PORSCHES AT GOODWOOD
This year sees the seventieth birthdays of both Porsche and the Goodwood Motor Circuit, so what better time to look back at some of the marqueʼs early appearances at this historic race track?
Robert Barrie’s definitive tale of Porsches racing at the famous UK circuit
At this year ʼs Goodwood Festival of Speed, to celebrate 70 years as a creator of the finest sports cars, Porsche is taking centre stage. But 2018 also marks 70 years of the nearby Goodwood race circuit itself, a track steeped in racing history, and in latter years host to the famous Revival and reborn Membersʼ Meeting.
The links between Goodwood and Porsche go back many, many years, as we shall see. As is so often the case, itʼs a tale of what was and what might have been. Oh, and Stirling Mossʼs name crops up a few times, too.
Initially, Porscheʼs sales in the UK were limited, as were overseas entries in race meetings at Goodwood, so it was inevitably a few years before a Porsche was seen at the circuit, located close to the town of Chichester on Englandʼs south coast, which had officially opened in September 1948.
Records show that the first to appear was Willi Buschmann and P W S Popeʼs left-hand drive 356 in the Nine Hour race in August 1953. The car finished seventeenth – and last – of the classified finishers. Motor Sport reported, reasonably enough, that it lacked speed, but it did at least keep going. Other reports suggest it tangled with a front-running Jaguar at one point – a surviving photograph shows the Porsche in the throes of a spin…
W H Bledsoe is recorded as having run another Porsche at the subsequent Membersʼ Meeting and another left-hand drive 356, wearing German licence plates, took part in a speed trial at the circuit in October 1954.
Dick Steed then ran a Uk-registered right-hand drive 356 at a Membersʼ Meeting in June 1955. The first factory entry followed in the Nine Hour race that same year. Stirling Moss and Huschke von Hanstein, Porscheʼs press and racing chief, shared a 550 Spyder, but retired while in the class lead after collecting another car. Moss fluffed the Le Mans-type start for
“LINKS BETWEEN PORSCHE AND GOODWOOD GO BACK MANY YEARS…”
once, but appears to have been at his exuberant best thereafter. In the words of Motor Sport again, he drove the car ʻwith great skill, holding oversteer slides, flinging it about as he negotiated the traffic, and continually waving an arm and blowing the horn at slower cars.ʼ Stirring stuff.
Wolfgang Seidel and Dick Steed had a steadier run to tenth overall in the former ʼs 550 Spyder prototype. The race was won by Aston Martin, giving them a hat-trick of victories in the three Nine Hours races.
For Porsche, the next couple of seasons saw further entries from Steed, who seems to have had a road traffic accident in his race car during one event, as well as others such as Steven Wilder, who entered a Uk-registered 356 under the Scuderia Portia banner, and later ran a 550 Spyder as a daily driver in New York.
Len Potter ran another 356, possibly a Carrera. Jack Burke and F W Seldon appeared in a couple more UKregistered 356s – the latter is pictured pointing the wrong way at Lavant having spun Denis Jenkinsonʼs 356.
Christian Goethals ran a 550A in the Chichester Cup at Easter in 1957. He is pictured in a four-wheel drift at Woodcote, in front of what later became the Super Shell building, in Robert Barker ʼs Motor Racing at Goodwood.
In 1958, the Tourist Trophy, a truly international event and a round of the Sports Car World Championship, came to Goodwood. The factory entered a 718 RSK Spyder, in which Jean Behra and Edgar Barth were fourth, and a 550A Spyder, in which Carel De Beaufort and Christian Heins finished eighth. More positively, the cars were first and second in class and the familiar pattern of high overall placings and mid-capacity class wins was once again repeated. The race itself was won by Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks in an Aston Martin DBR1.
A year later, Porsche sent three cars to the 1959 TT. It was a six-hour race for full points with a strong entry and, for Porsche, a case of ʻnearly but not quiteʼ. Wolfgang von Trips and Jo Bonnier finished second, a lap down on the winner, having led the race at half distance. Barth and Umberto Maglioli were twelfth. Both pairings were in updated 718 RSK Spyders. Again, they were first and second in class. A third car, the Hans Herrmann and Chris Bristow 718 RSK, failed to finish.
Moss won the race once again in an Aston Martin DBR1, having jumped into the Shelby and Fairman entry when his own car went up in flames in the pits. The Porsche Spyders were helped by lower fuel consumption and tyre wear than the other front-runners, but hindered by having bolt-on wheels, which made for slow pits stops. The 1959 TT was the last for open sports cars before the format switched to closed GTS in 1960.
As a result of this, out went the Spyders and back came the 356 and its derivatives. Five such cars took to the grid in a three-hour TT in August 1960. In the meantime, Moss was second to Innes Irelandʼs Lotus 18 driving a Rob Walker-
entered and liveried Porsche 718/2 in the Lavant Cup for F2 cars at Easter. It was a rare period appearance, and the best placing, at the circuit by one of Porscheʼs single-seaters.
Back to the 1960 TT and Graham Hill finished fourth in a factory-entered 356 Carrera Abarth GTL, the car ʼs lightweight bodywork having been damaged shortly after the start. Jo Bonnier was eleventh in a factory-entered standard-bodied Carrera and Gerhard Koch sixteenth in another factoryentered Abarth.
Hill took the class win while Fritz Hahnl was fifteenth in a standard-bodied Carrera. Goodwood and Porsche stalwart Dickie Stoop was eighteenth in the first of his right-hand drive 356B Carreras – a red car with the registration YOU 4. Moss took the first of two wins in Rob Walker-entered Ferrari 250 GT SWBS – legend has it that he listened to the radio commentary while racing although in reality the noise in the cockpit must have made that rather difficult!
The following season, 1961, saw entries from racers such as Albert Gay and Robin Benson in 356s, before another five cars lined up for that year ʼs TT. This time, Hill, in the same factory-entered Abarth he had driven the previous year was sixth. Hahnl, in another Abarth, was tenth and Koch twelfth in a similar car.
Keith Greene, in the Gilby Engineering 356B Carrera was seventeenth, but Hill and Hahnl finished the race first and second in class. On the other hand, Herbert Linge in the other factory-entered Abarth failed to finish due to gearbox failure. Dickieʼs 356 was on the entry list again, but did not start. Moss won in the second Rob Walker-entered 250 GT SWB. In hindsight, the 1961 TT was, perhaps, the high-water mark for Porsche participation. The following season, Seidel ran a somewhat outdated 718/2 in the Lavant Cup and Glover Trophy F1 races at Easter. The first of those was restricted to fourcylinder cars and the second was the race in which Moss had his dreadful career-ending crash. Both Stoop and Benson continued to race 356 Carreras at less high profile meetings and races.
The factory was absent from the 1962 TT, but the race featured Ben Pon and Koch in a couple of privateer Abarths. It was won by Innes Ireland in a Ferrari 250 GTO and is also remembered for an expensive collision involving Jim Clarkʼs Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato and John Surteesʼs 250 GTO. Benson later added a 250 SWB to the mix for good measure! (Editor ʼs note: one dreads to think of the combined value of these cars today, and the cost to repair them!)
In 1963, the TT was run from a conventional grid, rather than a Le Mans-type start. Dickie Stoop entered in the second of his 356 Carreras – a silver 2.0-litre Carrera 2 with the
“IT WAS A RARE APPEARANCE, AND THE BEST PLACING…”
registration 5 HOT, finishing 12th overall and second in class. The race was won by Graham Hill in a Ferrari 250 GTO, with Mike Parkes second in a similar car.
The following year saw the debut of the 904. John Whitmore raced the special order Borneo green SMARTentered (Stirling Moss Automobile Racing Team – set up following Mossʼs enforced retirement as a result of his accident) car at the Easter Meeting – finishing sixth overall and third in class. Robert Barker ʼs excellent A Record of Motor Racing at Goodwood suggests Trevor Taylor did so at the subsequent Whitsun meeting, but other sources are less sure. In any event, the car was damaged in testing around this time and disappeared for a while.
The redoubtable Dickie Stoop entered his Afn-supplied Irish Green 904 – now carrying the plate YOU 4 – in a 2.0- litre support race at the Tourist Trophy Meeting later in 1964. A chance for Porsche to score a long-awaited first win at the circuit? Not quite, yet again. Stoop finished second with Mike Deʼudy third and John Morris further down the order, each driving 904s. Mike Spence won the race in a Lotus Elan. Deʼudy and Morris appeared again in their 904s in 1965, Deʼudy in the Sussex Trophy race, but Goodwood was by now winding down. The circuit finally closed to racing in 1966. The last race was a five-lap handicap won by a double-agent called – inevitably – Dickie.
More surprisingly, perhaps, it also closed without having seen an outright Porsche victory – and without the new 911 having raced there. Those omissions were belatedly addressed in the Aldington Trophy, almost fifty years later at the reinstated Membersʼ Meeting in 2015. CP
“IT CLOSED WITHOUT… THE NEW 911 HAVING RACED THERE”
Below: Dickie Stoop collecting his 904GTS at AFN in 1964. The car subsequently raced at the Tourist Trophy meeting (AFN Archives)
Above right: De Beaufort/ Heins 550A Spyder raced at the 1958 Tourist Trophy and was sold at Bonhams Scottsdale January 2018 (Bonhams)
Above left: Christian Goethalʼs 550A Spyder, Easter Meeting 1957 (John Ross)
Below left: The Buschmann and Pope 356 spinning in the 1953 Nine Hour Race. This was the first Porsche to compete at Goodwood (Ferret Fotographics)
Left: The Von Trips/bonnier 718 RSK Spyder pauses for breath in the pits alongside the works support van at the 1959 Tourist Trophy (Ferret Fotographics)
Below right: The 718 RSK Spyders of Barth/maglioli (background) and Herrmann/bristow at the 1959 Tourist Trophy (Ferret Fotographics)
Above: Dick Steedʼs RHD 356 Pre-a in a glorious fourwheel drift at the Membersʼ Meeting held in June 1955 (Ferret Fotographics)
Left: Dickie Stoop slides his 356B Carrera GT in the 1963 Tourist Trophy (The GP Library) Right: The Behra/barth 718 RSK Spyder at full flight in the 1958 Tourist Trophy (Ferret Fotographics)
Above: Stirling Moss looking typically relaxed at speed in the 550 Spyder he shared with Huschke von Hanstein in the 1955 Nine Hour (Keith Duerden Collection)
Far left, top and bottom: Behra/barth 718 RSK Spyder, 1958 Tourist Trophy (Porsche Archiv)
Left: Graham Hillʼs 356 Carrera Abarth in the paddock at the 1960 Tourist Trophy with the Jo Bonnier 356 Carrera GT behind (Porsche Archiv)