A Day At Goodwood Revival 2011

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Goodwood Revival on Sunday, courtesy of Johnnie Walker. Despite having attended five fantastic Festivals of Speed I have never been to the Revival before, so I immediately accepted!

A Unique Atmosphere

The Revival is more than just a normal race meeting for historic/classic racing cars, it has those added Goodwood touches and details we all know and love from the FoS. With spectators in period clothing and the stands selling vintage items, I thought I’d ask Mum to come along to her first ‘big’ race meeting as she’s really into that side of things, regularly attending the local vintage market and so forth.

The first surprise was arriving at the gate and seeing so many of the crowd in period dress. I had expected maybe half of the attendees would do it, and then only in a half-arsed way, but it was a good 80-90% of the crowd! Later as we walked away out to the sticks towards the far end of the circuit it was more like 60-70%, still an impressive figure. It put our minds at rest that if we came back we’d certainly give it a go and not feel silly about it… well maybe only if we stopped for coffee on the motorway.

There were also a lot more ‘acts’ either in their own performance areas or just floating around the crowds at the back of the main grandstands. Dancers, bands, singers, and the Laurel & Hardy boys I’d seen before at the FoS seemed to be following us everywhere as we bumped into them several times, I seem to remember they did that at the Festival too! That’s actually a poor angle of them, in reality they do look a lot like the originals.

This all contributed to a strange crossover in atmosphere between the ‘garden party’ of the Festival, the relaxed feel of historic/classic car racing event with old road vehicles dotted around the track, yet with the attendance levels of a major race meeting. There were easily 50,000 people there by my estimation and likely a lot more.

The Races

Sunday’s card featured seven races, and we arrived in the traffic queue as the second of those got under way. Once we made it in there was an unexplained delay in on-track action, we never found out why but everything was running late by as much as an hour. This meant was had the opportunity to explore all of the above before heading trackside, stopping for a nice organic burger – though I had a hangover and had forgotten that at the Belgian GP it was sausage which was the magic hangover cure, should’ve had that! A cup of tea worked wonders.

The Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy was under way as we walked along the track away from the final corner looking for a space. Neither of us are into motorbikes though I do watch modern MotoGP, it was interesting to compare their 1960s counterparts braking very early in wet conditions.

We got near to Lavant corner and found a good viewing spot, the cars entering our sight directly opposite and heading left-to-right, before driving in an arc to pass in front from right-to-left. The St Mary’s Trophy got under way and there was a great selection of cars of all sizes, from big Ford Galaxies to little Mini Coopers via BMWs, Alfa Romeos, Jaguars and even a Mercedes-Benz 300SE.

Because of the nature of this event I make no apologies for loading this post with big photos and videos where usually I’d have several smaller. I know many don’t like that sort of thing but these are classic cars and deserve to be shown to the world, so an exception can be made here.

St Mary's Trophy (saloons/touring cars 1960-66)

The BMW (2nd in this shot) went on to a dominant win but the Galaxie (leading) and the Mini (3rd) had a race-long battle which was fantastic to watch! The Galaxie usually entered our sight ahead after using its big engine and top speed, but struggled to slow down and turn the corner in this picture, whilst the little Mini barely slowed down at all and nipped through on the inside with far better grip despite having tiny wheels – only for the Galaxie to stretch its legs again straight afterwards.

This was a great race, different types of cars with different capabilities. Touring car racing needs to get back to this and to hell with any thoughts of ‘equalisation’.

Video – St Mary’s Trophy – BMW 1800 leads Galaxie and Mini

The threatening rainclouds dispersed in time for an air display. This was no ordinary air display. This was TEN airworthy Spitfires! Okay I admit they may not all be genuinely from the war, some are rebuilds, but that’s fine if that’s what it takes to keep Spitfires flying. As luck would have it they took off right in front of us!

Spitfire Taking Off

(more Spitfires on my Picasa page)

Then it was the GT race and these were impressive beasts, noisy, tails sliding out on the damp track, fantastic. Yet they are worth tens of millions in some instances!

Video – RAC TT Celebration

Kenny Brack (Indy 500 winner) in the Shelby American Daytona Coupe  leading Martin Brundle (Le Mans winner, ex F1 driver) in the Ferrari 250 GTO owned by Nick Mason. This isn’t a great quality video but I hope it shows the cars well enough. Brack got the tail of his car wiggling under power much more than the others did theirs.

Martin Brundle, Ferrari 250 GTO

This was a good one as well, maybe not so much in the wheel-to-wheel but just the spectacle of it. Despite being slower than last week’s sportscar race at Silverstone these seemed much more impressive. We headed back towards the final corner to watch the end there and as we did so the black clouds drifted over and sure enough, the rain came down very hard.

Wet track for the GTs

The track quickly became treacherous with standing water everywhere and spray being kicked up. In the modern era they’d probably have sent out the Safety Car in such heavy rain. In this case with the race already scheduled to be shortened from 1hr down to 45min, they waved the chequered flag a further 5 minutes early. At a race for historics, particularly one which is delayed, there is no sense in continuing to risk these collectable and highly valued cars.

Another cup of tea sought, we moved location to watch the Tribute to Juan Manuel Fangio and then the short race for 1960s 1.5-litre Grand Prix cars.

The Fangio tribute featured a wide selection of his race cars from his career, in a parade behind a pace car, spanning his early days right through to his succesful Maseratis, Mercedes and so forth. Even his Indy 500 car was there, even though he’d failed to qualify for that race! It was good to see a famous name or two out there in the cars.

John Surtees, Fangio Tribute

We were stood between the last corner ‘proper’ and the makeshift chicane on the main straight. The 60s GP cars took it very gingerly on the wet track, I don’t blame them because if I were in a priceless 50-year old Lotus, Cooper or BRM I’d probably do the same. Still pretty fantastic to see the cars in action even if they were slow.

Grand Prix cars of 1961-1965

Andy Middlehurst took a dominant win by half a minute but the group behind were very close throughout. Paul, Lord Drayson – yes he whose 2010 LMP1 Le Mans car adorns the top of this very blog – finished a creditable 2nd. Ben Collins was also guesting and he was passing cars.. until he slid into the gravel.

We were running out of hours so decided to skip the final race of the day (1950s sportscar world championship) to explore the rest of the Revival.

Paddock

We spent a little while looking around the stalls. Many were the usual sort of thing you find at race meetings or at the Festival of Speed: model cars, books, £30 t-shirts, £300 Steve McQueen ‘Le Mans‘ leather jackets, etc., etc. The rest of the stands were an odd mix of vintage fashions and automotive art.

Surprise of the day? Seeing Sir Stirling Moss signing at one of the book stands surrounded by a crowd! A part of me regrets not getting the book. I like Moss a lot but I didn’t really want that particular book, but I could’ve had a book signed by Stirling Moss.. Irritatingly this was the moment my camera died and I realised the charged batteries I’d brought hadn’t actually been charged.

We ventured through the tunnel to the paddock. Unlike the Festival this paddock was roped off except to badge holders, but they did provide viewing areas around the whole perimeter of it so that was something. It was great to be there though and it looked like the podium finishers for many of the day’s races went out for another celebratory lap, as they came into parc ferme as were stood nearby. I borrowed Mum’s camera to get some up-close shots of those although I’ve not seen how they turned out.

And we (eventually) found the drivers’ club too, but no drivers, it was 5 or 6pm though and most of the racing action had stopped, little potential for seeing famous names. The good thing is that now I know the lay of the land, a future visit can be planned to ‘bump into’ certain drivers as they happen to be walking from place to place.

Oh and we checked out the Earls Court Motor Show as well, some fantastic supercars from the 1960s to today, from E-Type, GTO, Daytona to XJ220, McLarenF1 and Alfa 8C Competizione.

Sadly there wasn’t time to sample some Johnnie Walker (we got lost looking for the right bar.. and I had something of a hangover already!). They didn’t have the big tower from the Festival with the different drinks so I didn’t feel I was missing out so much. I don’t drink a lot of spririts but I’ve started exploring them in recent months so I think I may well buy a bottle as a ‘thank you’.

EDIT – I’ve been contacted by the man from JW who corrected me and said they did indeed serve a variety of drinks, and the bar featured an original Rob Walker car as well. I must say, after VivaF1 sampled some at the FoS and gave a thumbs up I would’ve quite liked to have tried it myself, it was just a shame we ran out of time. Apologies to them for jumping the gun!

In all a great day and I think I’ll be back.

Further Links

You can view my photos at Picasa and I also uploaded videos to YouTube.

Do have a look at these great photos from Lara and from Lynch. Lara also wrote a few words, as did the F1 journalist and writer Maurice Hamilton.

Motor Sport magazine has released a podcast with Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, Martin Brundle, Gerhard Berger, Eddie Cheever, Arturo Merzario, Nick Mason, Tom Kristensen, Emmanuele Pirro, Andy Priaulx, and Rauno Aaltonen. I’ve not listened yet but with a line-up like that it can’t be anything other than brilliant.

Thanks once again to Johnnie Walker for the tickets and to Jackie at VivaF1 for making it happen.

The Killer Years

I urge any fan of any branch of motorsport to watch this programme.

It will not be an easy watch, although it may be easier if you are accustomed to watching war documentaries with the detachment that brings.

It tells the story of Grand Prix racing, and racing generally, in the 1960s and 1970s and the attitudes that persisted at the time. It tells of the battle fought by Jackie Stewart and others to change the attitudes by all means necessary. The shock after Clark. And it shows the courage and bravery of these drivers to continue what they were doing as their peers were being killed off.

As Stewart says, “it was like the circuit owners were holding a pistol to our heads”.

It also tells of the immense bravery of David Purley and the stupidity and futility of those who either couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything to help Roger Williamson, and so many others through the years.

On a different note, aside from the valuable history lesson, it is also worth watching for the other period footage (most of which I had never seen before) and the contemporary interviews with ‘names’ from the time and notable racing historians such as David Tremayne.

If you are in the UK you can watch on the BBC iPlayer before Sunday by using this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00z8v18/Grand_Prix_The_Killer_Years/

If you are outside the UK or are reading this after Sunday, you can find the programme on YouTube in 4 chunks of 15 minutes: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. I urge UK residents to please use the BBC video above – it registers a viewing with the BBC and will encourage them to air more motorsport documentaries.

Like any documentary it may have a few faults, things it misses for brevity.. but it is still worth a watch.

Do watch it.

Trop de Course?

This guest post appears as part of the latest round of the VivaF1 Blog Swap, and is written by Maverick from the host site itself.

One group who currently seem to have no fear of being snowed under with Too Much Racing seems to be the French, with no sign of the return of the French Grand Prix and the motorsport industry in general, in the doldrums. That said, you could be forgiven for thinking that as long as they have 24 Heures du Mans, they’ll remain happy.

Often considered the original Grand Prix, having first run in 1906, the French Grand Prix (or Grand Prix de l’ACF as it was) missed just one season of the Formula World Championship in 1955. That was, until 2009 when the race was cancelled with organisers citing economic reasons. Since that announcement at the end of the 2008 season, the French Grand Prix has shown little sign of returning regardless of the number of proposed locations, most notably at Flins-Les Mureaux where plans for a new circuit were eventually abandoned. Despite Magny-Cours recently expressing confidence that a series of improvements would see the race return in 2012, the already crowed calendar would seem to prevent that prospect for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the longer the race remains absent from the Formula One calendar, the less it can rely on playing the “historic race” card.

It’s not only France’s international status that has fallen in to decline. In 2003 the French Formula Three series merged with its German counterpart to form the Formula Three Euroseries as entries dwindled. While the Signature and ART Grand Prix teams have produced a strong French showing in the series, its notable that the French only host a small proportion of the series and just one of this year’s nine meetings took place on French soil.

So Le Mans remains strong but the Grand Prix has gone, meanwhile the third part of French motor racing’s triumvirate, the Pau Grand Prix has become a shadow of its former self. The Pau Grand Prix, the first race to carry the title “Grand Prix” back 1901 was for a period a non-championship F1 race before becoming the jewel in the crown of Formula 2 and then F3000. However, it has gradually lost its lustre in recent years before being suspended altogether this year. It remains to be seen whether the ambitious invitational event for F3 cars planned next year can revive this grand old lady of motorsport.

It’s not only the motor racing though but the whole associated industry that appears to be in the doldrums.

French motorsport as a whole may end up as wistful as Rene Arnoux at the 2003 Goodwood FoS

While there are sparks of optimism, notably Peugeot’s Le Mans exploits while ART Grand Prix has been a force to be reckoned with in GP2 and F3, the inflexible labour market has prevented teams from being competitive with outfits from other countries. If you consider that Renault F1 is fundamentally an English team funded by the French (and now only partly so) then the last French Formula One team was Prost Grand Prix which folded at the beginning of 2002 with debts in the region of $30 million. Prior to that, AGS and Larrouse suffered similar fates while the DAMS F1 project got little further than building a chassis.

The result of that has inevitably filtered down the feeding chain in the form of a lack of support for up and coming, home-grown talent. In recent years, Romain Grosjean, Sébastien Bourdais and Franck Montagny have quickly come and gone and the last French drivers to make a substantial run in F1 were Olivier Panis and Jean Alesi whose careers came to an end in 2004 and 2001 respectively. Perhaps, the few prospects for the future are this year’s British Formula Three Champion, Jean-Eric Vergne, who tested with Toro Rosso in the recent young drivers’ test, and Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi. However, a few years ago the same would have been said about Grosjean. Unfortunately, the question is whether any of them can secure the necessary financial backing to fund their way to the top echelon of open-wheel racing in a climate of French motor sport apathy.

Still, Le Mans carries on shouldering a nation’s motoring pride (alas, Peugeot’s self destruction spoilt the party this year) and while the French Grand Prix’s absence continues, that reliance will only strengthen in the hearts and minds of the French.

Overall, it’s a sad state of affairs that the country that gave motorsport to the world finds itself in. The French created the Grand Prix and for the early decades of racing their blue cars dominated. Yet that appears to be part of the problem: A look at the racing calendar of French circuits sees classic car races predominant. In short, French motorsport gives the appearance of being content to dwell on the glories of the past with no plan for the future.

Blogger Swap Shop: The Grand Débutante

As part of the Blogger Swap Shop initiative led by VivaF1, I volunteered to act as host for a guest writer while I would go off and write an article for another blog. When the line-up was revealed I was pleased to find Leigh from The F1 & Motorsports Archive would be IWTMR’s guest blogger. Thanks to Leigh for the excellent post (which I was lucky enough to find a photo to illustrate) and also to Saltire and Maverick for the concept. No doubt when they are all posted you’ll soon find links to the entire collection of Blog Swaps on VivaF1. Over to Leigh.  – Pat

The Grand Débutante

In terms of startling Grand Prix débuts, few will ever rank as highly as Lewis Hamilton 3rd place finish at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix, not far behind race winner Kimi Raikkonen and then team mate, Fernando Alonso. However, while Hamilton’s initial steps in Formula 1 were indeed impressive, they will always fall short of the marker that one Giancarlo Baghetti set during 1961.

Discounting the first World Championship race and that year’s Indianapolis 500 (in the days when the marquee event was part of the World Championship), Baghetti is the only driver to win a Formula 1 race on his first outing. Whereas Hamilton would eventually take the world crown nineteen months later at Interlagos, Baghetti’s career faded thereafter and the Italian would eventually fall into the depths of obscurity.

Born on Christmas Day 1934 into an affluent household in Milan, Baghetti was the son and grandson of wealthy industrialists. With money not being a problem in his family, the young Giancarlo would often borrow his father’s car with the intention of running it in the famous Italian road race, the Mille Miglia, something he would finally do in 1958.
Admittedly, by this stage the Mille Miglia had been downgraded to being a street-legal rally event following a number of fatalities in previous years, yet even the event’s diminished status the speed and the talent were still clear. Baghetti would split the running of the road rally with his brother and indeed finished 2nd in the GT1300 class (7th overall), but his real influence would come from Milanese tuner and engineer, Angelo Dagrada.

Baghetti continued to run touring cars through 1959; however Dragada would soon convince him to purchase a purpose built Formula Junior car to compete. It was Dragada that had actually designed the racing machine, based around a Lancia engine and with it Baghetti secured a podium at the Coupe du Salon de Paris. From the very beginning of the 60’s, the 25-year-old would start winning.
Baghetti’s improving form would eventually see him selected to be part of FISA (Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilistiche) – a scheme that gave young drivers an opportunity to take out a loan of a Ferrari and drive in competition. Given the time and the changes in car development during the late 50’s, Baghetti was lucky enough to be seated in a rear engined Ferrari Formula 2 car, while some of the Italian marquees primary machinery was still front engined. Baghetti faced opposition to get the seat, mainly from Albino Buttichi and Lucien de Sanctis; however the 25-year-old Milanese racer was not going to let this opportunity slip away.

For a great many years, it was not unusual for drivers to compete in many events outside of the World Championship for prize money; in fact some would even compete in multiple disciplines during any given year. It was something that would decline through the years, with 1983 being the final year non-Championship Grand Prix would run; however in 1961, non-Championship races were still in full swing with an amazing twenty-one Grand Prix taking place outside of the World Championship – seven of which ran in Britain alone.
A further four of those events would be run in Italy and FISA entered Giancarlo Baghetti into the first two – the Syracuse Grand Prix and the Naples Grand Prix. Come April, the youthful Italian would finally get the opportunity to race at the top level. First though, Baghetti ran a shared Ferrari at Sebring with Willy Mairesse – the duo picked up second in a sportscar event when their respective seats were later taken over by Wolfgang von Trips and Richie Ginther.

As part of the FISA deal, Baghetti was loaned a Ferrari 246P for the Syracuse event, but despite this being a non-Championship run, the Italian faced some very stiff competition in the form of Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney, plus a whole host of other big motorsport names. Amazingly at his first attempt, Baghetti lined up 2nd on the grid, alongside Gurney and ahead of Surtees.
Once the starting flag dropped, the FISA supported man fell down seven places from the line, yet with the raw power of the Ferrari’s 1500cc Chiti engine, Baghetti took the lead ahead of Gurney of the sixth lap of 56 and stayed there, taking a popular victory ahead of the factory teams.
Baghetti’s Syracuse victory shocked many in the paddock, a feat that he repeated at Naples some weeks later; however with much of the grid competing at the Monaco Grand Prix – held on the same day, the depth of talent was somewhat lower, with only the names of Roy Salvadori and Lorenzo Bandini being somewhat recognisable.
Starting fourth, the Italian had another poor start, but pulled into the lead on lap 4 – Baghetti would go on to lap the entire field by the chequered flag, despite nearly spinning out of the race on the 53rd lap.

During the 1961 Formula season, Ferrari ran three ‘regular’ drivers (eventual Champion Phil Hill as well as Ginther and von Trips), however for the Belgian Grand Prix, the Italian squad ran a fourth car for Olivier Gendebien. However, after the race at Spa-Francorchamps, Gandebien suddenly left Ferrari, leaving the team with spare car for the upcoming French Grand Prix.
The departure of Gandebien and Baghetti’s incredible show of strength at Syracuse and Naples convinced FISA to enter him into the World Championship event. On June 18th 1961, Giancarlo Baghetti would contest the French Grand Prix at the famous Reims circuit in the powerful Ferrari 156, under the banner of the Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus.

Whereas, his first two victories were down to skill and power, Baghetti now found himself up against much tougher competition under Formula 1 rules, with Italian qualifying down in 12th while his team mates all lined up first, second and third on the grid. This would indeed be a Ferrari victory, but no one thought Baghetti would take the flag first.
As the race took place in the intense July heat, the excessive temperatures would take their tole on a number of engines as unit after unit blew itself to smithereens, including that of von Trips. Others would either stop or slow considerably as oil pressures reached tension point – something that Brabham and Ginther would fall foul of.
So hot was the summer pain, that even the tarmac began to tear up under the tortuous pressure of the Formula 1 machinery – so much so, that the third Ferrari of Hill would spin out under the breaking road, as did Surtees.

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In a slipstreaming battle with the Porsche’s of Dan Gurney’s and Jo Bonnier, Baghetti would constantly exchange the lead with his foes lap after lap, at no point bowing to pressure from his more experienced competitor. On the 53rd lap, Bonnier – beginning to experience engine difficulties – drew back from the battle, leaving Baghetti and Gurney to have at it.
The leading pair continued to swap the lead on Reims’ long straights, yet as the exited the final turn on the way to the chequered flag, it was Gurney that had the lead, but it was still not over. With one desperate final lunge down the inside of Gurney from the final corner, Baghetti had just enough momentum to pip the Porsche to the flag by 0.1 of-a-second. It was a major upset, but the grand débutante had won!!

Following this success, things quickly went downhill for Baghetti. He next competed at the British Grand Prix a month later at the fast Aintree circuit and later the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, retiring from both events. The FISA driver would set the fastest lap in the Italian race, but this – and everything else about the race – was overshadowed when von Trips collided with Clark approaching the Parabolica sending his red Ferrari careering into a full viewing area.
Von Trips would die in the tragic incident, as would fourteen spectators – a crash that would gift fellow Ferrari driver, Phil Hill the 1961 title in the most horrible of circumstances.

Before the year was out, Baghetti would take one more minor victory in the Coppa Italia at the Vallelunga circuit just north of Rome, thereby claiming the Italian Drivers’ Championship. Lorenzo Bandini was Baghetti’s main rival; however with Bandini not in attendance, it was hardly a fair fight. Even Ferrari saw little point of supplying Baghetti with a car for such a minor event, leaving FISA to borrow a Porsche to enable the Italian an opportunity to take the title.
Baghetti was moved to the works Ferrari team for the 1962 season, but with new rules in place, the red cars were nowhere. With only a 4th and 5th place finish to his credit, Baghetti left Ferrari at the end of the season to move to the uncompetitive ATS squad alongside Phil Hill. In a disastrous 1963 season, Hill finished a highest 11th with Baghetti achieving 15th on one occasion, their year being peppered with unreliability and slow machinery.
The next year saw Baghetti with Scuderia Centro Sud team, but a highest finish of 7th at the Austrian Grand Prix meant that Baghetti once again scored no points, whereas team mate Tony Maggs secured four points with top finishes at the Nordschleife (Germany) and Zeltweg Airport (Austria).

That was Giancarlo Baghetti’s final full or mostly full season in Formula 1. Between 1965 and 1967, the Italian would routinely show up for his homeland’s race at Monza and a couple of non-Championship events at Syracuse and di Pergusa. Later, Baghetti would drive a number of touring car events for FIAT Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Porsche before disappearing completely from limelight.
His final race was the 1968 Formula 2 Lottery Grand Prix at Monza in a Ferrari Dino 166, but with a batch of new young stars coming through the ranks, Baghetti found himself comfortably outpaced and ended the event in the midst of a huge multi car accident while running in 6th spot. Baghetti chose then to retire from motorsports – alive – at the ripe old age of 33.

With his racing career now firmly behind him, Baghetti became a photographer for Playboy magazine, before starting a weekly magazine called Auto Oggi.

In 1995, just one month shy of his 61st birthday, Giancarlo Baghetti died from cancer.