Self-professed petrol head Giles Brown feels the need for speed at the Gentlemen Driving Club!
Images courtesy of Gentlemen Driving Club
Marbella is a town that has a huge love affair with its cars. Take a sunlit stroll along the front line of Puerto Banus and you will spot a collection of supercars that would put a luxury dealership to shame. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, Jaguar and Rolls Royce are all a frequent sight, while the roads heading into the hills around Marbella are perfect for a high octane road trip.
An added bonus is the fact that the circuits of Jerez and Guadix are a two hour drive away while the superb Race Resort Ascari is located an hour up the Ronda road. Marbella has also proved a popular stop off for motorsports personalities; Formula 1 World Champions James Hunt and Damon Hill, driver now F1 pundit Martin Brundle, team owner Eddie Jordan and racing car designer Adrian Reynard have all had homes in Marbella.
If you have a love of all things fast, frenetic and four wheeled then the Gentlemen Driving Club is for you. Originally started six years ago in Mallorca when a group of like-minded petrol heads got together, this year has seen the club move up a gear and expand internationally. “Gentleman Driving Club is a car club for those for whom speed is a need” explains club president Peter Redrin from his home in Mallorca. “There are other car clubs where you can enjoy a leisurely drive through the countryside, admiring the flowers and nature”, he says “But we are about excitement and fun. We are petrol heads that love nothing more than our action packed track days, when we can drive much faster than the speed limit, have a few beers after the event and talk cars with other petrol heads!”
The club was originally formed as Club Driving Mallorca by car enthusiast Russell Stevens. Tragically, however, Russel was killed driving to a charity club event in 2015. The club continued in its original form until 2020, when Peter became president. “I had sold my businesses and needed something to do. So I brought a couple of sports Porsche and decided that I wanted to go racing. I had already joined the club and really liked the guys. Soon afterwards they asked if I could help them out in growing the club.”
At the beginning of 2020 the decision was made to expand the club internationally and become more professionally structured. The name was changed to Gentlemen Driving Club, inspired by the Le Mans racing term “The Gentleman Driver”, which refers to the non-professional (male or female) driver that each team needs to incorporate in order to participate. In addition to putting together a headquarters team, based in Mallorca, they created a homepage with a sophisticated club platform for members. The expansion has worked – from 40 members in 2016 there are now 300 members in 24 countries.
In October Gentlemen Driving Club unveiled its latest concept at a reception at Marbella’s Boho Club. Two racing specification Porsche and a dedicated support team are now available that allow members to arrive and drive at track days, which has proved extremely popular.
Local “Club Ambassadors”, have ensured a rapidly growing membership throughout Spain, the south of France and Italy, as well as Sweden and most recently Gentlemen Driving Club has expanded into Florida, offering club members the mouth-watering prospect of track days at the legendary Daytona and Sebring circuits.
Gentlemen Driving Club, although international, stresses the importance of its local members and the social aspect. “In the Marbella/Málaga area, where we have a lot of members” says Peter “we have several social events, such as after work meet ups where members can get together, have a couple of drinks and talk all things motoring.
“We also organise road trips, normally once a month on a Saturday, where we head out and enjoy some of the fantastic roads in the region. Plus we always make sure that we include lunch at a great restaurant. And then there are the track days, which we try and do on a monthly basis as well.”
Another benefit of being a member is that it opens up a network of enthusiasts that share your passion as well as potentially offering advice. “If, for example, you were looking to buy a new Porsche,” explains Peter “you will probably find someone in our network that is a Porsche specialist and could help you out.” The team is also currently working on a mobile app for the club.
Motor racing is an expensive sport, but being a member of Gentleman Racing Club is not. The basic annual membership is under €250 a year, which gives you access to the membership areas of the website, as well as invitations to the social events and track days.
“People are vitally important to us”, explains Peter. “The club is very social and we love to have the right type of people, who are normally over 40, car enthusiasts that love track racing. We are extremely low key and informal and the friendship between other members is a very important aspect.
Owning a high performance or classic car, however, is not a prerequisite for joining the club. “We do have some members that have big car collections” says Peter “but the one thing that makes the Gentlemen Driving Club different is that the people are more important. You can even join if you have a Fiat Panda!” he laughs.
For more information visit www.gentlemendriving.com