Today I’m at the 72nd Goodwood Members’ Meeting, being held at a genuinely glorious Goodwood. Sunshine and an unbelievable selection of cars: doesn’t get much better.
The event is Lord March’s gift to Goodwood Road Racing Club members. When the revival finally received planning permission back in the late 90s, Goodwood was given five racing days a year – and for two decades, the Goodwood Revival in September has only used three.
The 72nd Members’ Meeting uses the remaining two – and is largely an event by invite only, reserved to GRRC members.
Following a briefing by Lord March, first practice is underway… here, I’ll try to live blog images of the must-sees throughout the day, newest at the top. Enjoy!
So that was the first 72nd Goodwood Members’ Meeting. And I defy you to find anyone who didn’t think it was brilliant. Even after all the Revivals and Festivals of Speed I’ve been to, this one is sitting firmly on top of the pile. It was fantastic. I can say I was there, and that already makes me proud.
Lord March was open when I spoke to him earlier: the plan was to keep it simple. Keep the numbers in check. Don’t step on the toes of Festival or Revival, but complement them in a sustainable way. There’s been genius at work: this event does all that with aplomb. “You’ve done it again,” said a top magazine editor to Lord March as we spoke. Spot on.
If today was practice, and socialising, and everyone getting a feel for a new event, tomorrow is the day for racing. There’s no end of them. Now everyone’s settled down into the spirit of #72MM, I can assure you it’s going to be a corker.
Keep an eye on the live stream from Goodwood #72MM HQ…
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What’s been one of the nicest discoveries of the 72nd Goodwood Members’ Meeting? The ease of access: numbers are, by their nature, kept in check because of the GRRC-only rule (plus a few select specially invited guests). It’s like the Festival of Speed used to be 20 years ago – 15,000 a day instead of 50,000 – and is likely to remain that way because, again, of the tickets rule.
Makes me quite fancy joining the waiting list to become a GRRC member, really. That’s how much fun today’s event has been. 18 months and counting…
So that was some 1980s F1 cars. Thoughts? Of course, they’re not in full race mode, so revs are a lot lower. Is this why they’re not as raw as some may have expected? The Le Mans low-drag cars were brutal, absolutely vicious, and the Matra V12 was other worldly.
These, although nice, weren’t comparable. Impressive, certainly – they’re old F1 cars, so of course they’re going to wow – but not the aural cacophony you may expect from something that personified how things were done back then. Nice V6 turbos, moody four-cylinder turbos… but the sort of thing you’ll record and listen back to through headphones? No.
Which makes me wonder why there wasn’t a fuss comparable to today back then…
Have a little listen for yourself.
The 80s turbo F1 cars are coming up soon. Looking forward to hearing them.
Wonder if the Benetton-BMW B186 is in 1,350hp guise..?
Sir Stirling Moss, the legend. Happy to sit on his pop-up stool and sign autographs, to the delight of an in-awe crowd. I hear one wowed fan as he walks away: “He’s a nice bloke, isn’t he?”. He certainly is. One of the greatest, in so many ways.
The Metro 6R4: how does it sound? Fantastic…
Lunch earlier, in the Great Hall. This is normally the Earls Court Motor Show building: for this weekend, it’s a Harry Potter-style school dining hall. We sat on benches, eating stew. There were signs warning us that fagging is against the rules. But we were allowed to drink beer and as that was the only counter without a queue, many were quite happily doing so.
Long-tail sports car demonstration. The one that the Aston Martin Nimrod, V12 Matra, Porsche 917 LH and Jaguar XJR9s were running in. Naturally it was epic (not least because it had TWO Ferrari F40 pace cars), but it was also funny – because the Matra sounded SO much more wonderful than the themselves-sonorous other cars.
It sort of went ‘blare-blare-blare-SCREAMING HOWLING HARMONIOUS WAIL-blare-blare’. Close your eyes, said the commentators: you’ll know which one the Matra is. Oh yes…
Just back from interviewing Lord March in the Goodwood control tower. I was understandably daunted: I needn’t have been. He’s an interviewer’s dream and utterly charming.
We were interrupted as we spoke, by a smart Italian gent and his glamorous wife. He’s clearly having a wonderful time and was eager to tell Lord March so – who was exceedingly respectful and courteous. As they walked out, he sat back down and whispered to me: “Big Italian collector…”. And another Members’ Meeting convert.
A quick Group B walkabout.
The Group B demonstration run was amazing. These monstrous cars are living, breathing rocketships and look way beyond cool. 1980s design that’s ageing like vintage port, not black ash furniture. They all sound different too, from the blare of the Ford RS 200, to the creamy drowl of the fascinating Citroen BX 4TC to the lovely hissing howl of the Metro 6R4. Julian Rendell, you were right on that.
@richardaucock Heard that 6R4 on warm up run near GW house yesterday. Sounds very like V6 in new F1 car, minus the electric whining bits.
— Julian Rendell (@jrendell) March 29, 2014
11.55am Lucky enough to stand next to the 1972 Le Mans-winning Matra V12 as they warmed it up. Believe me, that engine sounds utterly incredible, even in the pits. On the track, it’s going to be epic: it’s out just before 2pm and I’m clearing the decks to stand as close as possible trackside to see that. Remind me what I’ve been saying about how modern F1 sounds again..? 11.40am It was under the covers all morning: a rather special Le Mans Porsche, we were told. I came back a little earlier and caught it. They were right. It’s only a Porsche 917 LH! Twitter pal Alan Bradley has more on it…
I’m interviewing Lord March later. What would you like me to ask? Let me know via the comments below – or tweet me on @editorial_mr – and I’ll try to slot it in. 1025am Lots of chat this year about the new F1 turbo engines. Was there a similar sort of fuss when they first came round in the late 70s and early 80s? It seems not, F1 journalist Maurice Hamilton told me last night.
Today, I have chance to find out what they were like: on both days, there’s a demonstration of 1980s F1 turbo cars, and the line-up is amazing: McLaren-TAG MP2, Ferrari 126, Renault RE30, Williams-Honda FW10, Benetton-BMW B186… I can’t wait. I’ll try to get a bit of audio so you can have a listen yourself…
Just back from a walk around the GRRC members’ car park. It is as exclusive as you’d imagine. 1927 Bugatti Type 37? Check. Ferrari 599 GTO? Check. Ferrari Enzo? Check. Talbot Solara? Check. Yes, it’s as eclectic as you’d image too. Here’s a teaser…
Which other race meeting has a McLaren P1 as a course car?
This is the view from outside the press room. Concentrating is hard.