I don’t know how Lord March manages to organise superb weather for his motoring events, but clearly his connection with the Almighty is such that this morning he could request the clearest sky to be visible from the VW California motorhome I was sharing with Andrew Frankel.
At 8.30am this morning the circuit and paddocks were, for any motorsport fan, a truly wonderful place to be. The sun peeking through the crisp cold and a line of high air-box F1 cars lurking under those distinctive shelters.
We were out early in the Gerry Marshall trophy in the Rover SD1. Chris Ward went out first in the 25-minute session and immediately was one of the quickest cars on track. But he came in after four laps with a vibration. JD Classics’ mechanics checked the car over and I went out for my first ever laps in the brilliant sounding Rover. The vibration was still there at high speed, but sometimes you just feel immediately comfortable in a car – so rather than risk anything I did just two laps and then wandered back into the pits.
Even Chris’s exploratory lap with the mechanical issue left us in 7th. An hour later the boys had identified a small issue with the crownwheel and fixed it.
Meantime I was over at the Porsche enclosure getting ready to have a go in Howard Donald’s 911. I’d never driven it in anger before, nor tried it on Michelin M-section rubber. This was just a 15-minute session to decide tomorrow’s grid.
It was an absolute hoot. The car was immediately very easy to slide and control. Brakes were strong and I was wearing a very large grin inside my crash helmet. There were some very potent cars at the pointy-end, but we finished up 9th and I think if we can tweak a little mis-fire between 6-7000rpm then we should be able to climb a few places tomorrow.
Howard looked remarkably relaxed after watching me at some severe angles in his beautiful 911.
Later this afternoon was the first of the Gerry Marshall races – a 15-minute sprint to decide the grid for tomorrow’s one-hour, two-driver race. Chris Ward started in 7th, was fourth by the first corner and then put on a genuinely crowd-pleasing performance. He dealt with Nick Swift’s crazy fast Mini and then put a move on the Bastos Camaro Camaro through No Name that had owner Derek Hood unable to watch!
He was catching the lead Camaro at a rate that suggested he was on for the win, but the driveline vibration was back and worse that before, so with just a few minutes remaining he had to retire.
We’ll fix it and be back out tomorrow.
Today I spoke to Jochen Mass and Nick Mason and the incredibly affable and bright Anthony Davidson about his first ever proper lap of Goodwood. In a V8 Mercedes F1 car.
It’s a smaller and more personal event than the Revival. Quite different in feel, and just as special.
Can’t wait to be back tomorrow (even after enjoying tonight’s party and firework spectacular). If you’re not already at Goodwood too, you can watch all the race action here on the GRR website – including my races. Check it out, it’s awesome!