International St Moritz Automobile Week

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The Bernina Gran Turismo Hillclimb has been running now since 2015 and is increasingly attracting Swiss and foreign competitors, who come to enjoy their cars in the crisp mountain air.   New this year, organisers decided to relaunch the Internationalen St. Moritzer Automobilwoche, which first took place in 1929.  

The week opened on 10 September with the Kilomètre Lancé at Engadin Airport in which vehicles such as the 1909 Blitzen Benz and the 1922 Wisconsin Special took part, as did three other record-breaking cars including two Abarth Pininfarinas and the Jabbeke Jaguar XK120.  Fastest car was an almost brand-new Bugatti Divo, which reached the highest speed and could hardly be heard doing so.  Motorbikes were also invited to test their 1/8 mile acceleration speed.

The Kilomètre Lancé at Engadin Airport.  Photos Peter Singhof Courtesy Bernina Grand Turismo

The Motorsport Rendezvous, a Concours d’Élégance that organisers say is not really a Concours d’Élégance at all because of its informal atmosphere, took place in the gardens of the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains.  A highlight was the presentation of the winning vehicles at the famous El Paradiso restaurant owned by event supporter Kurt Engelhorn, situated on the St Moritz piste at over 2,100m in altitude.

The Motorsport Rendezvous, a Concours d’Élégance was a relaxed affair featuring mostly competition machinery

The week culminated on the following weekend of 18-19 September with the Bernina Hillclimb itself, but before that, on Friday Sotheby’s held a motor car auction at the Kempinski, its first ever in Switzerland, that netted in excess of CHF16.5 million.

The 5.7km hillclimb, which climbs some 450 metres from La Rösa to the top of the Bernina pass, over more than 50 curves, was great fun for all involved.  For the record, Daniele Perfetti was fastest overall in the speed category in his Porsche RSR, but in this event no one really cares.  In fact, many competitors run their racing cars in the regularity classes, just for the fun, and take big penalties for arriving too early!  As always in the mountains, the weather veered from warm sunshine to thick fog and rain, but again, no one cared.

Daniele Perfetti made the fastest time on the hillclimb in his RSR Porsche

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