Theme for Heveningham Concours confirmed, celebrating the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Two Nineties Le Mans legends announced in event and theme preview
Ex-factory ‘Works’ 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evo (GT1-004) to be seen on public display alongside famous ‘#35’ 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK LM
Held at Heveningham Hall, Suffolk, the annual Concours comprises both static and dynamic displays of significant cars and aeroplanes, taking place on 8th & 9th July
Historically important Spitfire, MH434, secured for aviation display will be reunited with squadron mate, MH415 to celebrate their 80th birthdays
Dynamic Horsepower Hill also returns, attracting a wide array of classic and contemporary supercars to the timed 1/8 mile ‘drag race’
Heveningham Concours will kick off UK’s unofficial 'Car Week’, starting in Suffolk and ending in Chichester with the Goodwood Festival of Speed (13th to 16th July)
This year’s Heveningham Concours theme is proudly confirmed as the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ centenary. Previewing the event theme – two special cars are already announced – the first, ‘GT1-004’, an ex-Works Porsche 911 GT1 Evo, alongside the famed, ex-FIA GT World Champion CLK LM Mercedes-Benz. Showcasing the quality of Concours entrants that will be assembled, Heveningham Concours’ organisers have confirmed the event will take place on 8th & 9th July 2023 from the majestic Heveningham Hall in Suffolk, and will be the debut event for the UK’s unofficial ‘Car Week’, concluding the following weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
With this year’s theme of the famed UK-based Heveningham Concours announced as the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a bid to salute Le Mans’ centenary, the Heveningham Concours committee has confirmed it will be the first non-Porsche event in the world to publicly display ‘GT1-004’, an ex-Works Porsche 911 GT1 Evo (GT1-004). First developed following the successful debut of the two Works GT1s at ‘La Sarthe’ in 1996 for Porsche’s 1997 Le Mans effort, it is one of two cars ever built in this specification. Chassis #004 and #005, built by Porsche’s factory team, are both immediately distinguished by the redesigned bodywork, complete with the ‘teardrop’ headlamps of the production 996, a new front suspension and a wider track. Having contended in both Le Mans and the FIA GT Championship, where it was the overall World Champion, GT1-004 played a significant role in the 1997 season.
Following its retirement from racing, GT1-004 has not only served as a centrepiece in the famed Drendel Collection but it has also been used in several significant Porsche-sanctioned displays, including on the company’s display stand at the New York Auto Show in 2009 and featured in the famed “family tree” commercial filmed for the introduction of the Panamera saloon. This year it will join Heveningham Concours where it will be on public display for the duration of the event.
Meanwhile, another late-Nineties Le Mans legend has also been previewed. Visitors to this year’s Heveningham Concours will be able to see the imposing Mercedes-Benz CLK LM #35, which, at the end of the 1997 season, allowed Mercedes-Benz to take home both the driver’s and constructor’s titles for the FIA GT Championship. With the designation of ‘LM’ in its name, the CLK LM was built as the successor to the CLK GTR, of infamous ‘flying’ fame, and was a Group GT1 sports car specifically built for ‘La Sarthe’, where weight reduction and aerodynamics were key components to suit the long, fast straights.
Lois Hunt, Organiser of Heveningham Concours, said: “Of course, Le Mans needs very little introduction and on its 100th anniversary, we see this year’s theme as a great way to tribute one of the most iconic races on the planet. As part of our early previews, we’re delighted to get ahead and reveal the Porsche 911 GT1 Evo and Mercedes-Benz CLK LM will be joining us on the famous Heveningham Hall lawns. Of course, these are just two cars, both from the same decade, and we’ll be displaying a range of cars with Le Mans heritage in the coming months. Indeed, some we’ll even wait to surprise you with at the event itself, and we can’t wait to open the gates once more to the grounds of Heveningham Hall, especially since we’ll be ‘cutting the ribbon’, so to speak, to the UK’s first-ever, unofficial ‘Car Week’.”
While Heveningham Concours celebrates all things collector cars, it also pays tribute to aviation legends. The event organisers have confirmed the event will host the iconic surviving British Spitfire IX MH434 and reunite it with its sister Spitfire IX MH415 as they both celebrate 80 years in the sky. The two iconic planes flew and fought together in the same wartime RAF squadron and went on to have remarkably interconnected lives in peacetime, too. Rolling off the production line together in 1943, just 20 airframes apart, MH434 and MH415 both have aerial victories to their credit, large elements of shared operational history, and in more recent times, have both been connected to some of the outstanding names in the world of historic aircraft preservation.
Lois Hunt, Organiser of Heveningham Concours concluded and said: “Not only are we celebrating Le Mans, and incredibly proud and pleased to do so, but two of the world’s most famous Spitfires are also celebrating their 80th birthdays this year. Both will be seen in the skies throughout the weekend’s festivities as well as on display in the aeroplane concours alongside many other historic planes. It’s great to secure MH434 for display, which many may recognise as an on-screen icon and as the flagship of the Old Flying Machine Company (OFMC), famously piloted by the late OFMC founders Ray and Mark Hanna, and it will be even better to see it and its squadron mate fly together once more.”
Alongside the cars and aeroplanes on display, Heveningham Concours also hosts the thrilling Horsepower Hill, a timed 1/8 ‘drag race’ for owners and guests along the estate’s main driveway, attracting a wide variety of classic and contemporary supercars. In company with the motoring events of the weekend is the estate’s long-standing charity annual Country Fair, with all profits and proceeds donated to a charitable Trust that supports and funds many cases of need locally and beyond.
Inaugurated in 2016, Heveningham Concours has become one of the UK’s finest annual motor car and aeroplane shows, with Grade I-listed Heveningham Hall providing its grounds for the event throughout the weekend. Tickets for the event, scheduled for 8th & 9th July 2023, will be released on sale in April 2023.
About Heveningham Concours
Inaugurated in 2016, the Heveningham Concours has become one of the UK’s finest annual motor car and aeroplane shows. Held at Heveningham Hall in Suffolk, the Grade I listed estate hosts around 50 remarkable, hand-picked motor cars, each a spectacular example of historic and modern motoring. Displayed on the famed grass garden terraces, which were curated by renowned landscape architect Kim Wilkie, the Concours cars sit alongside historic aeroplanes, which are also on show throughout the event.
Showcasing a dynamic element, together with the static displays, Heveningham Concours also presents Horsepower Hill, a ‘drag race’ along a parkland road for owners and guests, as well as the Heveningham Tour, a 50-mile drive for owners through the beautiful and idyllic Suffolk countryside.
Alongside the automotive and aviation activities, Heveningham Concours takes place at the same time as the estate’s long-standing charity annual Country Fair, which attracts over 20,000 visitors annually to the Capability Brown-designed parkland.
Dates secured for 2023: 8th & 9th July.