SMMT Test Day North 2023 at Wetherby Racecourse

The annual Test Day North event, organised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), has once again taken place in our region.

Returning to its regular location at Wetherby Racecourse — straddling the North and West Yorkshire border — the Test Day North is one of two regional events which take place each year to complement the main Test Day event at the Millbrook vehicle proving grounds in Bedfordshire.

That makes it one of the highlights of the Northern Group’s calendar, with many press offices making their way up to the region with representative vehicles from their fleets. This year that included more than 50 cars from the BMW Group, Ford, Genesis, Kia, MG, Nissan, smart, Ssangyong, the Stellantis Group, Suzuki, and Toyota.

While the event at Millbrook hosts more brands and vehicles, and many of the Northern Group make the journey down each spring, Test Day North is nonetheless a great opportunity to drive cars — many of which have been introduced over the summer — and network.

Of course the event is also preceded by the Northern Group of Motoring Writers’ pre-event barbecue, taking place the night before. Given the long drive up the A1 for our PR colleagues, this event gives everyone a chance to enjoy a bit of food and relax before the big day.

Test Day North also sees the Northern Group crown its Car of the Year winner in a traditional lunchtime ceremony. This year that went to MG, with the MG4 an overwhelming winner in the judges’ voting, and chairman Andrew Evans presented the “Arthur” trophy — a genuine miner’s safety lamp — to Jasmine Jiang of MG to commemorate the victory.

Despite a small squall early in the day, the northern September weather uncharacteristically held out for much of the day’s driving activities, with NGMW’s members alone racking up more than 50 drives. You can see some of these in our special event gallery.