Nine raucous onboards from the RAC TT Celebration

11th September 2020
Seán Ward

The RAC TT Celebration is a Revival favourite. For the fans lining the Motor Circuit’s perimeter fencing it’s a loud, sideways spectacle, and for the drivers it’s often considered ‘the big one’.

To go well in the RAC TT Celebration you need to be comfortable with power and a rear axle that wants to swap places with the front, particularly in the unruly V8 Cobras. With that in mind we thought it would be fun to scour YouTube in search of the finest RAC TT Celebration onboards. What we’ve found, we’ll hope you’ll agree, are some epic, noisy and very sideways onboards, the oldest from 2012 and the most recent from 2018. Take a deep breath – these are good…

Chris Harris – Lister Jaguar Coupe, 2013

We’ll start with the car of Members’ Meeting House Captain Anthony Reid and former GRR writer and now TopGear presenter Chris Harris. Starting fourth on the grid in a Lister-Jaguar Coupe (and having wondered if the car would even make it to the grid after an oil pump failure on Saturday), Harris managed to get into the lead by the half-way mark before handing over to Reid as the rain began to fall. It was the rain that proved their undoing, and the undoing of many other cars on the grid. In the end it was the Aston Martin Project 212 of Simon Hadfield and Wolfgang Freidrich that took the win.

Reid and Harris might not have won, but the onboard footage from the first half of the race, with Harris chasing down the lead Cobra of David Hart and Tom Coronel, is absolutely epic. The noise is superb and the car’s high-speed balance there for all to see.

Andrew Smith – AC Cobra, 2015

Think RAC TT Celebration, think AC Cobras and Jaguar E-types. There are lots of other jaw-dropping cars in the race, that’s for sure, but there’s often a Cobra or an E-type somewhere near the front, if not leading the pack. This onboard is from the battle for the lead in the 2015, between Andrew Smith in the 1964 Cobra and Chris Ward in the 1963 E-type. Within the first few seconds it becomes apparent the E-type is slightly better under braking, but the Cobra being a Cobra, its V8 engine compensates for a lack of stopping power. Oversteer through Fordwater at more than 100mph? A race for the brave.

Chris Ward – Jaguar E-type, 2015

A different video but the same cars. This clip ends where the last video kicked off, with Ward chancing it round the outside of Smith into Woodcote. But what this video shows is the hard work Ward put in in the preceding laps, making his way past two other Cobras before attaching himself to the rear bumper of Smith in first position. What’s staggering here is just how good that E-type appears to be. With such fierce opposition, both from the cars and the drivers, Ward seemingly pulls away from those behind and gains on those in front with every corner. Just watch that gap to the lead shrink…

Andy Newall – Ferrari 250 GTO, 2015

What’s that? Oh, it’s just a Ferrari 250 GTO, an example of the most expensive car in the world, being driven flat-out. Everything about this video is wonderful. The noise is electrifying, the wheelwork from Frank Stippler on point, and would you just look at that Ferrari open-gated manual? With its 3.0-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine the 250 GTO of Stippler and owner Andy Newall bagged second position in qualifying, 0.036 seconds behind a Jaguar E-type. Sadly the race didn’t go entirely to plan, however, with the duo coming home in 14th position at the end of the hour-long race. Still, what a car, and what an engine.

Martin Stretton – AC Cobra, 2018

It should come as no surprise Martin Stretton is a rather handy driver. A winner and podium finisher at a number of races at the Revival, he’s as happy in a Cortina as he is in a Formula 1 car or an AC Cobra. It’s his skill in a beastly Cobra we can see here, in a qualifying lap of Goodwood Motor Circuit in 2018 rather than the race itself. At the wheel of Karsten Le Blanc’s 1963 Cobra (formerly painted silver but rebuilt and repainted after a serious shunt at the 74th Members’ Meeting), Stretton is really, really flying. What makes this video even more fun is that the audio quality is superb, and there’s VBOX data for us to enjoy as well.

Shaun Lynn – Jaguar E-type, 2012

This might not be the fastest onboard here but the noise is stupendous and it gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to be slightly further down the field with not much to lose (apart from an E-type, obviously) and everything to gain. At the wheel is the owner Shaun Lynn, a regular at the Revival, who in 2012 teamed up with another Revival hero Ludovic Lindsay (Lindsay won the very first race, the Woodcote Cup, at the very first Goodwood Revival in 1998). Having started in 11th the duo made it up to fourth position by the chequered flag – not too bad, don’t you think? Scrap not too bad – that’s a mighty performance in such a hard fought race.

Hans Hugenholtz – Ferrari 250 SWB Drogo, 2012

Yes, this video might start with a view of someone’s nose turning the camera on, but even so we think it’s worth it. This is the Ferrari 250 SWB Drogo, a SWB with bodywork courtesy of Piero Drogo. The driver is Hans Hugenholtz, a man who loves his classic cars and loves to race them hard even more. If you’re wondering what we mean by ‘racing hard’, just watch the race start. Bogging down slightly off the line, Hugenholtz simply dumps the clutch to get the wheels spinning again. This is nearly half an hour of V12 bliss.

Gordon Shedden – Jaguar E-type, 2015

Gordon Shedden, three-time British Touring Car Championship champion and no stranger to the Goodwood Motor Circuit, is one fast Scotsman. Driving an E-type with Chris Ward, Shedden drove his tartan socks off to take the 2015 RAC TT Celebration win. In celebration he decided to give it a little send into Woodcote on the cool down lap, but sadly it didn’t quite work out the way he, or the crowd, hoped. There was no long celebratory drift, instead a brief moment of glorious oversteer followed by a spin. Oh Gordon. Thank you for trying.

Ludovic Lindsay – AC Cobra, 2013

We didn’t get a chance to ride onboard with Ludovic Lindsay in the 250 SWB Drogo, but don’t worry, we’ve got a mighty fine view of his quick hands in this clip from the 2013 Revival. The car? ‘The Hairy Canary’, and it doesn’t take too long for you to realise why it carries that nickname. AC Cobras, as we’ve written many times before, are more often than not quite a handful, and this one clearly lives up to that reputation. How anyone manages to keep their heart rate below 1,000 beats per minute driving something that clearly wants you to be very, very far away from the track we do not know. Still, what a spectacle.

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