When you pull into The Bridge and pass under the old Chevron sign you get a distinct impression you are being visited by the ghosts of auto racing past. The luxurious golf course is the former home of the Bridgehampton Race Circuit built in 1957 overlooking Peconic Bay. You may hear echoes of the first meeting of Paul Newman and Mario Andretti or Bruce McLaren and Denis Hulme or Richard Petty in the NASCAR winner’s circle. In reverence of this storied history, The Bridge presented by Richard Mille, the preeminent automotive event held each September, beautifully blends the past, present, and future of America’s love for cars. At the Collector’s Reception you could feel the knowledge, respect, and sheer awe of these aficionados whether it was for the Lola which won the 1966 Can Am race on the course, or vintage Astons or the futuristic Czinger hypercar using some of the most advanced production technologies. These valuable cars dot the golf links like so many jewels in a crown.
As a bit of a neophyte who grew up driving a Kelly-green Pinto, I feel I am invited to a private passionate group of auto illuminati. Some of the rare specimens are merely for show and transported in via trailers but others are driven in by owners who still like to put the pedal to the metal. And since there is no competition or prizes, the collectors can bask in each other’s glory. While this is a gathering of high-net-worth guests, there are also average Joe’s or Jane’s in my case who can indulge in a rich four-wheel fantasy.
As “Harold and Maude” is my favorite movie, it is the vintage Jaguar that is always my favorite. It is in a word, or three, sexy as hell. I imagine I would appear the same if I were to drive such a vehicle. And while the Porsche posse had some of the most ardent fans, I still veered to the smooth as silk ride from the new Rolls-Royce Spectre, the world’s first ultra-luxury electric super coupe. But if I was going to date around, I was intrigued by the McLaren GT with a top speed of 203 miles per hour.
Now as a girl who lives in a 20mph village this may seem odd but sometimes a gal just has a need for speed. Of course, if the race track still existed, one could put these amazing steeds through their paces, but, all too often, it would be like taking a race horse on a trail ride to Citarella. When I lived in LA and someone got a new fancy car, they would take it on the 10 Freeway out of town, risking radar and an expensive ticket, to see how fast it could go. With all the traffic, the LIE seems a poor runway. In fact, the raceway was founded in reaction to popular but dangerous street racing whizzing past Candy Kitchen.
While many of the discussions about women were that the wife would be comfortable driving her husband’s car of choice, there was an ardent audience of women that didn’t need something Barbie might drive to draw their attention. Title sponsor Richard Mille got it right with their new RM 07-04 sports watch for women developed with female athletes which they describe as elegantly slim, colorful, and complicated. Because after all some of the ghosts of The Bridge are female racecar drivers like Janet Guthrie in 1966 who drove her successful race car which was, of course, a Jaguar.