Regular Goodwood attendees would have been starved of all the glorious action in 2020 that this venue has to offer, as the Members’ Meeting, Festival and Revival were all cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But the Goodwood team have really done themselves proud with the newly created SpeedWeek, held over the weekend of 16-18 October. They have taken all the great elements of both the Festival and Revival, and rolled these into one great spectacle.
It was weird for sure not to have any spectators at Goodwood, as the only folk milling about the paddock and surrounds were the marshals and stewards, drivers with wives and/or girlfriends, crew and media. But a new trend has developed in recent days, because with everyone wearing a mask, you can no longer tell when a friend or colleague is greeting you with a smile. What has now become the standard alternative to the acknowledging smile, is the nod. So folks, get used to it, for as long as face masks rule, the smile is out and the nod is in!!
All three days over the weekend were dry which allowed some really great racing. Activities started on Wednesday for the teams who needed to set up and get their cars ready, while Thursday was given over to admin sign-on and some media laps for Goodwood’s partners. Track action really only started on Friday with practice and some races.
There were a couple of new model reveals (Bentley and Mustang Mach-E) and for the younger viewers there was the Goodwood Driftkhana which generated a smokescreen that any military commander would have been proud of. On the modern car front, there was the interesting ‘shoot out’ in which a select group of cars from a range of disciplines (Formula 1, sports prototypes, GTs) completed a timed lap from a standing start. The Formula 1 car was obviously quickest, but there were some surprises in it for those who thought they knew it all.
‘Porsche at Le Mans’
Of course there were the usual race classes that we have come to expect from Goodwood, but once again, the quality and variety of cars on offer was spectacular. Of special interest to Porsche enthusiasts, there was the spectacular ‘Porsche at Le Mans’ demonstration run on Friday and Sunday.
This demo run featured some iconic Porsche race cars that have won the Le Mans 24 Hours over the five decades since their first victory. At the top of the list was the 1970 Le Mans-winning #23 Porsche 917K, driven by none other than Richard Attwood, one of those who piloted the Salzburg-liveried 917 to victory on that memorable day. In the ensuing years, the Stuttgart manufacturer has eclipsed all other race car manufacturers with 18 further victories, the most recent being in 2017 with the 919 Hybrid.
Porsche is justifiably proud of this record, and on track were some more of those race winning cars, plus others representative of those models that were victorious, including a 935 K3, the Le Mans-winning 936, 956, 962, the 1997 Le Mans-winning WSC-95 with the winning driver that year Tom Kristensen at the wheel. Also in the demo run was a ’58 718 RSK, a 910, a ’74 911 RSR 3.0, the race-winning 1998 911 GT1-98 and the victorious 2015 919 Hybrid.
TWR Jaguar demonstration run
One of Porsche’s major competitors in Group C was Jaguar, and the TWR Jaguars in particular were very strong. The Goodwood team assembled a really impressive pride of these cats which also thrilled the TV and online viewers.
A talented driver in his own right, Tom Walkinshaw’s greatest successes came as a team boss. One of his high points was the Jaguar sports car programme in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, which started back in 1982 by entering an XJS into the ETCC, and finished with two Le Mans wins in 1988 and ‘90. Thirty years on from his final Le Mans win, Goodwood once again celebrated success of these great sports prototypes.
BMW Motorsport demonstration run
Taking to the track in another demonstration run was a bevy of Bavarian beauties. The #15 BMW V12 LMR (1999 Le Mans winner) led a small but quality group of BMWs around the circuit, which included the 1975 #55 BMW 3.0 CSL Jägermeister ‘Batmobile’, 1939 BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe and the 1983 Brabham-BMW BT52 Formula One car.
Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy
The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy was held at Goodwood seven times between 1958 and 1964. Graham Hill would win two of them, while Moss would emerge victorious in four. The ‘new’ RAC TT at Goodwood is the centrepiece of the normal Revival race weekend, and it was just as popular at the SpeedWeek.
While the big hitters up front consisted of Lister-Jaguar, TVR Griffith, Cobras, Bizzarrini and E-type Jaguars, there was a brace of four Porsche 904 GTS sports cars in the mix. The 2-litre 4-cylinder Porsches were outclassed in this group, but the racing was nevertheless scintillating.
This race consisted of a frantic 20-minute sprint for unlimited sports prototypes similar to those that raced up to 1966. The cars in the Whitsun Trophy are the quickest to race at Goodwood, with some of them reaching speeds in excess of 170 mph down the Lavant Straight. The V8 sports prototypes, the first examples of rear-engined endurance machines, are like those that competed at the circuit in the Whitsun Trophy in the final few years before its closure in 1966.
There were only two Porsches participating in the Whitsun Trophy, both 2-litre 6-cylinder 910s from the late ‘60s. These two are regular competitors at Goodwood, but unfortunately the #20 car had a clutch problem in the race and didn’t finish. But still, it was great watching the two of them during the morning practice session.
Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy
Formerly known as the Kinrara Trophy, this is certainly one of the most glamorous grids on the Revival race programme, and has now been renamed in honour of the late, great Sir Stirling Moss. This event is a one-hour, two-driver race for closed cockpit GT cars of a type that raced up to 1963. To reflect the earlier RAC TTs, some smaller capacity cars like the TVR, Elites and MGB joined the E-type and SWB stalwarts. Like the Kinrara, the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy will race into dusk.
Although this smart 356 practiced and is listed in the grid, it did not participate in the race itself. When the crew took the car down to the pre-race paddock all was well, they reversed the car into position as normal then slipped the gear lever into neutral whereupon it went all floppy. It was initially hoped that it might just be a pin securing the linkage from the lever to the gearbox, but it turned out that the gear selector (‘hockey stick’) had broken inside the gearbox, and that couldn’t be repaired in time – game over!
St Mary’s Trophy
A 20-minute race for saloon cars similar to those that raced between 1960 and 1966. The second part of the St Mary’s Trophy is when the owners get a chance to race. The St Mary’s Trophy result is an aggregate one, though, so finishing positions in both races are equally as important, and everything comes down to this race.
This is a crowd favourite (when we have crowds that is) as the mighty Ford Galaxies have a race-long duel with the likes of those pesky Lotus Cortinas and Mini Coopers. It is just awe-inspiring to see how the Cortinas keep up with the huge 7-litre Galaxies, which don’t just have big engines, they are really big cars!
The #99 Galaxie had problems in the late afternoon on Saturday while leading the #92 Galaxie. The two cars were almost inseparable throughout the 20-minute Part 1 of the St. Mary’s Trophy race, right up until the final few laps that is, when smoke started coming from the rear of the #99 Galaxie. The problem apparently was the oil cooler which gave up the battle to keep the 7-litre monster’s oil cool in the heat of the battle. Part 2 of the race on Sunday saw the #99 car starting from the back of the field as it had failed to finish the race on Saturday, and a mighty drive saw it crossing the line in third place when the chequered flag came down.
But Sunday’s race was a two-way tussle between the #92 Galaxie and the #32 Studebaker Lark driven by Adrian Willmott. For three-quarters of the race it was the Galaxie which led the field but in the closing stages the Studebaker got past and pulled out a useful gap on the Galaxie, to win. There are basically three double-apex corners at Goodwood (Madgwick, Lavant and Woodcote), and it beggars belief at how fast the swarm of Mini Coopers were able to hold station with the bigger cars, including the Lotus Cortinas. The Minis would all negotiate the double-apex bends sideways, the whole way, and this is where they made up lost ground for their lack of top speed. The spectacle was just awesome!!
The First Glance paddock was a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the future, and the Goodwood team were able to squeeze in an appealing collection of new model reveals.
On track, the Mustang Mach-E gave the marshals something to worry about when it left the track at St. Mary’s and took to the grass on the infield. The driver did well to hold onto it and straighten it up while the Mustang bucked like a real bronco in a rodeo show. A lot of mud and grass was thrown onto the track which brought out the red flag while the clearing up was done.
Hopefully the 2021 season will see the world returning to some form of normality, and we can once again enjoy a full year of motor racing. But 2020 is what it is, and we have all just had to knuckle down and get on with life as best we could. The Goodwood team are to be congratulated not only for their bravery in hosting the newly formed SpeedWeek, but also for arranging such a big event at such short notice…Bravo!!
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale