DOTW News spent the weekend surrounded by classic cars and centuries-old history in Malta for the 2015 Mdina Classic Car Grand Prix. Hosted in Mdina, the island-nation’s picturesque former capital, the October 8-11 event culminated with a day of thrilling racing set against the historic city’s medieval walls and baroque cathedral.
The close of the races on October 11 saw Italian sports-car driver Roberto Farneti taking first place in a Lotus 23B 1963 against a spectrum of automobiles from 1920s Bugattis to ‘50s Aston Martins on the 2.3-km Mdina Circuit. Sponsored by Chopard and Edwards Lowell, Malta’s luxury timepiece and jewelry specialist, the race winner was awarded a Chopard Mille Miglia GTS 2015 watch during a ceremony held later that evening at the elegant Villa Corinthia, part of Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa.
Prior to the weekend of racing, Mdina’s cathedral square set the scene for the Mdina Glass Concours d’Elegance. Here, pristine vintage cars and their stylishly period-dressed owners mingled with enthusiasts in the shadows of the city’s ornate baroque structures. A number of trophies – handcrafted by the island’s Mdina Glass workshop – were awarded in categories that included “Best Pre-War” (a Morris Cowley 1926), “Best Restoration” (a Swallow Doretti), “Best Original Unrestored” (a Rover 2200 TTC 1974) and “Most Elegant” (a Porsche 365).
“I am pure Maltese and I have only shown my cars at this Concours, which is very special for Malta,” says Joe Said, vice-chairman of the Valletta Grand Prix Foundation who participated with his impeccable 1948 Jaguar Mark IV. “This is the fourth edition so we haven’t been doing this for very long – but every year the response and people showing their cars is remarkable, and as a result, we watch it grow every year.”
The Thomas Smith Mellieha Hillclimb also preceded the Grand Prix, with an intimidating race outside of the seaside village of Mellieha that features 2.5 km of tight bends and hair-raising corners.
This year, the Grand Prix featured more than 60 pre-1976 cars, with a number of participants arriving from international locales such as Italy and the UK, and even as far away as Australia. Malta’s next Concours d’Elegance and Mdina Grand Prix are scheduled to take place on October 7-9, 2016.