Here’s What You Missed At The Reborn Chateau Impney Hillclimb
Photography by: Nat Twiss
How exactly do you bring an event that hasn’t run in nearly half a century back from the dead? The organisers at Château Impney had that exact question, and I think they might have just about nailed it. You take a beautiful French-style château, extend the original course, and throw a bunch of beautiful vintage automobiles on it.
The original event at Château Impney ran between 1957 and 1967 on the grounds of the 19th century manor house, and was a popular event on the motorsport calendar. While the cars are perhaps starting to show their age in terms of pace in 2015, they remain as beautiful and evocative as when they left their coachbuilders and factories all those years ago. Many families and couples admired the cars from afar as they had picnics and ate from the gourmet food trucks dotted around the hill; it was a refreshingly casual event—a far cry from the intensity of a place like Goodwood, where it can be difficult to catch a breath between the crowds of people and constant action.
Not to say there wasn’t action, of course. Just as the brutal 28.5-litre Beast of Turin wowed the crowds at the Festival of Speed last month, it was a spectator favourite here, too. It’s hard not to love the Beast, with every yard of its journey uphill accompanied with belches of black smoke and flame. Great viewing areas meant that the spectators could watch most of the climb from a single area, so they didn’t miss the drifts and lockups that were frequently occurring on the technical route. The open paddock allowed great proximity to the cars and drivers. It would be a shame to let some of the details of these machines go unseen by everyone.
It can be hard to make your event stand out in the crowd, especially in the UK, but it’s very hard to argue with the recipe that this event has. I’m sure there will be tweaks before next years event, as with any, but the Château Impney Hill Climb is looking like it will be a firm favourite on the calendar for years to come.