Sometimes there are no words. And today, even the man whose job it is to talk about cars for a living admits to being momentarily speechless.
Written by: Angus Frazer for JBR Capital
As commentator Chris Dawes looks down from the control tower at the cars assembled on the grid at Donington for the lunchtime high-speed hypercar parade at the 2021 Supercar Driver (SCD) Michelin Secret Meet, he almost doesn’t know where to start.
To be fair, where do you start with a nearly endless sea of machinery, each boasting stunning looks and nigh on 400bhp? And that’s just the car park. On the track, power outputs are, in some cases, more than triple that, and the spectacle is off the scale. SCD’s Tour Manager, Jonty Wydell, hits the nail bang on the head when he uses the word ‘unicorn’ to describe cars like the Lamborghini Reventón, Porsche 996 GT1, Pagani Zonda F, Ferrari Monza SP2 and Bugatti Divo with its eyewatering 1479bhp.
Even on this beautifully sunny day, dark forces are very much at work with a trio of midnight black Koenigsegg models – Regera, CCX and One:1. And of course, the Devil’s own supercar is amply represented with no less than four Lamborghini Diablo SVs shaking the gid with their V12 rumble, one of which had been driven to the event by SCD member Brian Owen. Brian’s Aventador, Huracan and Murciélago have been left sulking in the garage back at home in Wales.
“You can’t beat a V12 engine,” says Brian. “Although driving the Diablo makes you realise just how much modern supercars have evolved. The Diablo is quick in a straight line, but it doesn’t brake or go round corners quite so well. My SV was on the stand at the Birmingham motor show back in 1998.”
The days of the Birmingham NEC and London Earls Court motor shows might be long gone, but the guys at SCD are well on their way to establishing their own motor show. And, judging by the calibre of the machinery on display at the Michelin Secret Meet, the show is clearly held in high regard by manufacturers and dealers.
Maserati has brought along its new MC20, which only made its debut in the UK at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a month ago. “This is a great event for us to bring the car to,” explains Maserati’s North European Sales and Marketing Consultant Ryan Liquorish. “It gives us the chance to show the MC20 to people who are truly passionate about their cars.”
Away from the sound and fury of the track action, which along with the SCD member sessions also includes demonstrations by GT and LMP cars, and Ignition F1 1990s Grand Prix cars, Ferrari is presenting a static display of the Roma. Elegant beyond belief with its Vintage Rose paint finish, the Roma indeed has a claim to stake as the most beautiful car of the day.
Another car to raise the hair on the back of the neck, and bring a lump to the throat, is Ayrton Senna’s 1985 black and gold JPS Lotus 97T F1 car. “It’s the car he won his first Grand Prix in at Portugal in the rain,” explains Richard Parramint from Classic Team Lotus, who joined the company in 1968. “It’s one of the most special cars in our collection now. Of course, in the old days, Colin Chapman wasn’t interested in old racing cars. All everyone wanted back then was next year’s car, not last year’s!”
As the day progresses, JBR Capital’s Founder and Chief Commercial Officer Darren Selig is also left almost speechless after ‘enjoying’ extremely hot-lap passenger rides with David Brabham in the Brabham BT62 and with Alberto Solera in the 1,177bhp Zenvo TSR-S. Once he gets his breath back, Darren tells us:
“This event is truly remarkable and represents the very best of the UK supercar and hypercar community. JBR Capital is so proud to partner with Supercar Driver and days like today vibrantly bring the whole partnership to life”
For Zenvo’s Head of Production, Alberto Solera, exercising the extremely track-focused TSR-S is all in a day’s work. But even he is blown away by the SCD Michelin Secret Meet: “I came here last year, and it was excellent, but this year is incredible. I do many motorsport events, and I have never seen so many hypercars in one place before. There’s got to be two hundred million pounds worth of cars out there, easily. It’s great to have our TSR-S on track in such company.”
So, how do you sum up just how good the 2021 Michelin SCD Michelin Secret Meet was? Well, we’re still a little lost for words, so we will leave that to Tom Hartley Junior, who puts the event on equal footing with what many consider to be the greatest celebration of automotive culture on the planet: “I was missing Pebble Beach not being able to go there with all the travel restrictions, but this makes up for it, and we’ve even got the Californian weather.”
A huge thank you to all our members and sponsors who help make this event what it is. The SCD team.