For many racecar fans, England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival have become the world’s premier historic racing events, attracting throngs of car enthusiasts from around the world. Could such events be replicated in America?
The organizers of the annual Art in Motion event are trying, at least on some level. Held for the second time this past October at the Monticello Motor Club, in Monticello, N.Y., the event is referred to it as “an American Goodwood.” But unlike the Goodwood events, Art in Motion is not intended to—nor able to—accommodate the tens of thousands of attendees that give Goodwood its festival atmosphere.
The lush topography around Monticello, a bucolic village about 90 minutes from Manhattan, is not unlike that near Goodwood. The private club is host to a 4.1-mile circuit that was originally conceived to host a Formula One race. It instead opened as a private track club in 2008.
Also, the Art in Motion event is essentially a private affair, open to Monticello Motor Club members and members of invited car clubs. Racecar and sports car fans who can attend Art in Motion find automobiles representing the elite of their kind.
Held over several days, Art in Motion combines separate racecar and sports car concours events, along with track driving—but not racing. For the road cars, there’s also a “spirited drive” through the nearby Catskill Mountain region. The tour culminates with a dinner at the nearby Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a performing arts center built on the farm that was home to the original Woodstock Music & Art Festival in 1969. The center also hosts a museum that includes a main exhibit, “Woodstock and the Sixties,” which features a growing collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits.
“Many of the owners are from that demographic and so they really enjoyed it,” says Kim Barnes, event director. A sports car collector, Barnes emphasizes that Art in Motion will keep its focus on racecars and pure sports cars, and that driving on the private club’s 4.1-mile track will remain integral to the activities.
“We wanted to create an experience, not just a car show,” she says.
Art in Motion 2017 did feature racing royalty, including Indy 500 winner and CART champion Danny Sullivan, four-time Trans-Am champion Tommy Kendall, and World Sportscar Champion Brian Redman, who helped design the Monticello course.
“The people here at Monticello really have something to be very proud of. This is a very special place,” Kendall says. At the event, Kendall drove his Trans-Am winning 1990 Chevy Beretta for the first time in 25 years. The car was restored and is owned by noted racer and collector, Bruce Canepa.
Wayne Carini, host of the Velocity Channel’s Chasing Classic Cars, was also a special guest. The real stars were the cars, however, with a stellar guest list including the 1973 Sunoco-sponsored Porsche 917/30 that helped Mark Donohue capture his 1973 Can-Am championship, a 1968 NART L-88 Corvette, 1964 Cheetah, Porsche 962, March Can-Am, 1948 Talbot, Dan Gurney’s 1967 Eagle Indy racer, and many others.
Before the concours events, many of the participating cars first showed their mettle on the track. The Best in Show award went to the 1973 Porsche 917/30 owned by Robert Kauffman.
Sunday’s sports car concours featured multiple country classes, as well as individual marque classes, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ferrari, and Supercars. BMW was this year’s featured marque. Best in Show went to a 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Cabriolet by Pininfarina, owned by collector Leo Schigiel.
Rarities in the sports car concours also included a 1956 Ferrari Europa GT, 1958 BMW 507, 1959 Scaglietti Corvette (one of three made), 1960 Mercedes 300 SL, 1987 Porsche 959, and 2016 McLaren P1 GTR, among others.
The weekend also offered numerous activities, including the CXC Racing Simulator Experience, Polaris RZR Off-Road Experience, karting, and hot laps in BMW M cars with pro drivers. Gooding & Company conducted a private auction of memorabilia. Funds raised from the auction and hot laps benefitted Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, and Sullivan County SPCA
The combination of autumn beauty in the Catskills, a weekend of historic racing and sports cars, and the spirit of Woodstock is enticing for those who can attend. Tickets to Art in Motion range from $125–$500 per day and include all meals and activity access. For more information, visit artinmotionmmc.com.