It’s that time of year again for the most spectacular four days to be a car enthusiast in New England – the Audrain Newport Concours and Motor Week. This year’s event will be the fourth annual iteration and it has certainly hit its stride, packing more mind-boggling events into four short days than you can fit into one schedule. The fun starts on Wed 9/28 and runs through Sunday 10/2. Let’s get right into an overview of what makes this so special.
This is the big setup day for Motorweek with most of the action happening in the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHOF) on Bellevue Avenue. The event hasn’t technically started yet, so parking is pretty easy. If you make the trip, you get a preview of the greatness to come. You can pick up your passes to the various events and there is a museum-members exclusive seminar with Jay Leno and Donald Osborne – two of the main celebrity hosts, among many others, that you’ll see constantly over the weekend. The cars for the auction will be getting loaded into the indoor tennis facility and the cars that will be displayed on the grass tennis courts will be put into position. Last year, we were able to get up and personal with two classic F1 cars driven by Mika Häkkinen and David Couthard along with some other McLaren finery like a Marlboro-livery Senna. What will we see this year?
This is the official first day of Motorweek with lots of seminars happening and the ITHOF Concours Village fully setup and running. Seminars will kick off with many of our celebrity stars. There is a wine event at 41 North (ticketed) in the evening.
Friday might be my favorite day of Motorweek. The Gathering is the main event, held over at Rough Point, Doris Duke’s sprawling place by the water. It’s a who’s who of the car world showcased among jaw-dropping machines strewn across the rolling lawns of the estate. The food is excellent, the drinks flow, the merch is on display. And guys like Rod Emory, Justin Bell, Tommy Kendall, Zak Brown, and Jay Leno have some spare time to hang and chat. There will likely be something special with a cover to be pulled off at some point (like the new GT3 last year!). As if an Elva, an SP3, and some Chirons aren’t enough to call it a party! PCA has been invited to display 25 cars this year at the event including 10 from our own Northeast Region, hand picked by PCA Executive Director, Vu Nguyen.
Saturday is packed with jaw-dropping, crowd-inducing car craziness. It starts bright and early with some options: do you have a car in the main Sunday Audrain Concours at the Breakers mansion? Then drive around in a huge parade with closed roads on Saturday morning in the Tour d’Elegance. If you don’t – like me – you’ll be able to enjoy seeing these spectacular cars out on the roads of Rhode Island ending with a parked display on temporarily-closed Bellevue Avenue around 3pm. Have a cool car or want to drool? Head to Fort Adams for the cars and coffee 8am-10am. Do you have a Porsche? Of course you do. So scrap those events and come to the Elms mansion starting at 9am for our annual NER Porsche Concours event. Rod Emory, great guy that he is, often hangs out with us there showing off one of his latest outlaw creations. Prizes will be awarded at 12:30pm. When that’s all done, take in more cool seminars and then change into your tux for the Gala back over at the ITHOF. The ticketed prices…well…it’s for charity! Get what little sleep you can as Sunday will again start off bright and early.
6:30am kicks off coffee and dawn patrol over at the Breakers for the main event, the big concours. This event now easily attracts the crazy Pebble-beach type cars (like the $70M NART Ferrari that graced us last year…) and also has pioneered an innovative 30-under-30 class showcasing folks under 30yo with under $30k into their car. The most recent edition of Porsche Panorama has a story by our own Ceiledh Siegel highlighting last year’s group of Porsche 944s that shone bright in the spotlight. Last year, our friends up at Larz Anderson took home a special preservation award for their first-ever factory race car from 1906! It’s a car-person’s day of the year. So come on down to Newport and enjoy it all!