The Whitsun Trophy brought out the Beasts celebrating the 50 th anniversary of the GT40. 45 minutes of pure Ford power! In this outstanding showcase race, all versions of the GT40 were eligible and did include a few replicas which were built by Gelscoe. In this mix of were three MKII’s and a very rare MKIV where V8 engines ruled in the day.
The race ended with Adrian Newey and Kenny Brack in the ex-ESSEX wire GT40, one of the small block cars, taking the lead early on and bringing their car to the finish in first place
Imagine the emotion of seeing 27 of these fabulous cars on the track at the same time, and the rumble of their engines as they literally flew by on the Goodwood straight-away! In the paddocks, the Earl of biance to showcase these exceptional cars,- it was a thrill to get an up-close and personal look at these cars, having seen most of them only in books and photography situations, it was a privilege to be able to document them for myself.
The circuit of Goodwood played an important role in the GT40’s development during the 1960’s… some of the cars participating in static as-well-as during the race were the 1966 Le Mans winning chassis P/1046, the Alan Mann racing developed AMGT-2 car raced in the day by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon which won in 1966, a John Wyer Automotive team car in the blue and orange GULF colors. If any of you want to see what this car was like on the track, have a look and see online on swoop online You Tube, type in “Goodwood Revival 2013: Kenny Brack in the wild GT40”, you believe me,- it is more than worth the Watch . Second place was taken by Shaun Lynn the owner/driver of the GT40 #13 driving with Emanuele Pirro, 14 seconds behind the Newey/Brack car. Martin Stretton, a regular major player in historic racing and racecar preparation, driving the GT40 #6 with Diogo Ferrao, finished third. Just a personal HOOT HOOT for the Joachim Folch/Simon Hadfield car finishing 9 th and a special mention to the French contingent…Fabien Sarrailh and Henri Pescarolo driving a beautiful light green GT40 from 1965. Fabien, son of Robert Sarrailh , drove with Henri in this 45 minute race- finishing seventeenth. Always great to see Henri with his unmistakenable green helmet at any race! Also present at Goodwood, for the first time, was Yves Courage.
Not without detractors, but well-appreciated in the historic racing community, even rival teams cheered him down the pit-lane with each passage
I have saved the cherry on the cake for last… Wow, WOW, WOWZA, was this exciting!? You bet your pants it was! Starting on the dry, well, humid track,- Cobras, Ferraris, Jag E-Types and Aston Martins…all reved-up for one blockbuster, big boy toy race. Expecting this to be a Cobra win, or another Jag in the lead, the start came as no surprise to me, with the Bryant Cobra sitting on pole. Bryant back and on the attack, after three consecutive years of mishaps on the track. And, followed by a Lister Jag Le Mans Coupe and a Ferrari 250 GTO with Jean Alessi behind the wheel. Expecting Bryant to lead, David Hart opened up the festivities followed closely by Gary Pearson, a TT race favorite having won last years TT, a close fourth… then came the RAIN…and the race was in the “wet”. And that changed EVERYTHING.
While Cobras, Jags, and Ferraris were battling the wet and trying to keep their cars on the track,- Simon Hadfield behind the wheel of the Aston Martin Project 212 was on the move and coming on strong! Wolfgang Friedrich, owner of the AM project 212 had handed over the wheel to Simon before the rain deluge in a respectable tenth place. In my “humble” opinion,- THIS was one of the best and greatest drives in Goodwood history ! Steadily and brilliantly, Simon worked his way up from tenth to the lead. And with each place, the crowd held their breath…this was epic driving in the wet, with Simon sometimes 5 seconds faster than anyone else on the track. With 2 minutes left, Simon, apparently oblivious to the appaling wet conditions on the track, brought the Aston to victory in first place, with the Lister Jaguar Coupe driven by Chris Harris and Anthony Reid, second, and the father/son team of Bryant third aboard their pole-position Cobra. It was a particuliarly emotional moment for Simon, as he has participated in all of the 16 Goodwood events since 1998, either as team-runner or driver, with 2013 marking his first personal win at the Goodwood track. This was not only a personal achievement for Simon Hadfield, he and Wolfgang Friedrich ( driver/owner of the car), it was racing history in the making at Goodwood. This was the first win for an Aston Martin in the TT Race at Goodwood, which also coincided with the celebration of Aston’s centenary year. Having known Simon for many years, I was very happy to have been there to witness this racing achievement. He practically has taught me how to drive and race… Bravo !