The 73rd Goodwood Members Meeting took place this weekend. It is by far the most exclusive of Goodwood’s three motoring events which also includes the legendary Festival of Speed and the nostalgic Revival. The Goodwood Members Meeting is the youngest of the three events. It is also the most expensive, the most exclusive and – as we found out yesterday – the coldest!
So what is the Goodwood Members Meeting? Much like the Revival, the Members Meeting revived an older period event, the BARC Members’ Meetings held at Goodwood through the 1950s and 1960s. The British Automobile Racing Club was formed in 1949, although the first Members Meeting was actually held in 1948.
The modern-era Members Meeting takes place at the iconic Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit. Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC) members are given ticketing priority rather than the BARC members who marshall and organise the events. The 73rd Goodwood Members Meeting was also opened up to the general public with tickets priced at £80 for the Saturday.
Unlike the Revival, the Goodwood Members Meeting is supposed to be more grass roots racing. The Revival tends on the side of theatrical at times, with actors roaming trackside, visitors in period costume and aerial displays overhead. The Members Meeting had none of this. Whilst much of the same style is retained, the Members Meeting is more focused on the action on-track, rather than off.
Unique features of the Members Meeting include the school houses that each ticket holder is assigned to. The idea is to create a friendly competition between the showgoers with captains Emanuele Pirro, Jochen Mass, Anthony Reid and Nicolas Minassian heading Aubigny, Darnley, Methuen and Torbolton houses. We were assigned to Darnley house which by the time we left yesterday, was third in the standings. Hopefully our Sunday house members – and our team captain Jochen Mass – had moved up a gear or two!
This year’s course cars were provided by Porsche. Two Porsche 991 Targa models were on hand to ensure that the circuit was clear following each of the planned races. They were ably assisted by the McLaren 650S MSO car we drove last year and the brand new Mercedes-AMG GT.
The racing is split across two days, with practice events taking place on the Saturday before the final event on Saturday. The benefit of the layout is of course that no matter the day you choose, you don’t miss out on seeing any of the track action. The only two races Sunday visitors miss out on is the Graham Hill Trophy and the Taylor Trophy.
The practice race of the day was the Gerry Marshall Trophy, a race for 1970’s and 1980’s Group 1 production saloon cars. The race included massive Chevrolet Camero Z28’s pitted against tiny Mini 1275 GT’s with a smattering of Ford Capri’s, Alfa Romeo GTV6’s and Rover 3500 SD1’s. A huge spectacle and a varied race was eventually won by Nigel Garrett in his Chevrolet Camero Z28, followed closely by David Clark, a result which mirrored qualifying earlier in the day.
The Sunday race, we are told was won by David Clark who was joined Matt Neal. The grouping of Chris Harris and Chris Ward bought the Rover 3500 SD1 home in second, narrowly missing Tiff Needell and Peter Mallett’s top time by 100th’s of a second!
The second practice race we watched involved rear-engined 1950’s Formula Junior cars. Lotus, Sauter’s, Cooper’s and DeTomaso’s battled it out with drum brakes which made for some incredible racing! The final race was run later in the day and was won by Andrew Wilkinson in a Lynx-Ford Mk3, also the winner of the fastest lap award for that category.
Next up was the Graham Hill Trophy. Our favourite event of the day, the Graham Hill Trophy had a stunning line-up. Among our favourite entrants was the stunning Jaguar E-Type Low Drag and the ISO Bizzarrini A3C. Odd balls included the Aston Martin DP214 (which is a Goodwood Revival regular) and a Maserati Tipo 151/3. Practice was red-flagged due to an incident with one of the Low Drag Coupe’s which hit a tyre wall towards the end of the lap.
The practice eventually decided that Jason Wright’s AC Cobra should sit in pole position. Whilst that car later went on to set the fastest lap during the race, the eventual winner was an AC Cobra Le Mans Coupe owned by Shaun Lynn and driven by Emanuel Pirro. We left before the hour-long race took place (mainly due to the cold).
The next race was the Les Leston cup. Popular among enthusiasts, it included many of the affordable classics we see driving and at classic shows nowadays. MGB’s, Lotus Elite’s, Triumphs, all classic sports and GT cars. The Les Leston Cup was eventually won today by Chris Ryan in an MGB whilst the fastest time was set by a Lotus Elite.
One of our favourite races of the event was the John Adlington Cup, a race for Porsche 911’s. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Porsche Cars GB, the UK Porsche importers. The racing was spectacular with drivers controlling the rear-engined racers mainly on the throttle. Watching the cars drift through corners was breathtaking. The final race was won today by Andrew Jordan in an early Porsche 901.
Another notable event was the Salvador Cup for Sports Prototypes between 1955 and 1960. Naturally, these included the dominating Jaguar D-Type, Lister-Jaguar’s and Lotus Climax models. An unfortunate accident involving Jochen Mass in a Mercedes-Benz 300SLS Porter Special crashed into the back of a Lister-Jaguar owned by Tony Wood put an early end to practice. The race was eventually won by another Lister-Jaguar
Alongside the races, three special on-track displays also took place over the weekend. The first was a demonstration of High-Airbox Formula 1 cars, the second was a demonstration of the McLaren F1 GTR and the third, a demonstration of the monstrous Group C cars. You can catch our coverage of the McLaren F1 GTR in our earlier post, the Group C cars were just as special.
With over 15 examples on display and on-track, the action was quite spectacular. The Martini-liveried Lancia LC2 was a standout, as was the ex-works Aston Martin AMR1 and the Mercedes-Benz C11. In many ways, we were glad that the Mazda 787B was only on static display. A screaming rotary engine would have been far from home in the leafy South Downs!
The final part of our 73rd Goodwood Members Meeting experience was down to title sponsor IWC’s demonstration display which involved a modern Formula 1 car. Anthony Davidson was drafted in to drive the 2012 V8 car against a modern day GT car, the Mercedes-AMG GT and Jochen Mass in the massive Mercedes-Benz W190 300 SEL AMG that finished second at the 1971 Spa 24 Hours.
The result might have been inevitable, even given the 20 second intervals that the cars were released. However, the start was a little delayed as Davidson was extracted from his warmed Mercedes Formula 1 car for a photo opportunity whilst Jochen and the driver of the GT patiently waited. Both 300 SEL and GT crossed the line with Formula 1 car rapidly catching up a short while behind. It didn’t quite work out but it was pretty incredible to see a Formula 1 car out on track.
After the day’s festivities, the Saturday night ended with a party. Displays, live music, food and fireworks were included and the photos make it look spectacular. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay to experience this final part of the Members Meeting, I simply got too cold. We are told it really was special though, if you are considering it next year, it is definitely worth booking the Saturday to take advantage of the hospitality!
Overall, the 73rd Goodwood Members Meeting was quite spectacular. Being March, it was very cold (the dress code didn’t help with that particular problem!) and we were lucky with the weather (any other day it could have bucketed down). The Group C cars and Salvadori Cup were quite spectacular though as were the 911’s and McLaren F1 GTR’s!