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posted on May 31st, 2017

Hit the road for some spectacle

Summer brings good weather, vacation time, and watermelon. It also means racing season and the world’s premier events in car culture are here. Immerse yourself in the culture and see if you can make it to one of our favorite events this summer.

Bimmerfest

Image credit: Bimmerfest

JUNE 3-4

Fans of BMW should not miss this weekend event. Bimmerfest is the largest celebration of the Bavarian Roundel in the US, and last year over 4,000 cars and 10,000 fans descended upon Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California for the event, and this year, Turo is proud to sponsor the Turo Corral at Bimmerfest. The full event schedule includes something for every type of owner and fan. The Battle of the Bimmers is a judged car show with eight categories ranging from classics to modified racers. For full participation, the oval and road course is open to hot laps for the Bilstein Road Course Challenge. Last year also had an autocross course set up in a parking lot, complete with a “Test and Time” handling clinic for owners to shake down their modified Bimmers.

Auto Club Speedway is just outside Los Angeles, but for East Coasters, Bimmerfest East returns for a third year at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. Bimmerfest East will be held July 29–30, and will feature just about all the same events as Fontana. Don’t forget to swing by the Turo Corral to say hey and have a snack this weekend!

Fun Fact: At Bimmerfest, BMW owners who are curious about their car’s real power output can come throw their whip on the Dyno for a small fee — a valuable service for those with modded streetcars.

Isle of Man TT

Image credit: Favoroads

JUNE 3-9

The legendary Isle of Man TT motorcycle race began in 1907 and still runs today. The race takes place on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea between England and Northern Ireland on a 37-mile course made up of public roads. With average speeds of over 130 mph, the world’s fastest riders brave the time trial through rolling green pastures and between postcard-perfect cottages. Though it remains motorbike racing’s most prestigious competition, the TT is considered by many to be the most dangerous event in sports. The Isle of Man’s Mountain Road is responsible for over 250 fatalities since the inception of the contest. More than a technically and physically challenging race, the Isle of Man TT is the ultimate test of guts, adrenaline, and will.

Fun Fact: The TT has only been cancelled during the two world wars and the UK’s foot and mouth epidemic in 2001.

24 Hours of Le Mans

Image credit: Reuters

JUNE 17

The oldest active sports car endurance race runs on the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The 24 Hours of Le Mans holds a special place in racing history. It has popularized the 24-hour endurance format and spawned similar events at the Nurburgring, Daytona, Bathurst, and other storied tracks. Traditionally, the race began with the famous Le Mans start, where drivers would run across the width of the track to enter their cars and start the race. The Le Mans start was discontinued in 1970 because of safety concerns, but lives on in racing lore.

In the race itself, teams of typically three drivers take turns to run a single car around the course for — you guessed it — 24 hours. Multiple classes of racecars run simultaneously, and many vehicles do not survive the day. Finishing teams often surpass 3,000 miles for the race, testing the durability of the cars and the mental stamina of the drivers and crew.

Fun Fact: The first televised instance of a winning driver spraying champagne instead of drinking it was at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb

Image credit: RoadandTrack

JUNE 25

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a world-renowned time trial where racers of all kinds scramble up 12.4 miles of the Pikes Peak Highway in Colorado. The event is self-sanctioned and various types of vehicles and classes compete, often with new classes introduced and discarded year-to-year. The grueling course averages a seven percent grade and climbs a total of 4,720 feet to reach the 14,100-foot peak. Rather dangerously, the Pikes Peak Highway used to feature different sections of dirt, gravel, and asphalt. Under pressure from environmental groups, the course was completely paved by 2012. Pikes Peak, which attracts more visitors annually than any American mountain, provides a stunning setting for the world’s highest altitude motorsports race and is easily accessible from Colorado Springs.

Fun Fact: At the peak, the altitude robs engines of 30% of their power, testing the strength of the vehicle and the mettle of the drivers.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Image credit: Xoprivate

JUNE 29-JULY 2

In 1993, Lord March wanted to bring racing back to Goodwood Circuit in West Sussex, England, but did not have the proper permits to host the race. Instead, he hosted it at his own grounds of the Goodwood Estate, which is steeped in historical significance for British racing. Since then, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has been a mainstay in motorsports culture, and draws crowds of up to 150,000 for each of the festival’s three days.

The main event is the hillclimb through the grounds of the Goodwood estate. The “moving motor show” oozes British charm and features historical racing vehicles dashing up a hay bale-lined 1.16-mile course to the delight of the thousands of spectators. In addition to the famed hillclimb, this celebration of motorsport gives fans intimate access to racecars from Formula One and supercar series, among other festivities.

Fun fact: Each year since 1997, a manufacturer has been honored with a central display erected on the lawn in front of the Goodwood house, usually in coincidence with an anniversary or achievement.

GTCon

Image credit: GTCon

JULY 13-15

GTCon is a new three-day event this year at the Anaheim Marriott in Southern California. This convention will bring together influencers, celebrities, creators, industry professionals, and fans to serve as a hub for the evolving automotive community. Fans who attend will have access to panels, Q&As, and special events with their favorite creators and journalists. Automotive influencers can participate in conferences on content creation, brand monetization, industry partnerships, and more. Keynotes, panels, networking events, and roundtable discussions will help these new voices in car culture connect with the community.

For industry professionals, GTCon’s Industry track of participation will help leaders, managers, and brands interact with the culture. The goal is to increase understanding of the impact of emerging platforms and auto influencers and facilitate connection between the community and the industry. This progressive, immersive experience embraces the culture’s increasing online presence and helps bring the conversation into the present.

Fun Fact: In our Ask a Gearhead series, we featured GTCon founder Chad Phelps, who is a diehard Porsche enthusiast and Star Wars buff.

Monterey Car Week

Image credit: ShaminAbas

AUGUST 11-20

Every August, the Monterey Peninsula in California comes alive as car people from all over arrive for one of America’s most special automotive events. A bevy of shows, tours, races, and auctions culminate with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, widely considered the most prestigious exhibition of collector classics in the world. Fewer than 200 of the finest motorcars will be invited to adorn Pebble Beach Golf Links’ legendary 18th fairway to be judged for historical accuracy, technical merit, and elegance. This exclusive celebration of craftsmanship and artistry is an object lesson in grandeur and class. Men in ascots will be observable.

For those who can’t afford the sky-high admission to the Concours, there are plenty of other events during Monterey Car Week. Multiple vintage auto shows, such as the Carmel Mission Classic, display similarly sublime vehicles. Various auctions, each with more rare cars than the next, attract deep-pocketed collectors from around the world. At the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, hundreds of historic racecars take to the famed tarmac of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. You get the point — there’s a lot to see. Even if you can only make it for a couple days, Monterey Car Week is well worth the trip.

Fun Fact: Once a car is accepted to the Pebble Beach Concours, it cannot again be entered in the event for ten years, with three exceptions: the car has been restored, the ownership of the car has changed, or a special invitation from the selection committee has been issued.

Steven is an avid car guy and content specialist at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.