A new venue, new faces and new cars signalled the return of the Western Group of Motoring Writers annual driving day, three years after the pandemic brought it to a temporary halt. The event is the only time in the automotive calendar when PR teams have the opportunity to drive each others’ cars back-to-back and find out what the competition is really like. Western Group members also get the chance to catch up with models that they might have missed, or not yet had the opportunity to drive.
The event, first held in the 1980s has always been staged at Castle Combe Circuit in the heart of Western Group territory, but a full calendar at the circuit this year meant that for the first time, the Western Group had to find an alternative venue.
A visit to the Haynes Motor Museum showed the potential of the museum site, which was comprehensively re-built and extended a few years ago. With facilities purpose built for motoring events, it offered the flexibility needed to stage the event. The events car park, which includes charging points, gave the Group the opportunity to introduce an EV theme for the event this year.
The industry was well represented with cars from BMW, Genesis, Honda, Isuzu, Kia, Lexus, Maserati, Porsche, Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen. Illness and staff shortages grounded Ford’s participation at the last minute. The new location was enthusiastically received by the participants, who praised the local roads, museum facilities and the high standard of the catering.
Bristol Blue Glass trophies are traditionally awarded to the most-driven car and the driver who gets behind the wheel of the most cars during the day. This year the trophy for the Driver of the Day was won by Max Brown of Kia. Mike Gale marked his first Western Group Driving Day as Head of PR at Maserati by collecting the Car of the Day trophy for the most driven car, won by the Maserati Levante Trofeo.
“The sun shone, our guests relaxed and drove cars, just like its meant to be at the Western Group Driving Day”, commented Western Group Chair John Kendall, “The Group was determined to go ahead this year after lockdown closed the 2020 and 2021 events. It was a real pleasure to stage this unique event again and show our appreciation to the industry for the help it gives us throughout the year.”
Besides the driving, the Group raised £250 for charity, through its traditional raffle and auction on the day, thanks to the hard work of WGMW member Maxine Ashford.
Special thanks go to Alun Parry and Suzuki for their sponsorship of the 2022 Driving Day, which helped to ensure that it could proceed. We would also like to thank Simon Perry and Silverstone-based IDPR, who once again took on the management of the event and ensured that the wheels turned smoothly on the day.
And for 2023? We’ll be back…