to host a race in which a formula one team had competed.

The Westin Turnberry Hotel reacted favourably to becoming involved with the Culzean Autoclassica and the exciting prospect of those GP cars appearing again at the old Turnberry racetrack will become an integral part of the event.

Early additions to the event team include Maserati owner and enthusiast Norman Geddes. Norman will provide an all important link with local Ayrshire businesses. Others in the team include Robin Donovan, fourteen times Le Mans driver and corporate event and sponsorship expert and Fred Hampton, ex chairman of Porsche Club Great Britain and a recognized classic and sports car display guru.

Tony has approached other friends and associates from the world of motor racing and journalism and early indications are we can expect one or two very well known and respected names joining Team Autoclassica.

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