No-one has travelled farther or more often to drive in South Australia’s renowned Classic Adelaide tarmac rally than British Ferrari crew Sir Paul Vestey and Doug Nye.

The pair has entered what they call “the finest event of its type anywhere in the world” every year since it started in 1997, all but one in a selection from Sir Paul’s stable of historic racing Ferrari sports cars, and they will be back for this year’s event on 19-23 November.

Their mount will be a Ferrari 275GTB/C, which is sure to delight spectators as it races through the scenic Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Southern Vales, Fleurieu Peninsula, Victor Harbor and McLaren Vale regions with the same 12-cylinder roar that accompanied it to a GT Category win at the 1966 Le Mans 24-Hours.

The car will be in the company of many other delectable examples from the Ferrari stable in Maranello, Italy, as the 2008 Classic Adelaide joins worldwide celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the 275GTB model’s successor, the 365 GTB4 Daytona.

The event is expected to attract up to 300 vehicles representing many of the motoring world’s most desirable makes, participating either in timed Competition or un-timed Touring sections on daily loops out of Adelaide.

The Vestey Ferrari’s competition days are over and it will run in the Thoroughbred Touring category, but Nye, a motoring author and historian, says it has an illustrious background.

“This year's GTB/C is a car we have brought to Adelaide before (in 1997 and 2001).  It is the very special lightweight competition GTB/C which was entered by the British Maranello Concessionaires racing team at the Le Mans 24-Hours in 1966,” he explains.

“Driven there by Piers Courage and Roy Pike, it won the all-important GT Category - the prize Mr Ferrari most valued, since it sold his GT cars for him, which sustained his Formula 1 racing.

“Paul actually bought this car from Maranello Concessionaires soon after the Le Mans 24-Hour success. In his first outing in the car at the Paris 1000 kms that year, he promptly won the GT Category again. Next time out, in the 1967 Monza 1000 kms race, he drove the car to win the GT Category for a third time!

“He sold the GTB/C and bought it back, then sold it again, but again bought it back. It is, he says, ‘like family’. It's a bit long and hefty for the tighter stages but on the more open runs it's a race horse on a race track.”

Over the years, Vestey and Nye also have brought to Classic Adelaide three other Ferraris, a 250GT Short-Wheelbase Berlinetta (SWB), 250GTO and a 250GT California Spider. They also ended up in a Ford Lotus Cortina one year when the SWB encountered valve trouble.

They keep coming back to enjoy driving fast on specially-closed public roads that are among the world’s best for motoring enthusiasts.

“The great attraction of Classic Adelaide to us is the gorgeous road surface and scenery.  Most European and US events are run on remote roads which see little use, which normally means they are poorly surfaced, badly marked and very bumpy - so not much fun,” Nye says.

“Classic Adelaide is like being let loose in a motoring playroom. The closed special stages are a joy, with the magnificently flowing Paris Creek Road as the absolute cherry on the cake.  If we could, we'd roll it up and take it home with us!

“To us it is the finest event of its type anywhere in the world - the roads and countryside are the best - and although we'll never admit to it publicly, we like no-nonsense Orstrylia, even though we were thrilled to trounce you in the Rugby World Cup (twice) and in the Olympics medal table.”

Classic Adelaide is one of South Australia’s most valuable major events and is supported by the South Australia Government, SA Tourism Commission and Events SA.

David Edwards, Director of organiser Silverstone Events, said Classic Adelaide delivered significant direct economic benefits to the local economy plus wide overseas promotion of the State’s scenic, wine, food and other tourism attractions.

Its format offered many spectating opportunities throughout the 1000 km course, including the Hilton Adelaide daily start, Peter Lehmann’s Winery, Victor Harbor, Birdwood National Motor Museum, McLaren’s on the Lake, Maccesfield township, the Gouger Street Party on Friday night and the East Terrace Party at the official finish on Sunday.

Rally entrants also enjoy a number of special social events.
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