The third running of the Goodwood Members’ Meeting will be a stellar start to the 2016 historic season. By Paul Lawrence
his weekend’s 74th Members’ Meeting has the event’s best entry since being revived in 2014 as Goodwood took up its planning permission to run an additional two-day event.
Unlike its big brother, the Revival in September, the Members’ Meeting is a more intimate affair, with a capped attendance to ensure a relaxed atmosphere in the style of the 71 Members’ Meetings run until the circuit first closed for racing in the middle of the 1966 season.
Despite the early date and smaller overall feel, this is an event that is big on content and the weekend is packaged to the usual impeccable Goodwood standard. For the fans, easy access to the paddock and uncrowded spectator areas make it a wonderful start to the season. Given the probability of cool weather, it’s a perfect chance to walk the circuit and enjoy the ever-changing views from expansive spectator banks.
Without some of the theatre of the Revival, this is a weekend centred on the 12-race programme and three spectacular high-speed demonstration sessions. Saturday is largely given over to qualifying, but takes in two races and wraps up with one of the absolute highlights.
A field of 29 Ford GT40S will repeat the race held at the 2013 Revival as a star-studded grid races into the dusk of Saturday evening for the Alan Mann Trophy. The entry has a total value of many tens of millions of pounds, making this one of the world’s most exclusive one-make contests.
The driver line-up matches the class of the evocative mid-1960s sports-racing cars and top of the pack is Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack, who shared Adrian Newey’s car to victory over the Shaun Lynn/emanuele Pirro car in 2013. Brack will partner Christian Glasel this time as Lynn/pirro return and drivers like Martin Stretton, Frank Stippler, Simon Hadfield, Tim Harvey, Rob Huff, Gary Pearson, Steve Soper and Chris Ward pack out the entry.
Back in 2013 Mike Jordan scored one of his proudest career moments by putting Philip Walker’s car on pole at the expense of Brack and Andy Wallace. This time around he is partnered by son Andrew, winner of the Porsche 911 race a year ago, and they will make a formidable pairing despite Andrew’s lack of race experience in the GT40.
Another real crowd favourite is the Gerry Marshall Trophy race for Group 1 touring cars of the 1970s and early 1980s. Another fantastic entry will deliver two memorable races, with a 15-minute sprint on Sunday and a 45-minute twodriver contest on Sunday. The creation of this race for the 2014 event has prompted a glorious revival for the Chevy Camaros, Ford Capris, Rovers and Triumph Dolomites of the period.
Victory last year went to the thundering Camaro of David Clark and Matt Neal, but a repeat win will be a tall order against some fierce opposition. Also in the Camaro camp are Stuart Graham/nigel Garrett and father and son Grahame and Olly Bryant, but the pairing of Gordon Shedden and Chris Ward in a Rover SD1 from the JD Classics squad could set the bar even higher.
In a field peppered with stars, notables include Stippler, Mike Jordan, Huff, Mike Wilds, Soper and Jochen Mass in Capris, Jason Plato and Andrew Jordan in Mini 1275 GTS, and the amazing pairing of Gerhard Berger and Pirro in a BMW 530i. If it is wet, watch the Nick Swift/andy Jordan Mini slay most, if not all, of the giants.
New to the race line-up for Goodwood, and bringing the oldest grid ever seen in Sussex, is the SF Edge Trophy for Edwardian Cars and the entry is truly remarkable, ranging from the diminutive GN Wasp hillclimb car of Winston Teague to huge aero-engined monsters. Top of the pack should be Mark Walker’s 1905 Darracq 200hp, which is driven with a captivating mix of talent, bravado and gusto.
Three high-speed demonstration sessions should prove popular and the sight and sound of around 30 grand prix cars from the ground effect era of the late 1970s and early 1980s will be nothing short of sensational. With drivers of the calibre of Bobby Verdon-roe, Rob Hall, James Hanson, Michael Lyons and Nick Padmore on track the pace will be hot and Padmore’s year-old Lola T70 outright circuit record could take an unofficial hammering.
In all, 15 manufacturers will be represented and the design genius of Colin Chapman, the first person to fully exploit air flow underneath the car, will be marked by nine Lotuses, ranging from the 78 of 1977 to the 91 from 1982. Chapman’s son Clive will drive perhaps the boldest of all ground effect cars, the twin-chassis 88B.
If the weather plays ball, it really will be an outstanding weekend of historic motorsport and the perfect way to shake off the winter by enjoying fabulous cars and top flight drivers attacking the fast sweeps of Goodwood. ■