A 'low key' affair
Back when the Goodwood Motor Circuit was known as the Goodwood Motor Course and still an active race track, it hosted Members' Meetings several times a year for the Goodwood Road Racing Club members. While these were club races, they often attracted stellar drivers and cars. In 2014, the current Lord March revived the Members' Meeting tradition with the 72nd edition. Intended to be a low key affair like in the past but Goodwood being Goodwood, this certainly was not the case with impressive races and demonstrations. This year's 75th instalment continued that tradition with a dozen races and three high-speed demonstration runs for Group 6, Group A and GT1 machinery. During the weekend tribute was also paid to the late John Surtees, who recently passed away and had made his car racing debut exactly 66 years ago at a Goodwood Members' Meeting.
We were on hand for both days and have captured all the action in this 240-shot gallery
High speed demonstrations
Whereas the Revival Meetings adhere to a strict period of racing (1948 - 1966), there are no such restrictions for the Members' Meetings, which was reflected this year by the three high speed demonstration runs. The earliest brace of these were for three-litre Group 6 cars that were campaigned between 1968 and 1982. During the first few years they raced alongside the larger engined Group 5 cars like the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 but once the homologation loophole was closed, the Group 6 cars reigned supreme. Using similar engines, these cars were in many ways two-seater, fully enclosed Formula 1 cars. To celebrate this era of howling sports cars, the Members' Meeting featured a fine selection of Cosworth DFV engined prototypes as well as a truly glorious Matra that were driven on track with great verve. Among the drivers was Alain de Cadenet, who was reunited with the unique McLaren M8C he had commissioned from McLaren and raced back in 1970. Displayed stationary in the paddock was the one-off Mirage M6 Coupe, complete with the very rare Weslake-built Ford V12 engine that was never actually raced. Although still in full running, it had only just arrived with the new owner after a lengthy spell in the United States and before running it on track a proper systems check was required.
The 1980s were represented very well by the Group A touring car demonstration runs. The evocative liveries, rumbling V8s, popping turbo engines and flared bodykits that made this era of touring car racing so loved were all present. Drivers like Roberto Ravaglia and Gerhard Berger were reunited with their old machinery to do some laps at a proper pace on both days.
Perhaps the most striking of all demonstration runs was for the GT1 cars of the mid-1990s. Like the Group A class, GT1 sprouted some truly legendary homologation specials but also featured some genuinely converted road cars. Of the latter, the most successful was undoubtedly the McLaren F1 GTR, which will most likely remain the last production-based car to have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of these no fewer than four examples were present. These were complemented by a brace of Porsche 911 GT1s, which were built as racing cars from the ground up, although the first generation did include sections of the 911 shell. The version that didn't, and instead used a purpose-built carbon-fibre monocoque won Le Mans in 1998 and that very car was part of the demonstration as well. On day two it was driven by Dario Franchitti. We were also particularly taken by the two Lotus GT1 cars, which are even rarer and certainly lesser known than the McLarens and Porsches.
Crammed into the two-day event were an impressive twelve races, including one for motorcycles. Saturday's running was concluded by a two-driver, one-hour Gerry Marshall Trophy running into the sunset for Group 1 touring cars. There was, however, no real sunset on the mostly overcast day and the race actually had to be flagged slightly early due to low clouds. With the Group 1 cars shared by the owners and star drivers, it was an evocative grid that featured Capris, Rover V8s and even a Golf GTI, paired with the likes of Roberto Ravaglia, Gerhard Berger, Jochen Mass, Tim Harvey, Tom Kristensen, Steve Soper and Emanuele Pirro. Taking an early lead was motorcycle and car racer Stuart Graham. Despite being 76-years old Graham had seemingly little trouble with muscling the mighty Camaro around the high-speed Goodwood track. Graham's efforts were thwarted by a safety car period halfway through the race and he, and co-driver Nigel Garrett had to settle for third. Ultimately taking victory was the Rover SD1 shared by BTCC racer Gordon Shedden and Chris Ward. On Sunday, a sprint race was staged for the same cars but with a reversed grid and the owners at the wheel. The result was the same, with Ward fighting his way up the order to take another win in the JD Classics entered Rover.
For the 75th Members' Meeting a fan favourite made a return; the S.F. Edge Trophy for Edwardian behemoths. Often powered by airplane derived engines, these machines were remarkably fast. Among the cars on track was the mighty Fiat S.76 'Beast of Turin', which was raced for the first time. After a close battle, victory was scored by Mathias Sielecki in the V12-engined Delage that briefly held the land speed record.
The S.F. Edge Trophy was followed by the Graham Hill Trophy for 1960s GT cars, which was a 45-minute race for two drivers. The field was particularly diverse with the familiar Cobras and E-Types joined by Elans, TVR Griffiths and even a Ginetta G10 and Cheetah. It looked like a Cobra an all-Cobra affair until Mike Jordan staged a late charge on the lead in the TVR Griffith he shared with owner Mike Whitaker. Their fine drive was rewarded with a well deserved victory.
Among the other races was the Scott Brown Trophy for Listers and the Pierpoint Cup for V8-engined saloon cars. The weekend was concluded with the Surtees Trophy, which was fittingly won by Simon Hadfield in a Lola T70.
Intended as the low key, smaller brother of the Festival of Speed and the Revival Meeting, the Members' Meeting has quickly become a major event in its own right. Lord March surely has the Midas touch for creating compelling events with all the right ingredients. All these ingredients can be found in our action-packed 240-shot gallery