The allure of Goodwood

The allure of Goodwood

By Bertie Scott Brown:

When you first stand at Goodwood’s St. Mary’s corner, a fast, sweeping left hander, and race cars explode into view, you completely forget everything—your camera settings, your notes, the name of the race—every rational thought can vanish except one: this is living!

An enticing step back in time, the annual Goodwood Revival is the world’s largest historic motor racing event. Staged every September since 1998, the venue is located near Chichester, a West Sussex cathedral city situated near England’s Southeast coast. Each year the Revival introduces an unfailingly unique experience to a sellout crowd of nearly 150,000. They attend in period clothing, marvel at the world’s most enchanting motor cars, bikes, and planes and revel in its inviting atmosphere. It remains the only international motor sport venue that has been preserved in its original form.

Goodwood commemorates a racing era that began in 1948 and ended in 1966. During the second German war, the grounds had served as a Battle of Britain airfield and when the RAF closed the base after the war, landowner Freddie March, grandfather to current owner Earl of March, converted the perimeter road into a racing circuit.

This year’s event took place on September 11-13 and included 15 races for cars and motorcycles that had been constructed up to and including the year of 1966. A special tribute to motor sport legend Bruce McLaren was laid on as was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Shelby’s Daytona Coupe. Also, Sir Jackie Stewart demonstrated the BRM P261 in which he won the Italian F1 GP exactly 50 years ago to the day, September 12, 1965.

Earlier this year, I had applied for a press pass in plenty of time but my application had been rejected once again…over subscribed they had said apologetically. But there was no great sense of loss as spectator access to most of the track action is almost as panoramic as that available to the press—the only irresistible shots beyond the enthusiast’s reach are those in and around the pits and the starting grid.

For those who enjoy the pleasures of historic racing cars and motorcycles—as well as people enjoying themselves to the fullest—here is a profusion of images we hope will please.

For historic Ferrari admirers there was the Lavant Cup, a twenty-minute race for drum-brake Ferrari sports prototypes of the 1950s.
Click on any image to enlarge.
For the full gallery of Goodwood Revival images click here.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano 2995cc, Philippe Gertsch

1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano 2995cc, Philippe Gertsch

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC 1985cc, Ernst Schuster

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC 1985cc, Ernst Schuster

 

Ferrari #33: Not listed in program

Ferrari #33: Not listed in program

 

1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta 1992cc, Robert van Zyl

1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta 1992cc, Robert van Zyl

 

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France 2953cc, Steve Boultbee Brooks

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France 2953cc, Steve Boultbee Brooks

 

1956 Ferrari 500 TR 1985cc, Steven Tillack

1956 Ferrari 500 TR 1985cc, Steven Tillack

 

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Boano 2995cc, Cengiz Artam

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Boano 2995cc, Cengiz Artam

 

1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano 2995cc, Philippe Gertsch

1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano 2995cc, Philippe Gertsch

 

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC 1985cc, Jason Yates

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC 1985cc, Jason Yates

 

1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa 2995cc, Roy Kent

1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa 2995cc, Roy Kent

 

Unlisted: assumed to be 1957 Ferrari TRC 1985cc

Unlisted: assumed to be 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC 1985cc

 

1954 Ferrari 250 GT Europa 2995, Erich Traber

1954 Ferrari 250 GT Europa 2995, Erich Traber

 

DSC_3360

Early 1950s Ferrari, probably model 166

 

 

 

DSC_3361

In recessionary times, handsome profits are realized on most early Ferrari models

 

 

DSC_3341

Goodwood’s parade of alluring cars always popular

 

 

DSC_3466

Ferrari 330 & 250 GTOs, fewer than 40 irresistible machines produced from 1962-‘64

For the full gallery of Goodwood Revival images click here.

 

1 Comment

  1. The Daytona Cobra – Triumphant in the GT Class

    I was still at boarding school in England in 1964 when I first heard of the Shelby Daytona Cobra. It was so beautiful in the early pictures it made you want to wet your (short) pants. It was built by Carroll Shelby in order to beat the Ferrari 250 GTOs in the GT class at the 24-hour Le Mans motor race held annually in June.

    The original car, the AC Cobra or Shelby American Cobra, had the aerodynamic qualities of the average house brick, and was severely outclassed by the svelte (and gorgeous) Ferraris in top speed, even though the Ferrari had an engine of much smaller displacement. While the Cobra ruled on shorter circuits, it could not match the Ferraris on European circuits with long straights. On the three-mile Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans, the Cobra was around 30 mph slower than the Ferraris’ 186 mph, leading to a lap time around 11 seconds in arrears of the Ferraris.

    At Shelby’s urging, employee Peter Brock designed and built a wind-cheating body on the Cobra chassis. Anecdote has it that driver Ken Miles sat on a Cobra seat on the floor of Shelby’s workshop holding a steering wheel while Brock built a mock-up around him using, initially, scrap wood and duct tape. But it may or may not have happened quite that way. You know how a story can improve in the telling over 50 years…

    In the lead-up to the 1964 Le Mans race, the new car created a sensation overnight, but for the wrong reasons. It was reported in the British press that a Shelby Daytona Coupé had driven up the new M1 Motorway in England at speeds of up to 200 mph, and it was later reported that this prompted the British Government to introduce a speed limit of 70 mph on this and other motorways.

    The truth is both more complex and more interesting.

    It seems AC Cars, manufacturers of the original Cobra chassis (née AC Ace) in Thames Ditton, Surrey, had also built a coupé, intending to challenge Shelby’s cars in Europe but especially at Le Mans. It had similar mechanicals and body, and AC called their car the Cobra Coupé GT.

    After completing the first example, the factory realised there was a need to test the coupé’s top speed and high speed stability (no wind tunnels in those days!) In order to beat the Ferraris and the original open-cockpit Cobras at Le Mans, the car would need to realise at least 186 mph. It would need to be able to maintain this speed without generating aerodynamic ‘lift’ from the body design which could make the car difficult to drive or even, as proved by other teams over the years, take off into the air, perhaps flip upside down or leave the track at great peril to the driver and spectators.

    There being no locally-available track where they would be able to test the car to its limit, AC decided to take it out on the nearby M1 motorway which was then, like the rest of England’s highways, unrestricted. English driver ‘Gentleman’ Jack Sears was at the wheel, and on 11 June 1964 the AC reached its rev limit of 6,500 in the early hours of the morning on the almost-deserted motorway. The car of course had no speedometer, but this was afterwards calculated to be equivalent to 186 mph – sufficient to at least hold station with the Ferraris at Le Mans.

    This test was much the same as that regularly employed by other builders of high-speed cars such as Jaguar and Aston Martin, and since there was no speed limit on motorways at the time, no laws were broken. Neither were there any complaints from members of the public. There were few cars on the road in the minutes after sunrise, and Sears by his own account took care to throttle back to around 120 mph when he passed other road users.

    However, a relative of the company’s owners happened to mention the feat in London within the hearing of a journalist and the story rapidly acquired a life of its own. The rest is history, although it is not true that the government immediately slapped a speed limit on motorways. This happened almost three years later, under a different government – and was more closely related to a spate of multiple accidents in thick fog which earned the censure of the press and the public.

    And the Cobra Coupé GT? It did race at Le Mans a week or two later. It was recorded by the speed trap on the Mulsanne Straight at 183 mph – the same speed as the Shelby coupés which enjoyed an extra 30 bhp. Other accounts suggested the AC car topped well over 190. But the car was destroyed during a high-speed collision with a Ferrari, killing three spectators who had climbed over a fence onto the track during the night.

    The Peter Brock-designed Shelby coupés of course went on to great success, winning the GT class at Le Mans that year and running 4th overall in the hands of Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant, as well as enjoying many wins in GT racing through 1964 and 65. By 1965 interest had switched to the fabulous GT40 – another Ferrari-beater, this time in the Prototype class for outright victory.

    Tragic postscript – another Peter Brock

    In the mid 2000s, small constructors in several countries including the US, England, South Africa and Australia began building ‘continuation’, ‘legacy’ or replica Daytona Coupes. All looked the same as the original, and had similar (albeit modernised) running gear.

    Australia’s most popular and successful driver of factory-supported V8 racing sedans through the 1970s and 80s was (amazingly) also called Peter Brock. It is said he was a good friend of the other Peter Brock who built the original Daytona Coupé for Carroll Shelby.

    In 2006 at the age of 61, Brock (the Australian one) was offered a drive in an Australian-built Daytona Coupé in an event in Western Australia known as the Targa West Rally – a tarmac special-stage rally – , and a car was entered for him and navigator Mick Hone.

    Brock lost control of the car on a tight downhill bend east of Perth, hit trees and was killed instantly.

    Speculation after the tragedy encompassed a range of circumstances, each of which individually could have caused the accident – but which are alleged to have all been present at the time. First, Brock had only a few hours before the rally stepped off a 24-hour flight from Europe and was said to have been ‘fatigued’. Second, while a brilliant and adaptable driver he seems to have had relatively little experience of the car. Third, some motoring journalists offered the view that Brock had wished to experiment with different types of tyres which might have been better suited to the Targa road surface, but had not found the time to do so. Fourth, it seems he did not know the circuit and had limited experience of this type of event, although he had driven in the previous year’s Targa Tasmania. Fifth, it was raining at the time and locals stated the corner was a well-known danger spot.

    Finally, it seems almost beyond argument that the Daytona was neither intended, nor suited, to an event of this nature. It was designed for circuit racing on extremely fast, but smooth, race tracks and Brock would certainly have known this.

    If all the above is even half true, it would be logical to speculate that this may have been one of the most needless motor racing deaths in the history of the sport.

    It’s a fascinating car and it was such a blast seeing them at the Revival this year. Where else in the world can you see every one ever made of a particular model, all lined up in a row. Last year I counted 29 D-Types (and SSs), the previous year there were 40 GT40s. And I seem to remember spotting a row of 11 250 GTOs (a couple were 330s) – although in that case there were something like 33 of them built. Most of course never leave their museum or climate-controlled garage because they’re worth up to $-US 70M. What a spectacle Goodwood is!

    To view the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes click here and scroll down. http://mooregoodink.com/project/goodwood-revival-2015/

    Reply

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