Nick Sleep arrived at the 74th Members’ Meeting test day this week with two cars – one he will race in the Graham Hill Trophy over the 19-20 March weekend, the other he will take on a rather larger adventure…
Nick’s racer is a 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350, complete with Bobby Rahal signed bodywork after the three-times Indy champion drove the Ford in the Spa 6-Hours a few years ago.
The car started life in Texas as the plaything of an ex-Vietnam fighter pilot who raced it in Dallas and later used it as his road car.
‘You wouldn’t want to drive it on the roads today,’ Nick told us. ‘But as a racing car it makes my heart sing. I get told off for saying this, but it’s like a big MGB [Nick also races an MGB]. It’s very safe and comfortable.’
It is successful too in the hands of Nick and his group of friends who share the car. Their best results so far came last year, including being top Mustang in the Spa 6-Hours.
The Goodwood test day was its first outing since a race at Portimao last autumn. How did it go? ‘It feels fantastic, there are no issues with the car and we are looking forward to taking on all those Cobras and the Bizzarrini at Members’ Meeting!’
And the other car Nick brought to MM test day? That’s his current road car, a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Pagoda in endurance rallying spec that he is bedding-in before it is shipped out to Beijing for the start of this year’s Paris-Peking Rally. The car is already a veteran of the Round the World in 80 Days rally of 2000.
Nick Sleep is sharing the car on the five-week driving adventure with his 19-year-old daughter – hence the slogan on the door: ‘Always a Sleep at the wheel’.
We wish them well…
Photography by Tom Shaxson and Bob Murray