The 74th Goodwood Members Meeting took place this weekend in Chichester, UK. The Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival events have been world renowned in recent years, the Members Meeting is an Spring-time addition to the calendar. It is the third time the Goodwood event has run the event and the second time we have experienced it.
Regular readers will recall the huge collection of McLaren F1 GTR’s at last year’s event. The organisers didn’t seek to replicate that feat this year; instead we got displays from Super Touring icons, ground-effect F1 cars and a staggering collection of Group 5 cars!
The Goodwood Members Meeting is a revival forged from the memory of the historic BARC Members’ Meetings which took place in the 1950’s to 60’s. It was originally billed as an invitation-only weekend for Goodwood’s dedicated Road and Racing Club Members. Over the past two events though, spare tickets have been made available for the general public to purchase. This year’s event seemed busier than last year.
In style, the Goodwood Members Meeting is broadly similar to the Goodwood Revival. The focus of the Members Meeting takes it beyond the limited scope of the Revival though, introducing more modern machinery. From what we’ve seen though, the close-fought racing is mostly limited to Revival mainstay, likely due to safety concerns!
One exception is the Gerry Marshall Trophy a race for Group 1 touring cars of the type that raced up to 1982. We saw these cars take to the track twice for practice and the first heat of racing. The setup is that of a two-part, two-driver race with Rover SD1’s, Ford Capri’s and Chevrolet Camaro’s doing battle with BMW 530i’s, Triumph Dolomite Sprint’s and Mini 1275 GT’s. It is an exciting proposition.
Next up were the Ford GT40’s taking part in the Alan Mann Trophy. Alan Mann ran Ford’s factory racing programmes during the 1960’s and enjoyed much success. The cars in this series are all pre-1966 cars using 4.7 litre V8 engines rather than the 7.0 litre V8’s fitting to the MkII GT40’s. Steve Soper eventually took the trophy in the number 41 car during a thrilling hour-long twilight race.
One of our favourite events was the SF Edge Trophy for Edwardian racing specials of a type that raced up to 1923. The trophy was named after Australian racer Selwyn Francis Edge who was heavily involved in Napier and AC Cars among others during the period. The race this morning was won by Duncan Pittaway in the 1921 GN Vitesse. He beat off competition from incredible aero-engined racers!
One of the displays this year saw the big-budget, hi-tech Super Touring cars of the 1990’s gather for a track demonstration. A unique aspect of the Members Meeting is the ability to get up close an personal with the cars. A grid walk allowed us to take a closer look at the cars before the high-speed demonstrations got underway.
The grid included the controversial Alfa Romeo 155, Audi A4 Quattro, BMW 320i, Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Nissan Primera, Peugeot 406, Renault Laguna (the most successful Super Touring car), Vauxhall Cavalier and Vectra and Volvo S40. Each car conforms to the 2 litre Touring Car Formula with four doors and a mid-size layout.
The second of three demonstrations involved the revolutionary Ground Effect Formula 1 cars of late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Ground Effects were used to great success. The principal was first pioneered in prototype racing during the 1960’s by Chaparral cars.
The idea originates from Bernoulli’s principle which states that as the speed of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. The idea being that the closer the car is to the ground, the faster the air accelerates beneath, the less the pressure beneath the car. This has a dramatic effect for downforce and drag.
The cars in this category ran in two heats and included the Alfa Romeo 179, Arrows A5, Brabham BT49, Ensign N180, Ferrari 312T5, Fittipaldi F8, Ligier JS17, Lotus 79, March 811, McLaren MP4/1, Osella FA1, Tyrrell 010, Williams FW07 and Wolf WR7.
The final demonstration included Group 5 sports cars; the Porsche 917, the Ferrari 512 and the British-built Lola T70 Mk3B. Group 5 cars ran between 1970 and 1971 featuring 5.0 litre V8 powerplants. Although for all intents and purposes the above mentioned vehicles (particularly the Porsche and Ferrari) were actually production cars with the regulations requiring a 25 car production run.
To see these cars travelling around a circuit, piloted by period racers including Derek Bell, David Piper and Richard Attwood, was simply incredible. The grid included nine Porsche 917’s and five Ferrari 512’s.
Once the racing was finished on track, the party began! The infield is transformed with stages for live music, dancers, bands and singers.