The UK will stage its first-ever BMW ‘Z-Fest’ at this summer’s Silverstone Classic powered by the AA (20-22 July).
Organised by the official BMW Car Club GB as one of the highlights of its 60th birthday celebrations in 2012, the UK’s inaugural Z-Fest will see hundreds and hundreds of BMW’s popular Z1, Z3, Z4 and Z8 sportscars on display as well as participating in a special parade lap on the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in front of tens of thousands of spectators.
“We wanted to do something spectacular to mark our anniversary and staging the UK’s first Z-Fest at the world’s biggest classic racing festival certainly fits that bill,” said Steve Miller, general manager of the BMW Car Club (GB). “A number of hugely successful Z-Fests have been held on the continent and in The States – now it’s our turn. There are close to 50,000 ‘Zeds’ registered in this country and we are aiming to get at least 500 cars to join in our special landmark celebrations at the Silverstone Classic. The main gathering will be on the Saturday (21 July) and the cavalcade on the circuit, of course, will be a major highlight for all those attending on that day. This really is going to be something special and undoubtedly is this summer’s big event for Zed enthusiasts both in the UK and on the continent. I know club members and specialist forums are already planning a number of cruises and convoys to Silverstone.”
BMW introduced its first two-seater Z1 roadster to the media in 1986 with the new Z badge standing for Zukunft – the German word for ‘future’. Just 8000 were produced and the Z1 – which notably featured novel doors that dropped down into its doorsills – has become one of the rarest and most collectable of all BMWs.
The innovative and distinctive Z1 was superseded in turn by the more-mainstream Z3 and Z4 models – both produced in far greater numbers and with the added bonus of right-hand drive. The Z3 gained notoriety for its on-screen role in the James Bond film GoldenEye while the Z4 remains on sale in BMW showrooms today.
BMW also applied its sporty Z moniker to its range-topping Z8 roadster – a V8 engined aluminium chassis supercar capable of topping 180mph. Just 5,702 of these hand-built models were built between 1999-2003 and it, too, headlined in a James Bond movie when driven by Pierce Brosnan in The World Is Not Enough.
“The term ‘Zed Car’ has become synonymous with some of BMW’s most desirable sportscars and that’s why we are so proud to be staging the UK’s first Z-Fest as one of the major attractions at this summer’s Silverstone Classic,” states Nick Wigley, Silverstone Classic Event Director. “Every year more and more car clubs choose the Silverstone Classic to celebrate major milestones in their history and the promise of more than 500 BMW Zed cars parading around the circuit in July is sure to be a major highlight both for the fans and those lucky enough to be participating.”
The UK’s unique Z-Fest will be a major component of a massive collection of classic cars staged annually as an integral part of the world’s biggest classic racing festival. While the on-track action features record grids of prized competition cars illustrating the full spectrum of motor sport history, every year more than 120 car clubs display in excess of 7000 classic cars. As well as marking 60 years of the BMW Car Club (GB), this summer’s special celebrations include 50th birthday parties for some of the UK’s most notable sportscars spawned back in the Swinging Sixties including AC Cobra and Lotus Elan and MGB.
Adding to the non-stop three-day festival atmosphere is live music from Mike & The Mechanics and Adam Ant in the evenings plus a free fun fair, retail village, air displays, a wide range of demos plus the exciting new AA World feature with its own wealth of driving attractions for all age groups.