As the sun rose over Thruxton Race Circuit on the 20th June, transporters began to arrive with some rather special guests. A unique event orchestrated by the Vanity Fair publication. Six special vehicles along with their associated time piece showcased for the 'On Time' segment of the Autumn 2017 edition. The Stratstone Lightweight E-type being one of the six. With the cars and watches in place at the Hampshire location, six drivers were now required and who better than the bosses from each watch establishment.
It was one of the hottest days on record since 1976 and the tarmac was already baking by the early hours of the day. For the next few hours Thruxton circuit became a unique set up as horological and automotive worlds collided. A varied line up of high performance modern sports cars and rare classic models glistened in the sunshine as drivers listened to a safety briefing. On the grid were Jean-Claude Biver (Zenith) in a Range Rover, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (Chopard) in a Porsche 911 RS, Alan Zimmermann (Baume & Mercier) behind the wheel of a Cobra, David Cerrato (Montblanc) in a BMW M1 from 1978, Chris Grainger-Herr (IWC) in a Mercedes-AMG GTS and finally Giles English (Bremont) in our Jaguar Lightweight E-type.
The cars were positioned on the grid and one by one, car, driver and time piece were photographed and interviewed before going for two laps around the track. With the E-type sitting 3rd on the grid, some time passed before it was time to see it in action. With the sun now at its hottest, the metallic surfaces of the car were at soaring temperatures. Holding a partnership with Jaguar since 2010, it was understandable that when the Lightweight E-type was launched, an accompanying limited edition Bremont watch was supplied with each of the 'missing six'.
Giles English, CEO of Bremont Watches, accompanied the E-type and caught up with the Vanity Fair team ahead of his two laps. The fact that the E-type had been sat in the sun for an entire morning and the lack of air conditioning, set Giles up for a sweltering experience. Not only was Giles about to experience one of the rarest cars in the world, for him it was even more exciting as the E-type has always been a favourite in the English family. Earlier that day Giles had arrived in his own E-type, one which he had restored with his brother and late father. Talking in detail to Vanity Fair on the partnership between the two brands, it was incredible to hear the history of how Jaguar commissioned clocks for the Queen's Jaguar and how this has now led to the range of time pieces available today.
The E-type made its way to position one on the grid and Giles prepared himself to put the neo-vintage E-type through its paces around Thruxton. The roar of the 3.8 litre engine filled echoed off the track walls as Giles set off around the circuit. It was evident the passion for both the brand and car as spectators watched the Stratstone E-type sprint around the track.
As the day progressed and all cars completed their laps, the passion involved between brand partnerships. With drivers departing the track and cars loaded back onto their trailers, it was marked without doubt, the automotive event of summer 2017.
You can find the full article from the track day in the Autumn edition of Vanity Fair 'On Time' or click here to read online.