The inaugural Lookers Supercar event in aid of the Prince's Trust, has been hailed a “roaring success" by the media and participants alike.
Held over two days in May at the legendary Croft Racing Circuit in Darlington, the fundraiser was organised in memory of John Wall who was a well-known business person from the North East. John was the Chairman of the Prince's Trust Development Committee as well as a strong supporter of several other charity ventures.
Over 40 attendees each day had the opportunity to participate in 4 activities. And the Croft track, bordered by lush green grass, was the perfect location to deliver those thrilling driving experiences.
First off the grid, lucky ticket-holders were able to push their pedals to the metal in a wide range of the world's most iconic and prestigious supercars. Marques such as Aston Martin and Audi were lined up alongside equally renowned Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes models. Jaguar showcased their first sports car for 50 years to delighted enthusiasts – the stunning V6 SF Type 3.0 which is capable of achieving a hair-raising top speed of 171 miles per hour.
Clearly exhilarated by the experience many drivers commented on the “adrenaline rush" they experienced. Amongst those in attendance were some well-known faces from Lookers including Managing Director Nigel McMinn, who opened proceedings, as well as CEO Andy Bruce and Commerical Director Paul Bentley.
Single-seat vehicles were also available on the day, allowing attendees to fully experience fast track-action from the exposed drivers' seat of either a specialist Caterham or Ginetta.
Paul Swift - a Guinness world record holder and a professional stunt driver - held an electrifying masterclass which was a huge hit. If you have been mesmerized by chase scenes in movies or TV adverts chances are you were watching Paul behind the wheel. Techniques demonstrated included high speed J-turns, car doughnuts as well as sliding a car between two parked vehicles using the handbrake. Observers commented that the experience was “phenomenal". It certainly looked it!
The off-road experience, the fourth and final part of the day, was arguably the most challenging. Guests had to negotiate tough terrain, such as rivers and steep gradients, in rugged 4x4 Land Rovers. The final thrill was delivered through a very quick ride-along - with an expert rally driver at the pedals to ensure maximum pace.
The event then switched gears as participants were driven to the luxurious Rockliffe Hall Hotel, located on the banks of the River Tees.
There they enjoyed a meal in the Michelin star Orangery restaurant with guest speakers including Top Gears former Stig, Ben Collins and racing driver Johnny Mowlen. The charity auction, held at end of the evening, helped raise thousands of pounds for the Prince's Trust.
Lookers Supercars wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of Peter Gordon, Lookers Marketing Director and Debbie Hardwicke, Group Marketing Manager. In collaboration with Event Management company 'She's Gott It', they created a truly memorable day for many people.
Paul Bentley summed it up best: “How often do you get the chance to thrash cars around a race track and raise money for charity in the process?" Indeed. So same time next year then?
By Tracey McBain