The 20th Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance returns to its traditional route tracing Highway 1 to Big Sur, allowing spectators, entrants and judges to enjoy the cars in motion and at speed—the way they were designed to be.
Sean Jacobs, Director of the Tour d’Elegance since 2008, explains the driving event’s significance: “The Tour started out of the desire to make sure these beautiful cars were still able to serve their original purpose: to drive. When you see a Duesenberg passing by a Ferrari GTO on Highway 1, it’s a pretty mind-blowing experience.”
Participants took to the road for the first Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance in 1998. Soon after, the Tour was made an integral part of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance judging process; cars that successfully complete the Tour d’Elegance have the advantage if they tie in class competition on Concours Sunday. That advantage has often determined which cars win their class — and it has even had an impact on the selection of Best of Show.
The Tour also points to the fact that the 17-Mile Drive is at the heart of Pebble Beach, and the Concours began in tandem with another driving event, the Pebble Beach Road Races.
“The Tour pays homage to the roots of the event and emphasizes that the core of the Pebble Beach Concours is to show that the cars are more than immobile pieces of art,” Jacobs added.
Last year, as a result of the wildfire to the east of Big Sur, the Tour was shortened and rerouted to local roads with limited speeds. Consequently, some great racecars were unable to participate because they couldn’t get up to speed, and the judging advantage was eliminated for the year.
The California Highway Patrol recently gave the green light for the Tour to return to its traditional route this August. The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge remains out due to recent landslides, but the Tour turns around just before it. The scenic 70-mile Tour route weaves through forests of intertwined Cypress and towering Monterey Pines, traverses sun-drenched mountains and valleys, parallels the crashing Pacific surf along the Big Sur coastline and tours charming Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Spectators are welcome to view the automobiles as they line up for the start of the Tour at 8 a.m. near the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, or from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. as they pose on Carmel’s Ocean Avenue.
For more information and a map of the Tour d’Elegance, as well as a Visitor Guide for Pebble Beach Automotive Week, please visit www.pebblebeachconcours.net.