Ultracars old and new star at Chantilly Arts and Elegance

The exclusive Chantilly Arts and Elegance event held on the outskirts of Paris played host to the latest Blancpain Ultracar Sports Club outing of the year last weekend.

Unlike its regular circuit-based meetings, held as part of selected Blancpain GT Series rounds, the Chantilly event gathered together only the most revered supercars of the past 30 years for a weekend of fine dining and driving around some of the most beautiful public roads France has to offer.

Saturday’s 160km-long route, lying approximately 45 minutes north of Paris, included a luxurious lunch at the 800-year-old Royaumont Abbey and a non-competitive opportunity for enthusiasts to explore their ultracars’ performance at Mortefontaine’s scenic alpine-esque proving ground and oval circuit.

From there the ultracar convoy headed back along pedestrian-lined roads to Chantilly for a sumptuous evening gala in the 19th century château’s sprawling grounds. Sunday’s internationally renowned annual Concours d’Etat for classic competition cars and Concours d’Elegance, which is reserved for more contemporary machinery, then provided a suitably chic backdrop to the event’s final day.

A typical Blancpain Ultracar Sports Club entry would only feature the most modern, fastest and technologically ground-breaking automobiles. However, with Chantilly welcoming much older examples the Club was happy to embrace a number of iconic models from the past 30 years.

Indeed, the likes of Ferrari’s LaFerrari and Enzo were joined by predecessors such as the 288 GTO, F40 and F50, while the presence of Porsche’s Carrera GT and current hybrid-powered 918 - the company’s last two flagship models, albeit launched a decade apart - demonstrated the difference between first and second-generation ultracars.

Modern ultracar fans were delighted to see McLaren’s P1 and P1 GTR side-by-side providing a direct comparison between ultimate road and track performance. Equally, the likes of Pagani’s Zonda, the Gumpert Apollo and Lamborghini Murcielago SV demonstrated the wilder, no-compromise attitude to ultracar design.

The final Blancpain Ultracar Sports Club outing of the season takes place at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s Formula 1 venue on October 1-2.

The Blancain Ultracar Sports Club

‘Super’ is no longer a suitable adjective to describe the latest generation of fast, exotic and rare road cars. Nor is it appropriate for the limited number of ‘halo’ machines produced by manufacturers as a showcase of their technological prowess unbound by the constraints of regulated motorsport.

Think Aston Martin Vulcan, Ferrari LaFerrari and FXX, McLaren P1 GTR, Bugatti Veyron SuperSport, Pagani Huayra, Porsche 918 or Koenigsegg One:1 and you have a list unrivalled in terms of power, performance and price tag.

These are ultracars: the ultimate expression of limited-production and track-only automotive engineering, and the spiritual successors to SRO’s much-loved GT1 homologation specials of the late 1990s.

Bringing together these and other examples of an incredibly rare crop is the remit of the Blancpain Ultracar Sports Club, which provides owners with an opportunity to explore the limits of their race-influenced machines in a non-competitive environment.