‘I went to the iconic Revival for the first time last year, and I instantly fell in love,’ says retail entrepreneur, Theo Paphitis. ‘My business partner, the former F1 driver Mark Blundell, and friend Kerry Michael were racing in the St Mary’s Trophy in a Ford Zodiac and I was mocking them because they were struggling to get to the front. Impressively they finished 3rd and teased afterwards that they’d get me an entry next year if I thought it was easy. To which I replied I’d do it – as long as they put up a huge sum for charity.
‘A few days later, I got the email telling me I’d been entered. I’d never raced before! My classic car collection includes a Jaguar E-Type and an XK150, an Austin Healey 3000, a Maybach and a Willys Jeep, but if you were to ask me what I drive everyday, I’d say my pimped Land Rover 110 Defender.
‘So in March, I gained my racing licence at Brands Hatch and bought Potty, my 1960 Ford Anglia 105e that I’ll be racing at the Revival. My mate Jonathan Palmer also let me go for my first drive round the track at his circuit in Bedford with Mark, who refused to get in a car with me again!
‘Another colleague, Kieran Clarke, has put his life at risk to teach me. Miraculously, we finished six races in eight weeks but it’s been touch and go. I competed in two races at Oulton Park and was pleased to finish 7th overall in the first but Potty broke down for the second. I had engine trouble racing at Brands Hatch the following weekend but I managed to limp along, crossing the finishing line just as it exploded.
‘Hopefully that won’t happen at Goodwood. My teammate [FIA World Endurance Championship driver] Mike Conway, is also making his Revival debut and we’ll be going up against Mark and Kerry who made me do this in the first place. I’m hugely competitive in everything I do – but my aim is to stay alive and to finish respectfully. Above all, I’m going to use this wager with the boys to support Comic Relief, of which I’m a director. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity to race in the Revival. Mrs P, of course, thinks I’m barking.’