With a starting grid of 28 of the world’s rarest and important historic racing cars, collectively valued at around £150million, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the race would be purely processional. A few staged laps of careful driving with the cars safely returning home at the end of the weekend, to spend the rest of the year cossetted in a climate controlled garage somewhere in deepest England. But this was Goodwood, the Revival, which has a reputation for highly competitive racing no matter the value of the participants.
A 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO’s , 4 250 SWB’s, and an ultra rare 330 GTO, lined up together with a Maserati Tipo, 7 AC Cobra coupes, a number of E type Jaguars for the TT Celebration Race, one of the highlights of the weekend. The race included a driver change half way through, with one driver a handy amateur, the other a seasoned professional from the world of Touring Cars or F1. We had some of the best ‘seats’ in the house and were standing on the pit lane roof, literally watching meters from the start line as the flag dropped and a wall of noise hit our ears. F1 noise levels. Insane.
Everyone covered their ears as these amazing cars launched off the start line to a backdrop of spectators all in period dress filling the grandstands. Was this was exactly like it must have been in the sixties? Well, apart from the hundreds of iPhones and digital cameras that were being held aloft. The low level cloud of smoke and exhaust fumes soon dispersed and our attention turned towards the last chicane at the beginning of the long finish straight, to catch a glimpse of who would emerge as the race leader. It was obvious quite quickly that this was a two car race, with two Cobra’s taking a substantial lead, but the rest of the field certainly weren’t easing up. Every time a car passed us it was going full gas, and the nearby giant TV screen confirmed that these cars were being pushed to their limits, sliding around the corners inch perfect.
Caught on camera we saw a car going off, either being hit by another competitor or because the driver found the limit of his ability. Hitting the tyre bank hard and ripping a lot of the body work off quickly bought out the safety car, and all but one car dived into the pits. Our view from above was perfect to witness the two minutes of carnage that followed.
We are all used to seeing beautifully choreographed F1 pit stops, but this wasn’t choreographed. Or beautiful! This is when we realised this race was being taken very very seriously. All but one of the grid had come in and had an allocated space, but as the lane is quite small, most cars would end up blocking the car immediately behind them. The mechanics who had begun pushing and shoving anyone who was standing in their way even started to push cars out of the way causing more chaos. A Cobra came charging down the pit lane, misjudged his spot and took the front fender and headlight off a pristine Ferrari 250 SWB. Wow! And another rapidly accelerating Ferrari had to emergency brake, as he nearly hit a marshall who was crossing his path. If it wasn’t for the quick reactions of another marshall it could have been serious. Luckily the Ferrari only lost a few seconds, which he then made up for by laying fresh rubber down the rest of the pitlane as he returned to the race.
Once the pits emptied, the lone car which hadn’t stopped came in, oblivious to the chaos made a perfect stop with no drama and re-joined without losing a place, or any bodywork!
Apart from a couple of more crashes, the rest of the race was more of a formality for the two Cobras off the front, and the race was sealed a lap or two from then end when the second Cobra had to retire early with a mechanical.
Watching from above, the winning cars team began celebrating as if they’d won LeMans or a world championship! There was spontaneous hugging all round, with gentlemanly handshakes between teams. Though I didn’t see it, I could imagine the handshakes from the owners of Ferrari involved in the earlier pit lane incident were made through gritted teeth. No matter how well healed the owner is, he will most certainly have to double and triple check the state of his bank balance before even considering any repairs.
The interesting thing about this year’s Salon Privé – UK’s motoring socialite event – was the number of designers mingling amongst the Made in Chelsea crowd. From Martin Smith sharing jokes with Peter Stevens over the lobster lunch, to Andrew Hill escaping from Jaguar Land Rover to display his automotive art, there seemed to be a designer at every turn – usually the reserve of the Geneva Motor show.
Also welcome to an event known to show off current luxury and supercars with a Concours d’Elégance celebrating the beauty of the cars over the years, was the addition of concept, prototype and one off cars, many with their designers there to talk through the projects.
Recently launched after several years in development, Elemental’s RP1 was well placed to catch the eye, an interesting concept with undoubtable handling prowess and construction ingenuity as you would expect from a team made up of ex McLaren engineers. The designer who had to pull all these elements together Guy Colborne, explained every detail and more revealingly his passion behind the project – a life time ambition to design a brand new car that launches a brand new company.
So from one car that started from scratch to another one with established underpinnings of a Ferrari SA Aperta, the Superamerica 45 was designed by Matteo Gilles as a one off for Peter Kalikow. It’s striking appearance sitting well in the grounds of Syon House, and an ideal opportunity for Matteo’s wife and marketing manager Nicky to promote their new bespoke design studio.
Then there was the Callum Mk2 with the underpinnings from an earlier period of motoring, a 1962 Mark II 3.8-litre. Designed as a one off by Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum, who explained, ‘This is a very personal statement, a long held notion that, although the Mark 2 has always been a beautiful car, it could be even more exciting in shape and performance.’ It was probably one of the most discussed exhibits, and as Judge Callum sat on the Concours d’Elégance panel alongside Rolls-Royce’s Giles Taylor, it was clear that the jury was still out on his latest proposal.
The Salon Privé is a stunning event to attend with treats everywhere, a Miura and F40 still holding their own against current pretenders McLaren P1 and La Ferrari parked together allowing a rare comparison, as well as fascinating people with interesting stories who gathered around the auction exhibits with their glasses of bubbly.
As we left the relaxing and glamorous Garden Party we thanked Sam Livingston from Car Design Research for his invite, and headed back to the drawing board!
This Sunday – 20th July – will see the start of The Adventurist’s 2014 Mongol Rally: an adventure which entails driving old 1000 cc cars over 10,000 miles from London to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Drive is supporting ‘Yak To The Future’, a team made up four friends from London, Guy Khosla,
Jonti Davies, Matt Ingram and Ed Compson nephew of Drive’s TJ, who are taking part driving a sweet sixteen year old, salmon pink or should that be sunbleached red, Nissan Micra.
Of the 250 teams that set off on this mad-cap expedition and passing many mountain ranges, deserts, corrupt border guards, bandits and yaks, many will never make it.
Now in order for our team to raise the money for their chosen charities EducAid Sierra Leone and Cool Earth, they have to finish.
What could possibly go wrong?? Well in their words “we know diddly-squat about fixing cars, our sense of direction is average at best and we’re not sure if we can afford to buy food after Uzbekistan”.
So how can you help?? Please look at their intended route and see if they pass anywhere near somewhere or someone you know, let us know so should / when they are in difficulty they might have support nearby?
Please contact us with suggestions and advice.
To donate follow the link https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/yaktothefuture
20th July – Cologne – Prague – Bratislava -Tokaj – Sibui – Vama Veche – Sile (after nipping through Istanbul)
27th July – Samsum – Batumi – Tblisi (and Mksheta) – Sheki – Baku – Turkmenbashi
4th August – Ashgabat – Koneurgench – Bukhara – Samarkand – Tashkent – Possibility Chimgam and the surrounding lakes and mountains
11th August – Osh – Bishek – Karkol – Almaty
15th August – the trail goes cold either they don’t think they will get this far or they are going to make it up as they go along!!
28th August – Moscow to return home
Last weekend hosted two of the biggest festivals in their respective domains, both are well known for being a bit noisy, and both, amazingly, begin with the letter ‘G’. So, put off by the squalid living conditions of #Glasto’s make-shift, nylon slums, we opted to go to Goodwood festival of speed instead.
Now, for those of you who have never been to Goodwood, this is the place where your passive interest in cars and things that go fast turns into a full blown love affair. Seeing cars under infinite, artificial spot lights sat monotonously rotating next to smiling women dressed like Dr Evil’s henchmen feels somewhat insipid and lifeless next to the spirit and energy of Goodwood.
On arrival, the first confusing thing was the weather, we packed umbrellas and coats expecting rain but instead we had glorious sunshine all day. We surmised, around the point that our eyes were watering from the exhaust fumes of an old rally car, that not only should we consider moving away for the sake of our health but that there was perhaps a localised hole in the ozone layer above Goodwood which had contributed to the inordinate weather that day. But, Goodwood isn’t all oily, heritage racers and historical motor cars, it also plays host to some of the latest vehicles and technology on offer including the unveiling of some interesting new concepts.
Nissan, VW and Aston Martin all showed off their new concepts for the Gran Turismo video game. It seems as if Gran Turismo is almost becoming an automotive sub brand in its self, as if the idea of the designs being created for a virtual world somehow holds its own identity. Bold exaggerated surfacing everywhere you look, they all capture a sense of childlike excitement that you might associate with gaming. The Nissan does feel slightly over worked but certainly had the wow factor, and the Aston feels a touch rushed and I found the retro-futuristic looks difficult to associate with their brand. It would be nice if it were a bit prettier but it’s great to see a fresh take on an Aston Martin. Mercedes also had their Gran Turismo concept that was released late last year which is so cartoonish it just doesn’t look like it would function or go around corners.
This was also the first time we got to see the trio of ‘hypercars’ together in one place. The Mclaren P1, Porsche 918 and La Ferrari all made their way up the hill. It seems to be an ongoing argument here at Drive as to which one we prefer as they all posses unique qualities and characters. The P1 seems like the raw performance choice, the surfacing is advanced and aerodynamic and the stance really makes the car look stuck to the road. La Ferrari seems like the one you’d choose with your heart not your head. Some awkwardness on the exterior and maybe slightly dated in comparison but it makes up for that and more in character. The 918 looks the most refined of the three and the upward facing exhausts on the rear deck create some dramatic heat haze when it’s stationary which is super cool. It was difficult to make out some of the crisp detailing with its Martini livery but it still looked fantastic.
Some of the highlights of the show came from some unexpected places. Not sure whether to call it a highlight but it was certainly surreal to see Sir Chris Hoy send the new Nissan GTR into the hay bales on the Molecomb corner. I would make a joke about sticking to cycling but I won’t because it’s a rubbish joke. Some extremely odd looking, idiosyncratic old cars which, more often than not, makes you wonder how sober the designers were but always pleasing to see. The sinister Vulcan bomber gave a good show and a unique but incredible boom that resonated across the whole festival. But, as usual it’s just great to find a good view of the track and get inspired by all the amazing vehicles on show, from motorbikes to nascars, old bangers to supercars, rarely does something go past that doesn’t put a smile on your face.
As we get ready to cheer England on in the world cup over the next few weeks, it is interesting how important the details have become for every sports team or individual.
As the levels of all sporting athletes have reached incredible standards, it is the details, the adding together of 0.1 percent, that make the difference between winning and losing, and clothing is one of those areas.
Ayrton Senna started to turn his driving gloves inside out so the seams and stitches didn’t give any discomfort, and then the manufacturers started to make them that way. Sir Clive Woodward looked at every aspect of the England Rugby team, and realised the traditional rugby shirt by its very design and fabric made it heavy especially as it absorbed moisture and rain, and also was easy for the opposition to grab. They got the manufacturer to redesign to be more like a sprinters, lighter and skin tight. They also noticed that England teams were better in the first ten minutes of a game than the first 10 minutes of the second half, so they tried to replicate the conditions, so everyone had a new clean strip for the second half. They certainly looked superior to the opposition at that point, and that psychological edge is so important.
So with England players about to pull on the famous strip with Three lions on their chest it is interesting to see its specification –
Ultra soft DRI-FIT fabric designed to pull moisture away from the skin to the outside of the shirt where it evaporates more quickly.
Laser cut holes and engineered mesh zones under the arms and mid-back to provide increased breathability and airflow to help keep cool.
An engineered burnout mesh to help regulate body temperature over 90 minutes.
Whatever you think, if it makes 0.1% difference to every player (even in his mind) for every minute of every match, that could be the difference between lifting ‘the’ Cup and using one to drown ones sorrows.
Good Luck to the England Team