Prodrive's factory in Banbury for a sneak peek at the genius witchcraft taking place, and although there were no bubbling cauldrons, the cars and tech on show were fairly mind blowing. The factory tours showed us everything from the McLaren P1 spoiler mechanism to shells of Aston Martin racers; they really did give us an exclusive view and a day to remember.
The second event of the year was at Silverstone for our first piece of track action in March. Many of you will now know that Silverstone is becoming a bit of a tradition, and with discounted track time for PHers and passenger rides available (for free!) it is clear why it's one of the most popular of the year. So much so that we tend to head there twice, and it was no different in 2017. Unfortunately it was a little torrential in March, but of course that didn't stop the PH massive from turning up in force and getting a little bit sideways on track! Even with the rain it was a great fun day.
Aston Martin in St Athan for a first look at its new facility there. It was packed full of past, present and future Aston Martins, plus some celebrity specials like the James Bond DB10. The new facility is on a live runway, so areas that weren't in use were used by Aston Martin for live displays of some of their finest vehicles. Again, a fantastic morning.
We then had a teeny tiny last minute addition at Caterham for an 'Easter MondayService' to celebrate its 60th birthday, which also coincided with the completion of our member-built Caterham 310R, so attendees got to witness the last parts of the Caterham being assembled. Passenger rides and test drives were available from Caterham, so those that have never experienced the thrill got to do just that!
Santa Pod, the home of British drag racing, to burn some rubber and go very quickly in a straight line. And what a turnout we had! There was a huge variety running up the strip; from a McLaren 570S to a Datsun 240Z with massive V8 under the bonnet, the drag races were far from predictable. We even took our roof box wielding Skoda Superb PH Fleet car on track, where it fared very well!
Another last minute addition saw us heading to Silverstone again, but not for a track day; we were kindly offered 1,000 tickets to the Silverstone 500 (featuring Supercar Sunday and the British GT Championship) by Silverstone to give to our attending members. It turned out to be an absolutely cracking day. Racing, admiring super rare supercars, falling over on Segways and competing on simulators were all part of the attraction and meant there was plenty to keep everyone happy.
Blenheim Palace Classic & Supercar Show. And despite the weather's best efforts, it was still a jolly good day with some very rare exotica on show - the Lamborghini Centenario, Aston Martin Vulcan and Mercedes CLK GTR Roadster to name just a few. The second in August was a more familiar one, with BMW. It was a rather special one as it was one of the first UK views of the brand new BMW M5, which was very nice indeed. Although parked up next to its much older predecessors was maybe not such a great idea... The E28 M5 is just so pretty.
September saw us back at Honda HQ for another slightly smaller event, but that didn't mean it packed any less of a punch! Honda put on a fantastic display for us; the Heritage fleet, the Mean Mower, the new NSX, Matt Neal's BTCC car and an array of lovely motorbikes meant it really was an excellent Sunday morning. Plus, of course, the fine cars our very own members brought along.
to Silverstone to ruin our tyres in October. It being our third time back at Silverstone this year had us thinking we may as well have our own little PH HQ there; not sure the bosses would welcome that idea, though... The day was a resounding success, with lovely weather and some great cars off and on track. Ben and Matt were also out on track all morning giving some of you lucky members passenger rides in Ben's Megane and a Caterham 420R, which seemed greatly appreciated by those that went out.
Another new location in November saw us over at a very chilly Denbies Wine Estate - the surroundings were perfect, the cars were wonderful and the wine tours were a much welcome bonus that morning. The highlights for me were the stunning Ford GT and a very mean Lamborghini Diablo, both of which I imagine were quite a handful on the icy roads.
Goodwood weekend that happened on 16th/17th, where we hosted a track day on the Saturday and our biggest Sunday Service of the year on Sunday - and with 800 cars parked up on track and twice the people, it was certainly one of my favourites of the year. The track day started off icy and, erm, a bit closed, but after 10am it dried out and was super grippy. With only 16 cars on track it was also a great opportunity for newcomers to practice with lots of space, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Sunday had a superb atmosphere and it was, as always, great to chat with so many PHers - if you you could hear us over Mariah Carey - and see some lovely cars.
We'd like to offer a huge thanks to everyone who came along to take part, and to all of the companies and venues that hosted us this year - it has been a year to remember. What was your favourite event this year? Do you have any highlights to share with us? Leave your thoughts below.
Finally, the calendar for 2018 is almost full already, packed with favourites and exciting new venues alike. Keep an eye on the Sunday Service forum for the full calendar soon, so you can get planning. Merry Christmas, and see you all next year!