Chantilly Arts et Elegance 2016
This year, it was the third edition of the Chantilly Arts et Elegance 2016. After being overwhelmed by the quality of the first two events, we definitely knew what to expect from the 3rd edition: the same beautiful scenic place, at the Château de Chantilly, and all sorts of incredibly rare and nice cars. This year, the event took a different spin as well, with the help of SRO and the organization of a “supercar rally” on saturday. That definitely was an unexpected yet awesome surprise. Not only does it give something for those who aren’t particularily into “classics”, but it’s also, as always, the priviledged opportunity to see some incredible cars that you don’t usually get to see. On public roads. Driving.
For me it all began on friday though, when I accompanied my friend Régis from BlogAutomobiles to pick up a Mercedes-Benz SLC 300 that they lended him for the week-end. That was pretty cool, so we spent the morning driving around near Chantilly, taking pictures of the car in nice places. We eventually ended up at the Château, where everyone was busy with the installations for the event. I was actually quite surprised, because it seemed very empty and there were almost no cars at that time (yes, I’m slightly exagerating, there were quite a few there already). A huge contrast with sunday (day of the event), when it’s full of people and full of cars. But at least it was pretty nice to be able to be “alone” with some of the cars. Which made way for some pretty nice photos & videos. As well as priviledged moments.
On saturday, it was the day of the Supercar Rally. We started pretty early as to not miss the beginning of the rally itself. After all, we wanted to see the cars a little on the Chantilly Castle. Funny thing is, way before getting there, we stumbled upon to crazy cars at a toll booth as we were leaving the freeway. So we basically got to do a bit of road with a road-legal McLaren P1 GTR and a full-black Gumpert Apollo. That was quite something. Completely unexpected as well, you don’t really know how to react in these situations. It was my first ever P1 GTR “on road”, mind you.
When we got near to the Chantilly Château, we could already tell something was about to happen. There already were a bunch of people on site, taking pictures, strategically placing themselves to catch the arriving cars. We managed to get inside, where all the cars were parked on the lawn, waiting for the beginning of the rally. As the drivers were listening to the debriefing, we had a bit of “alone time” with the cars. They really out-did themselves it seems, though most of the cars seem to be part of SRO’s “Hypercar Club”, so we weren’t *that* surprised with the turn out. We expected crazy stuff, and we got it.
Apart from the P1 GTR and Apollo, there also were TWO Ferrari 288 GTO, a black F40, an F50, an Enzo (and I was really really happy about that), a Lamborghini Diablo SE30 (which didn’t do the rally, I believe), a Bugatti EB110, THREE Bugatti Veyron (including a GrandSport), a GULF Ford GT, a Lamborghini LP670-4 SV, a black McLaren P1, a Porsche 918, a Porsche Carrera GT… Basically, it was absolutely insane for us mere enthusiasts.
The first cars started to leave, and so did we. We started following the EB110 a little, though we quickly understood that the guy was already lost, less than 10 minutes after the start. To make things short, we kind of messed up through the whole thing with my friend haha. We didn’t go to the strategic places to wait for them, especially during the “closed road” bit. We arrived at the beginning, and once we got to the “end”, after the detour, most of the cars had already driven by the 1-km-closed-road bit haha.
When we arrived at the Castle where the cars were parked for lunch, it was double the fun. Not only because most cars were already there and it was sunny, but because there also was a “classic rally” that took place on the same day, with, among many others, a nice yellow Lamborghini MIURA. There was a nasty little hole on the ground, though. And a lot of those very low cars scraped, including the P1 GTR and the EB110. Sad times, though definitely nothing serious. All in all, it was a lovely afternoon, spent with incredible cars and friends from all over the place. Always a nice moment to catch up.
The day was absolutely incredible as well, we were blessed with a lovely sun. This kind of made me worry about the “big day”: weather forecasted sunday to be a bit rainy. But nothing would ruin that day!
SUNDAY, EVENT DAY
Here we are, the big day. The official start for the Chantilly Arts et Elegance 2016 ! What better way to start the day than to miss your alarm clock haha. Well, I did hear it ring, but I was so tired from the past 2 days, that I just kind of faded out and went back to sleep. Woke up again 10 minutes before the place I was supposed to be to meet friends and catch a ride there. Too bad for me, I wasn’t going to make them wait, that’s for sure. So I took my time, got dressed with my tweed Jacket & nice shoes, and off I went with public transportation.
What I didn’t know at the time is that, contrary to last year, the train stop for Chantilly didn’t seem to exist anymore. No train stopped at Chantilly today. So I basically was about 15 km away from the castle, in the middle of NOWHERE, on a sunday. No buses, no public transport whatsoever (this is France, we’re talking about). And it was raining. Lucky me, a friend had sent me a message on the train, and told me he could come and pick me up. You wouldn’t believe how lucky I was, otherwise I would pretty much be screwed. So thanks a lot MICHAEL, you’re a lifesaver lol!
Once we arrived, I was already much calmer than before (so much stress, right? :P). Things were lining up, rain had stopped, it was just perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect. With friends. What else? Let’s get it on!
The day started with a bunch of cool surprises as well, cars I didn’t necessarily expect to see at the event. Like the yellow LaFerrari, a bunch of F40s & F12 TDF… One of those was the lovely F12 TDF “Ecurie Francorchamps”. The owner, the “club Ferrari Belgium” president, is an incredibly sweet and cool guy: he showed his tailor-made pride & joy to everyone who asked, and was very available. What a nice chap. The livery of this F12 TDF is inspired by a P4 from back in the days, and has several tailor-made details that, including golden wheels, the obvious yellow stripe, as well as ceramic exhausts (which apparently were quite hard to “get it done”).
I went to check-out all the cars showcased all around.
There was a pretty cool Peugeot expo, with a crazy Dakar rally car. Among those was something that I really enjoyed: the Peugeot driven by Ari Vatanen during his incredible Pikes Peak hillclimb from back in the day (everyone should watch the video of his climb, when he literrally drives with only one hand and hides his eyes from the sun with the other. Total boss). The Peugeot 905 caught my eye, obviously. This monster of a car, reminiscence of the golden era of Group C and the BPR races, is probably my favorite race car appart the 333 SP. It’s simply too cool, and it’s french.
As well as an exhibition that payed tribute to Jean Todt (which I didn’t get to see), including several Formula One cars from his days (2001, 2004 and 2007 if I’m not mistaken). There also were 3 Miura. Less than what I would’ve expected for the 50th anniversary, but still, pretty pretty nice. Especially because there was the 66 Miura concept, the “mother of all Miuras” that looked beautiful with its white wedding gown.
Then there was the Concours itself.
I was lucky enough to have a seat to watch the whole show of the concept cars. They were all there: the green DS e-Tense (who eventually won the prestigious “Best of show” award), the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato (in a more subtle yet interesting white/gold colour combo), BMW “Mille Miglia concept” (a retro / futuristic), the Lexus LC500, the Bugatti Chiron, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6… as well as a very odd McLaren 570.
It was a pretty cool show, each car took 2 laps around the center fountain, in the most typical french way. Where you ally a car brand and a designer. Each car was there with a lovely model, representing a clothing designer. It’s all very subjective as to who’s your favorite, who won, who’s the most beautiful girl, most beautiful dress. But I think we can all agree on one thing: it’s a lovely combination, and definitely the best of both worlds.
I kept walking around the lawns, seeing the whole show. It was definitely great. Despite a very small rain around noon. But all in all, all my friends and myself included had a lot of fun. It’s everything you look for in a car event to be honest: nice cars, a lovely scenery, nice friends. I love catching up with my photographer friends (or just car enthusiasts) during those events, and discuss things around lovely cars. Probably one of the best feelings in the world, as far as I’m concerned!
And it’s always nice when people play what I like to call “the dress code game”. I felt there was a better following of the unspoken rules of clothing this year, though we’re still far from a Goodwood Revival. But getting there, hopefully!
There also was the Bugatti “picnic place”. They had about 10/11 Bugatti Veyron (depending on the day and time of day). Several Bugatti Veyron “first gen” as well as a few Vitesse & SuperSport. That was pretty neat. Talk about having your picnic surrounded by a bunch of Veyrons. I don’t think many people can say they’ve done that in their lives haha. I felt like Bugatti had a massive presence at this event: not only were there 10/11 Veyrons, but there also was the Bugatti CHIRON (1st delivered Chiron to a client) as well as the unique Bugatti Vision GT (same owner as the first Chiron, basically this car was built “like that” for the GranTurismo franchise. But a lucky owner decided to buy it. Price? No idea, but definitely not cheap).
As the day was ending, we stayed to see some of the cars leave. And that was absolutely cool.
Hope you enjoyed reading!