NO STRINGS ATTACHED
Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
A guide to a perfect gentleman’s Sunday morning: wake up early, sneak out from the house, take a car to the Down Royal Racecourse, have a delicious morning coffee, enjoy a full fry breakfast and epic company, then have a proper drive on the way back. Cars and Coffee events are the way to do it - fact!
If there was an event that everybody was waiting for to return it was this - Cars and Coffee at Down Royal racecourse. These summer meets on an early Sunday morning took everybody by surprise last year. How could a simple gathering attract such a variety, quality and quantity of cars? Simple – it has the perfect recipe for a successful car event.
Of course we (NI) didn’t invent the successful formula of simple “cars+coffee” gatherings, yet nobody here had a go at organising a “proper” one (to my knowledge) before; and this may be why these went down a treat. There are no strings attached – you arrive when you want, park where you want, and leave when you want to. There are no cars judged, no prizes to be won and no restrictions of any kind. Therefore it was of no surprise that each event grew larger in numbers and quality, and this year’s first gathering was a league on its own.
The first meet of this year already attracted a record number of vehicles. With the limited spaces available at the trackside it was full by 10AM, but that didn’t stop the cars arriving. The car park outside just kept filling up and it didn’t stop till the moment the first cars started leaving. Who would have guessed this small country is so full of amazing machinery.
For a tiny country with a population of less than 2 million I certainly do think we are spoilt for supercars here, and there was no shortage of them here. From Audi R8s, Ferrari 458, Porsche 911 GT3 RS to Lamborghini Huracan, there was definitely plenty of eye candies present. We really are the Monaco of UK and I must say we are really lucky as the owners are kind enough to bring these along for us mortals to see them up close.
Understandably the bright yellow Lamborghini Huracan of Andrew stole the show. The £160k+ supercar looked astonishing as expected from any angle. The VW group’s Gallardo successor is based on the current generation Audi R8 model and powered by an altered version of its 5.2 litre naturally aspirated V10 engine. The 2 seater mid-engine supercar received an improved brand new aluminium and carbon-fibre chassis to utilise the 610 horsepower it is producing. It takes around 3.5 seconds to reach the 62mph mark and it will keep accelerating all the way to 200mph. The car looks striking with razor sharp nose, futuristic headlights, evil engine cover, spoilers and evil magnificent mirror design and finished with gorgeous black alloys. Just lovely!
Amongst my favourites I’d need to list the amazing Ferrari 355, for many enthusiasts this was the one and only proper Ferrari (of course after the F40). The 355 was the successor of 348 and replaced by 360 model; they were in production between 1994 to 1999 and were one of the best sounding engines Ferrari ever produced. This particular 355 3.5 V8 is equipped with a custom exhaust and the noise from it is outstanding.
Of course there were plenty of other super expensive and amazing cars there, like the very special Bentley Continental GT3-R Edition, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Audi R8s, Nissan GTR, Ferrari 458 and so on.
If supercars weren’t your thing don’t worry there were plenty of other amazing cars.
Probably my favourite part of the whole event (apart from the amazing atmosphere and coffee) is the fact it attracts all generations of cars and people. Whether you like the new, the old, the retro, the future, it was all there. And the best part of it all - everybody gets along.
Cars and Coffee events do have one downside – the weather. They’ll only going to be as successful as the weather on the day it is happening: sunny weather will attract crowds, rainy weather will kill these events. And this is where the indoor car shows will still have the upper hand. And to be honest that is perfect. As long as we don’t oversaturate the “market” ourselves with numerous cars and coffees as well as shows we’ll have a chance for an EPIC car-licious summer.