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    Event review: CarFest North 2013

    CarFest, the idea of Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, and now one of the North West’s largest automotive-related events, took place from 2-4 August at Oulton Park, here’s what happened.

    Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans’ CarFest 2013 kicked off in style as Oulton Park resounded to the sound of rubber on tarmac and the laughter of happy families. Added to that the fantastic array of cars, a diverse selection of food stalls, numerous family shows, displays and the fun of a fair all topped off with an eclectic mix of top bands entertaining the visitors well into the night. It’s no wonder that Carfest has gone from strength to strength.

    The first of this summer’s two events, originally conceived back in Spring 2011 to raise money for BBC Children in Need, took place in front of large crowds at this historic race track.

    This year, even more than last, the festival kept to its word and provided a fun day out for all the family, with the petrol heads amongst them also being well catered for.

    Highlights included Chris Evans’ own “Magnificent Seven” collection of Ferraris ably supported by his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a stunning Ferrari 250 GTO owned by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, one of only 39 built and allegedly worth around £20m. As well as this the £35 million collection of rarely seen racing and rallying Matras, including both Le Mans and Grand Prix winners, made a rare appearance at the Oulton Park track. There was a further treat for F1 fans with James Hunt’s red and white McLaren M23 and Mario Andretti’s black and gold Lotus 77 in the sprint. Both cars date back to the dramatic and controversial 1976 season which features in Ron Howard’s Rush movie.

    Other notable highlights included exceptional collections of both Aston Martins and Lamborghinis to mark important milestones in their respective automotive histories as well as historic Jaguar racing cars including the unique XJ13 built in 1966 as a potential Le Mans contender.

    Last year Silverstone Auctions raised more than £90,000 via special charity sales staged at both CarFests. This year that figure was topped with £115,651 being raised at CarFest North mainly due to one generous vendor donating a very special Jaguar E-type V12 Roadster which fetched £73,025 for the Pride & Joy auction at Oulton Park with all proceeds going to BBC Children in Need.

    Chris Evans, the man behind CarFest, estimates that the two events will raise around £1,000,000 for Children in Need this year. As ever the broadcaster was eager to do his bit, meeting and greeting the festival-goers from the early hours of the morning until the close of the event each night.

    Evans even presented a three-hour Saturday morning breakfast show live from the event. He told journalists: “It has been a stunning success again. Last year was something of an experiment but the plan to bring together great cars, great food and great music was a huge success as an event and a money raising opportunity for BBC Children in Need.

    “This first CarFest of 2013 has once again surpassed my expectations and we are bigger and better in every way, and to make it just about perfect I was able to broadcast from the event. It was such a great opportunity to bring CarFest to life for all the loyal Radio 2 listeners who have followed us along the way.”

    He also commented: “Oulton Park has been a fantastic venue. It is a stunning location, a great track and as far as music is concerned it has a natural amphitheatre, which lends itself perfectly to our live performances. It has been a fabulous backdrop for CarFest and I am sure we will be back for many years to come.”

    Let’s hope so…

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham