A Conversation With Byron DeFoor, Founder Of Chattanooga Motorcar Festival

  • Thursday, October 13, 2022
Byron DeFoor, right, with CMF Concours Director since 2019, Ken Gross
Byron DeFoor, right, with CMF Concours Director since 2019, Ken Gross
photo by Chattanooga Motorcar Festival

In only its third year, the 2022 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival on Oct. 14-16, set in the heart of the Scenic City, has proven to be a popular destination for car and racing fans and families, with its diverse menu of events. From a rally through the Tennessee countryside, a world-class Concours d’Elegance, the Mecum Auctions, and historic and vintage auto races at the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend, to ferris wheels, street parties, rides in cars from the Great Race, and an Oktoberfest, it’s the place to be to enjoy true Southern hospitality this weekend, said officials. 

The man responsible for the Festival that stretches along the Tennessee River is Byron DeFoor, a Chattanooga developer and racer, who is realizing his dream of creating a European-style festival for everyone to enjoy while benefitting The Neuroscience Center at CHI Memorial in Chattanooga. 

Proceeds from the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival support neuroscience research through Fifty Plus Foundation, Inc. Approaching a decade of supporting Alzheimer’s Disease and neuroscience research, Mr. DeFoor, Brian Johnson, and Fifty Plus Foundation, Inc., created the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival to bring that support to a local level while funding research that will make a global impact. Learn more at chattanoogamotorcar.com.

Mr. DeFoor answered some questions:

Q. Why did you decide to create the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival?

A: Though I have traveled many places, Chattanooga has always been home. It is proud and philanthropic. Leaving this community a better place than I found it has always been a driving force in my life. We must remember that it is our own spirit that at the end will prevail. Hope and faith count, but without charity there can be nothing good.

Q. What charity will benefit from the Festival?

A. The proceeds this year from the Festival will again benefit The Neuroscience Center at CHI Memorial as well as the NeuroScience Innovation Foundation. Helping to heal and ease brain injury and disease is something we have been passionate about for years and the reason why ACDC lead singer, Brian Johnson, and I started the Fifty Plus Foundation.

Q. Was your racing and car collecting passion a factor in making this decision?

A. Racing has given me the opportunity to participate in and to watch some spectacular car events. The Festival is an event that has lived in my mind for years, and I’m proud that it’s in its third year and growing. Building the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival the last few years has been rewarding and challenging, but the rewards definitely outweigh the challenges.

Q. Where is home base in Chattanooga for the Festival?

A. The West Village, located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, is home to the Festival. With beautiful hotels, fabulous restaurants, and pedestrian-friendly streets, it has proven to provide the perfect venue for the Festival.

Q. What are the world-class events fans can expect to see this year?

A. Last year we added the inaugural Pace Grand Prix at The Bend to the line-up. We named it after our dear friend and my 2019 Festival Chief Operating Officer, Jim Pace, who passed away from Covid in 2019. We miss Jim every day! It’s located at Chattanooga’s riverfront property known as The Bend. This track has been widened this year and reconditioned for a smoother driving experience, and a new three-quarter-mile infield loop has been added, taking the total count to 2.75 miles. It’s going to be awesome!

In addition, the Festival will include a breath-taking rally through the mountains of Tennessee and Georgia organized by Canossa Events, a Concours d’Elegance with vintage cars from all over the world lining the streets of the West Village, and, back by popular demand, the world-famous Mecum Auctions.

Q. What would you like to add to your comments?

A. We are very proud of all our partners in this adventure, collectively known as the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival Knowledge Community (Corky Coker, Ken Gross, Dick York, Judy Stropus, Tom Shelton, David Geanacopoulos, Kevin Caulfield and Clay Timon). We appreciate their hard work in building this great event.

And, to the fans and visitors, thank you again for being a part of the 2022 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival. We are glad you’ll be here and hope you and your family enjoy our beautiful city and fun-filled Festival weekend.

The Canossa Fall Rally Chattanooga will be conducted on Thursday and Friday, and will start both days at 8:30 a.m. from the Westin Hotel Chattanooga.

The Concours d'Elegance is scheduled for Sunday. Concours cars will be available for viewing on the streets of the West Village from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday.

Events at the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend begin on Thursday for practice sessions, and continue on Friday and Saturday for qualifying and racing events.

Tickets are still available here.

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