BEAUTY ON COURSE

No less than two track focused McLaren models and two McLaren Special Operations produced road cars made their global debut along the greens at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Many in the crowd had been standing out in the damp, foggy chill of California’s Monterey Peninsula since 5am, when the first cars in the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance took position on the 18th fairway. 
 
The Dawn Patrol has been a Pebble Beach fixture for more than a decade, and it is now attended by thousands of hardy souls who come in the murky wee hours to line the route onto the green and soak up the sights and smells provided by the classic convoy. Any year that the temperature is above 50 Fahrenheit and there isn’t a bone-shivering mist is considered a good year. 
 
Despite this drizzly start, Pebble Beach is unquestionably the world’s most prestigious classic automobile event. There can be no doubt about this as, you walk past lines of immaculate vintage Packards, Hispano-Suizas and Bugattis all glinting in the Californian sun. 

Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance is the 64-year-old anchor to what has grown into a near-week-long classic car extravaganza, drawing in more than 45,000 people, some of them with the intention of acquiring the world’s most sought after machinery at the many auctions taking place. There are vintage races, separate shows for Italian and German cars, and even the Concours d’LeMons, showcasing the oddest and quirkiest cars of all time. 
 
Part of Pebble Beach’s draw is its postcard setting: overlooking Monterey Bay, about 120 miles south of San Francisco, Pebble Beach lies among hilly pine groves and a crumbled shoreline. Monterey’s thriving tourist infrastructure of hotels and chic eateries plays an able host to the crowds, even if the local roads are sometimes inadequate to handle the traffic. But what traffic it is during this special week: in the neighbourhoods of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Pebble Beach, it's no rarity to spot everything from a new McLaren P1™ to a Pierce-Arrow roadster as thousands of enthusiasts convoy in from across the US, driving their own classics and exotics. 
 
Though there are dozens of shows, rallies and cruise-ins surrounding the weekend, the official festivities start with the 80-mile Tour d’Elegance on Thursday, in which many of the 200 cars appearing in the Sunday Concours drive a route down the windy coastline.
 
Our week began with a McLaren owners’ convoy from Los Angeles north to the event. For the past few years, McLaren has used Pebble Beach as the venue to show something new, and this year it was the global reveal of a track-focused duo; the McLaren P1™ GTR design concept and the 650S Sprint. The GTR was available for public viewing in Pebble Beach’s concept car ring.
 
Away from the main show, all weekend long, vintage racers at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion roared around the nearby Laguna Seca. Multiple period McLarens were in attendance notably taking part in a recreation of the iconic CanAm series in which McLaren secured five championships through the mid-sixties and early seventies.  

 


‘Everybody here has one thing in common – they love cars.'


 

This McLaren MSO 650S was one of two cars shown by McLaren Special Operations. The other was a customer commissioned McLaren P1™.

Comedian, all round motor enthusiast, McLaren owner and host of this year’s Pebble Beach concours, Jay Leno chats with Paul Mackenzie, Executive Director of McLaren Special Operations.

From the vantage point of our glass-walled stand near The Lodge (the 95-year-old hotel that hosts the Concours event on the waterside golf course), it’s easy to see why we come to Pebble Beach in force. Each year the stand overlooks the cars parked on the fairway of the 543-yard 18th, as well as the Pacific Ocean lazily lapping the outcroppings of Monterey’s rocky peninsula. 
 
‘Everybody here has one thing in common – they love cars,’ said Wayne Bruce, McLaren Automotive’s Global Communications Director, part of a team in attendance from our UK headquarters. Cars on display included a McLaren P1™, a 650S accented by options from McLaren Special Operations, a rare road-going M6 GT on loan from a private owner, and the M26 Formula 1™ car. The invitation-only hospitality area was just one of two McLaren pavilions at The Lodge, the second one open to all attendees – a chance to get up close to some seldom seen McLarens.  
 
‘It’s a layered approach,’ Wayne explained. ‘We like to host our customers, of course, but also to engage with the enthusiasts. Events such as Pebble Beach are a celebration of automotive excellence over the decades. Being a part of that is important to us.’
 
With a heady mix of beautifully prepared heritage vehicles and state of the art performance cars, after 64 years, Pebble Beach continues to grow as a premier event on the automotive calendar.

 

The McLaren P1™ GTR Design Concept provided contrast to the classics on display. 

Our guests had the chance to admire a privately owned M6 GT (nearest) and an M26 Formula 1 car (background).

The McLaren Brand Centre was located near to The Lodge, which has been home to the Concours d’Elegance for 64 years.

The new McLaren 650S Sprint track car, developed by McLaren GT, made its global debut at Pebble Beach.

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