At a recent Quail motorsport event in England, Bill Warner received the honor.
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance founder Bill Warner, has been an automotive collector and preservation mainstay for a very long time. He’s an automotive photographer, writer, and vintage racer, and man who needs no introduction. He received the lifetime achievement award at the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering were among the winners honored this week at the 2021 Historic Motoring Awards.
Read the official release below:
Bill Warner was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Historic Motoring Awards, the UKs most prestigious classic car awards ceremony, in recognition of his unrelenting passion and dedication to the world of classic cars and philanthropy. The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance received Motoring Event of the Year honors from the Historic Motoring Awards in 2013 and 2016.
James Elliot, Historic Motoring Awards judge and Editor of Octane magazine, wrote, “Handing over the Lifetime Achievement award to Amelia Island Concours founder Bill Warner at Thursday’s Historic Motoring Awards, for Octane Magazine, was an especially moving moment for me. It was a privilege to give it to such a wonderful gent who has done so much for our hobby.”
Warner’s automotive journey began as a child. His passion for cars and racing, along with the encouragement of his sister Harriet, would lead to a successful career as a racing photographer, his first professional assignment shooting the 1967 SCCA American Road Race of Champions at Daytona for Sports Car Graphic.
By 1970, Warner would earn the title of “Sports Car Club of America Photographer of the Year” and go on to have his photographs and writing appear in Car and Driver, Autoweek, Automobile, Vintage Motorsport, The Atlantic Monthly, Porsche Panorama, Forza, Automobile Year, and become a regular contributor to Road & Track. In 1976, he would compete in the Cannonball Run driving a Porsche 911T that he still owns today.Warner’s own racing career began in 1977 behind the wheel of a Brabham BT8 that he found in a South Carolina junkyard. His first professional race would take place on July 3, 1980 at Daytona International Speedway in a 6-hour B.F. Goodrich Tire support race for the Firecracker 400.
Warner would race his way to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in 1982 driving in the GT3 class at Road Atlanta behind the wheel of an ex-Bob Sharp Datsun B210. Mechanical issues would force him to enter the race dead last, but Warner would fight back to a fifth-place finish, earning him a nomination for the Mark Donahue Award. Fast forward to the early 1990’s when the public relations team from The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island would reach out to Warner in hopes of finding a champion to build an automotive event on their campus. Warner would agree under one condition, “We can do it as long as we give money back to the community.” In 1996, he founded The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Twenty-six years later The Amelia has become one of the world’s top-tier motoring events and has raised more than $4 million for local charities. McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, added “Nobody deserves an award for a lifetime of achievement within the classic car world more than Bill. His contribution to our hobby is second to none, not only with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, but also through his commitment to charity, and as a guide and mentor to many.”
Building on its purpose to save driving and its focus of preserving and expanding inspiring experiences for automotive enthusiasts, Hagerty acquired the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in June 2021. Bill Warner continues to serve as Chairman Emeritus.“Our objective is to knit the enthusiast community together in a way that supports and protects the future of car culture,” said McKeel Hagerty.
“Amelia Island is synonymous with concours and motorsports heritage due to the steadfast efforts of Bill Warner and his team. We are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to build upon and scale Bill’s vision.” The 27th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will take place March 3-6, 2022. The 2022 field will boast more than 220 significant classic, historically relevant vehicles.