Friday nights’ Festivals of Speed jet port reception was an amazing display of fortune, feast and fame. The stars were in alignment and the supercars were plentiful. From the moment I walked into the private hangar at Tampa International Airport, my head was on a swivel, confused at which piece of automotive craftsmanship to admire first— this year’s display more than doubled in size since last year’s event, with a confirmed guest count of 850. Unless you were actually at this event to witness the extravagance in person, it would be difficult to comprehend the multitude of the motorsports collection that was on display. Seeing automotive works like the Rockstar Punched speedboat, the historic No. 40 and No. 43 Richard Petty racecars (which by the way came from the private collection of local enthusiast and Statement Marine Founder Todd Werner), and the array of private jets, it took every ounce of self-control in me to maintain my professionalism and tame the “kid in a candy store” exclaiming inside of me.
Before I could begin to make my way around the hangar, I was greeted with a smile from the show creator, Joe Sabatini. For those of you who haven’t worked with Joe before, you should know that this native New Yorker lives and breathes his work, and is a perfectionist to the core. Each year that Joe creates Festivals of Speed, his no-frills attitude ensures that guest expectations will be met, and this year was certainly no exception.
The moment the doors opened sharply at 8 p.m., guests began to fill the hangar, dripping in diamonds and completely clad in some of the best threads you’ve ever seen. Jeremy Davis & The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra set the mood, and the lead vocalist had a sound that was strikingly similar to world-renowned singer Michael Bublé. Guests dined, danced and drank throughout the evening and before I knew it, the clock struck 11 p.m. Although the party was officially ending, the after-party was officially beginning at two different locations – Ocean Prime and the Blue Martini – both conveniently located on the same block as the event. As the super cars sped onto the streets with Tampa Bay’s finest in tow, all you could hear was the resonance lingering from the engines of what I declare to be “engineering at its best!”
Joe Sabatini and the Festivals of Speed staff created the perfect precursor to the Festivals of Speed motorsports collection at Vinoy Park the following Sunday, which drew a confirmed 22,000 spectators. Both events also attracted the likes of automotive photographers such as Chris Grosser, Christopher Brut and Kyle Roedler. We will be sharing their images and videos as we get them. But first, take a look at some of the stunning shots and videos that Chris Grosser was able to capture, and then jump over to his website to see more!
This first video Chris films facing the rear of Gotham Watch, Co. super sexy black Lamborghini and a crew of 30+ cars in tow on the way to Festivals of Speed at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. See for yourself!
The title of this video speaks for itself…