“Maybe there needs to be a li­cence sys­tem”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

is­toric rac­ing events at Good­wood are among the high­lights of the UK rac­ing sea­son. I have been a fan since at­tend­ing the first Re­vival meet­ing in 1998, but last week­end’s Mem­bers’ Meet­ing was wor­ry­ing – and could have been dis­as­trous.

The num­ber of safety car in­ter­rup­tions dis­rupted the event more than usual. That hap­pens at all lev­els of the sport some­times, but the speed and con­fines of Good­wood means the po­ten­tial for it is higher. And the two se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents high­lighted a grow­ing con­cern among some about the in­creas­ing speeds there.

Win­ning at Good­wood has now be­come a big tar­get for many. More young or semipro­fes­sional driv­ers are com­ing in to this branch of the sport, as are some top teams and en­gi­neers. They are more will­ing to push the lim­its – not just on-track, but tech­ni­cally as well.

In 1999, Martin Brun­dle – a re­cently re­tired ex-f1 racer and Le Mans win­ner – qual­i­fied on pole for the RAC TT Cel­e­bra­tion with a 1m27s. Last week­end, James Cot­ting­ham – a good his­toric racer but not a vet­eran of 158 GPS – dipped un­der the 1m24s bar­rier in the equiv­a­lent race.

Sim­i­larly, in 1999 there was a race for early three-litre F1 cars. Ge­off Farmer’s Lotus 49 set a new lap record in the 1m19s, but the race was full of in­ci­dent and was not re­peated. Now, how­ever, the best Can-am cars are lap­ping two sec­onds faster. Nick Pad­more’s Lola T70 qual­i­fied on pole for the Bruce Mclaren Tro­phy last week­end at 1m17.079s, or 111mph. At a track with lit­tle run-off and un­for­giv­ing banks.

It’s not just the pace of the cars, ei­ther. Good­wood’s ap­peal means some driv­ers find them­selves in ma­chin­ery much faster than they are used to. As one top his­toric racer said to me af­ter the Sun­day ac­ci­dents: “The cars are so well-de­vel­oped they are so much faster than they were in the day. Good­wood wants it to be the way it was, but the cars and driv­ers are not.”

So what to do? Clearly none of us want to see rac­ing at Good­wood end, surely a risk should a re­peat of Sun­day hap­pen with worse con­se­quences – a car in the pedes­trian tun­nel at the Re­vival in the middle of the day would surely re­sult in se­ri­ous in­juries.

The afore­men­tioned his­toric racer sug­gested more run-off at Wood­cote and mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the an­gle of the bank at the kink, but many agree more could be done.

A per­for­mance cap could be im­ple­mented, pre­vent­ing cars from get­ting faster and faster – this is sup­posed to be his­toric rac­ing af­ter all. And how about dif­fer­ent lev­els of rac­ing li­cence? Per­haps a su­per­li­cence for the very quick­est of his­torics would help raise the av­er­age stan­dard.

Such a move would need the sup­port of all ASNS, and would up­set some of the wealthy owner-driv­ers, but surely some re­stric­tions are prefer­able to no more Good­wood rac­ing at all.

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