The 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival one-upped its promising 2019 inaugural in almost every way, with wheel-to-wheel racing on the all-new Pace Grand Prix at the Bend race track; expansive displays of automotive exotica in addition to those featured in the Concours d’Elegance; a challenging West Village Road Rallye through the Tennessee countryside; and dozens of family-friendly activities and street festivals.
The event’s full title told the story of the community and charity involvement: It was “The 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival – hosted by Fifty Plus Foundation – presented by DeFoor Brothers – sponsored by Volkswagen and Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Company – powered by EPB raised funds supporting both CHI Memorial the NeuroScience Innovation Foundation in Chattanooga.”
A tribute to the late Jim Pace, event chair and chief operating officer of the inaugural 2019 Festival who died of COVID-19 in 2020, was held at the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend, the track named in his honor, where a fleet of Lola race cars paraded in front of the podium while friends, family and racing dignitaries remembered the popular race-car driver from Mississippi.
“Chattanooga is not the biggest city in the country, and it is certainly not the richest, but it’s got a big heart, just like Jim Pace,” said Byron DeFoor, founder of the Festival. “For all of the family that came, we have these flags for you. Thank you so much for coming. We want this race track to live forever. Let’s hope it does.”
The new race track in the heart of Chattanooga hosted seven classes of vintage, historic and contemporary race cars competing for 20 minutes in three races over two days.
A highlight of the weekend was the Gathering of the Greats – Ferrari Edition, showcasing the world’s most significant Ferraris, many of which have not been seen anywhere else, such as the 1948 Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa, a 1954 Ferrari 250 Monza, a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider, and a 1985 288 GTO.
The West Village Road Rallye, run on Friday and Saturday, produced winners Robert and Casey Albertson in their 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo and Ashley and Riley O’Donald in a 2020 Mazda MX5 RF.
Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance was held under sunny skies and warm temperatures, creating a buzz through West Village as the class-winning cars drove up the ramp in front of the stage to receive their awards. The sculpted trophies were designed by local artist Cessna Decosimo.
The list of the top Concours d’Elegance Award winners may be found HERE.
The Timeless Elegance Award went to Jack Boyd Smith’s 1936 Packard 12, and the People’s Choice was a 1950 Buick Special owned by Jeff Hardin.
The Best of Show was earned by a 1967 Ferrari NART Spyder owned by Rare Wheels Collection. “We’re topping off this year’s Festival with one of the best cars in the world,” said presenter Wayne Carini. “Luigi Chinetti’s vision was to have the top go down on a 275. They made 10 of these cars. It is probably the only silver one that was built. This deserves best in show.”
“We did it!” exclaimed DeFoor. “The city has been very good to us. Thank you all for coming to Chattanooga and supporting the event as well as neuroscience and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and strokes.
“It’s also about the cars and everyone coming to Chattanooga. Thank you all for believing in our event, in our cause, and for taking part in all the activities.”
DeFoor then presented the Chairman’s Award to Concours Director Ken Gross, an award-winning automotive journalist.
Several racing and automotive celebrities were on hand to support the event by interacting with the fans, signing autographs and participating in panel discussions. Corky Coker was the Grand Marshal and Brian Redman the Grand Ambassador. The list of racers and racing personalities included Justin Bell, Alain de Cadenet, Ray Evernham, Tanner Foust, Derek Hill, David Hobbs, Scott Speed, Lyn St. James and Linda Vaughn, all joined by joined car experts Wayne Carini, Tom Cotter, Ken Gross, Bill Rothermel, Keith Martin and Mike Tillson.