A household name in motorsport, Franchitti hasn’t been seen on a competitive grid since his crash during the Grand Prix of Houston in 2013. However, after just under six years, the Scotsman has finally been medically cleared to get back behind the wheel, and he has chosen the Revival to make his comeback.
Despite his forced hiatus, motorsport hasn’t been absent from Franchitti’s life, with the 46-year-old commentating on Formula E and acting as patron for the new Jim Clark museum in Duns, Scotland, as well as driving in demonstrations at Goodwood.
And at the 2019 Goodwood Revival the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner will contest both the Kinrara Trophy in a Ferrari 250 SWB and the RAC Tourist Trophy Celebration race at the wheel of one of the most historic AC Cobras in existence.
Built at AC’s Thames Ditton factory in 1963, registration 39 PH featured a Carroll Shelby-built engine and a large, streamlined aluminium hardtop to improve aerodynamics. It was entered into that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in a factory team managed by none other than Stirling Moss, and piloted by drivers Ninian Sanderson and Peter Bolton to an creditable seventh place, covering 2,592 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of more than 108mph.
Often referred to as the greatest European ex-works Cobra, 39 PH then joined the Willment Racing stable, becoming one of the fastest GT cars seen in Britain throughout the 1960s.
Still wearing the red and white striped Willment livery, it now belongs to renowned GT and historic racer Gregor Fisken, who will join Franchitti in the two-driver RAC TT Celebration.
Also on the grid in the star-studded race will be nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and five-time Le Mans champ Emmanuele Pirro.
Franchitti is a Goodwood regular, and only last month hosted the Jackie Stewart moment at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard.
“I’m delighted to be returning to competition at this year’s Goodwood Revival,” said Franchitti of his return. “I really thought my racing days were behind me but it is tough to give up something that has been a part of my life for so long and that I love so much. Of course, this won’t mean a return to front line competition (so no Indy 500 or Le Mans), but simply enjoying the sport I love as an amateur.”