Take That star Howard Donald owns the beautiful early Porsche 911 racing car you see here – and yes, he’s understandably very attached to it.
“You have to be ready for a few bumps and scratches, but I am hoping my car isn’t going to end up on its roof…” Howard Donald
Howard is at Goodwood for our Members’ Meeting test day, but instead of donning overalls and helmet he’s bravely thrown the keys to GRR’s own contributor Chris Harris. Why? Because Harris is scheduled to race Howard’s pride and joy in the Members’ Meeting race (that’s the Aldington Trophy) dedicated to similar examples of the German marque… and no, we didn’t have to twist the musician’s arm to hand over the keys!
‘I jumped at the chance to have Chris race my car,’ reckons Howard. ‘I’ve watched a lot of his videos, and he always gives a good honest opinion of what he’s driving so it will be interesting to hear what he thinks!’
As a relative newcomer to historic motorsport, Howard uses the Porsche a lot for track days (he always drives it to and from events himself, and so far has Goodwood, Brands Hatch, Donington and Spa under his belt), but doesn’t yet have a race licence.
‘Band commitments mean it’s really difficult to find time,’ he says, ‘but if I get a couple of years when I’m not doing so much I’m really going to take it all on.’
Howard was first bitten by the classics bug around eight years ago when he acquired a 1970 Mercedes 280 SE. ‘I wasn’t really into Porsche then,’ he told us, ‘but I saw a 356 racing at the Le Mans Classic a few years ago and thought I’ll have a bit of that.’ His 356 purchase was followed by the 911 on the advice of (noted Porsche specialist) Lee Maxted-Page. ‘Lee reckoned it would be the perfect track car and that I’d have a lot of fun in it, and he was absolutely right,’ says Howard. ‘It’s a very honest car, and I love driving it.’
Other machines in the musician’s stable include Ford Escort Escort Mexico, a ’67 Mustang Fastback and a ’95 Porsche 911 GT2.
‘They’re all very usable, as I can’t be doing with cars that are just stuck in the garage. Although, when I can’t drive them, I’ll happily sit down with a cup of tea and just look at them!’
Hopefully when Howard’s here at Members’ Meeting in March, Chris’s exploits in his precious Porsche won’t require anything stronger. ‘Of course you have to be ready for a few bumps and scratches if you’re going to get involved in racing,’ says Howard with a grin, ‘but I am hoping my car isn’t going to end up on its roof…’
Look out for a video here on GRR soon!