Glamour, Fast Cars, Monaco Grand Prix, Celebrity Parties
Five Days In Paradise For Lovers Of The Highlife
Behind the title of ‘The Run to Monaco’ is a team that has developed and carried out a series of ‘The Run To ….’ rally/tours; it started with a group of friends who shared a big interest in exotic cars including F1. There are too few opportunities to exploit the potential of these cars so the idea of a rally/tour from the UK to the most prestigious event on the F1 calendar; the Monaco Grand Prix. The team members were working in and around F1 so they had all the right contacts to introduce their rally/tour guests to both opportunities to visit ‘private’ areas within the race teams pits and to meet the personalities, including the racing drivers. Now the third ‘Run To Monaco’ is to take place this May (20th to 25th) with even more interesting itineraries and events all along the way.
This is the journey through life’s high points, if there was a way of producing anything better, they would have already added it to the event; it lacks nothing apart from not competing in the Grand Prix. There is excitement combined with great comfort; adrenaline runs along the way complementing the best food and wines to be enjoyed throughout. After a spectacular arrival in Monaco, special events and rubbing shoulders with so many of the famous F1 people add further dimensions to this genuinely unique event. It has proved to be a seamless series extraordinary experiences all packed into five days of exhilaration. In other circumstances, it would have the cache of ‘something that money cannot buy’; the one element that the world’s wealthy seek but rarely find.
To whet the appetite; the guests provide their own cars or if requested, the team will source the car of the guests’ choice. The fleet is restricted to thirty guests’ supercars in this rally/tour; the basis of the booking is inclusive throughout except petrol and is for two people per car. They guests will be given a fully loaded programme that covers satellite navigation through full details of every ‘pit stop’ en route so nothing is left to chance. The pace set by individual drivers differs so extra stops and diversions can make it a very individual experience. However, the restaurants, hotels and event venues are obviously key meeting points on the schedule.
For a start, the journey gets underway from Leeds Castle, located in the ‘Garden of England’ south of London, the castle has been acclaimed as ‘the most beautiful in the world’, few would argue the contention. The evening before departure, there is a private dinner with appropriately medieval (an historic era some 600 years ago) touches. Numerous world statesmen and royalty have also dined there over the centuries. The programme is now well established but further research each year nevertheless hones an already superb itinerary. Along the 1,500+ kms route the most interesting, and sometimes challenging roads are a valuable part of the event.
Next morning the journey gets underway and the cars cross under the channel to France in a private train, but the excitement really starts with a ‘SpeedGun Run’ at Rouen Airport. Speed limits can be forgotten here for high speed runs; more than half the cars achieved the magic 200 MPH (325 KPH) last year. Surprisingly, few motoring journalists have achieved that target. The opportunity to have a Michelin starred ‘Airline Lunch’ is not missed. There is a dramatic change of pace as the historic Chateau now a very individual hotel is magnificent and set off by extensive formal gardens in its own park. Just the right venue for the evening’s masked ball.
The journey continues south in the same highlife vein, but the next hotel; Chateau de Bagnols has to be mentioned as it has received every accolade imaginable. The roads which include those ridden over in the Tour de France and the Monte Carlo Rally are followed as they weave their way up the alps and over a pass above the Cote d’Azure. This route is loved by everyone as it combines both stunning views and there are great driving experiences to be enjoyed. Later in the day when the driving part of the event is over, there is a different form of climbing: in a helicopter to Cap Ferrat where the guests will stay in the Royal Riviera Hotel.
Monaco really comes to life for the event of the year over the Grand prix weekend. For the guests, they may have front row seats at the F1 Fashion Show but some might be more taken by the dinner which is attended by the racing drivers from the past and current Grand Prix drivers.
After breakfast, yacht tenders will take the guests on the short trip into the very heart of the harbour in Monaco. There are six prime berths; one is reserved for the superyacht chartered for the guests. Needless to say, the neighbours will be familiar figures to most of us (last year, Prince Albert was a neighbour). Lunch will be on board; with a grandstand view of the track in full view of the qualifying session for the Grand Prix.
The will be glamorous parties on all the superyachts and ‘The Run To’ party will definitely be one to remember. Chauffeured cars will be freely available for returning guests to the hotel.
The general public flock to this the most prestigious Grand Prix every year and fill all the public spaces to the brim. However, guests have access to the pits and the celebrities including World Champion Damon Hill and former team owner; Eddie Jordan. Guests will be given a tour of the behind the scenes activities of the Grands Prix teams. That privilege is something that gives guests the ultimate VIP treatment which usually reserved for dignitaries and sponsors who contribute fortunes to the teams.
After all the celebrations are over, the guests are flown by private jet back to London. The cars follow separately.