Quite how a day of not driving racing cars can be enjoyable is beyond me, but last Thursday the Goodwood Motor Racing circuit echoed to the silence of the ex-Richard Longman Rover SD1. Circuit clerk of the course Ian Stevens didn’t even need to bother reaching for the sound meter – the 3.5-litre V8’s side-pipe sent the track-side microphone near the chicane into a flat-spin – and we were half way down the pits!
‘You can’t run that today,’ was Ian’s headmasterly summary. And he wasn’t wrong. The thing is crazy loud – no silencing and a single V8 engorged drainpipe exiting just behind the drivers’ bottom.
It might also be the coolest tin-top of the modern-era. Owned by JD Classics, it ran at last years’ Members’ Meeting, winning the 2014 race. Like all touring cars, the interior is the most perfect blend of pared-back racer and homologation-justifying production trim. How many other racers can boast a rotting avocado dashboard and matching Alcantara door trim?
The V8 sits crazy low in the chassis and offers a claimed 295hp. I used to go to school in an SD1, and the six-year old me thought it was a land-yacht, but of course such is the incessant girth increase of the modern motor-car, it now feels like a 3-Series.
Unable to drive the beast, we just spent ages poring over it, and recalling some of the still un-publishable stories of Tom Walkinshaw’s time running these awesome machines. Please enjoy some of the photos we took. And please, please cheer for it come 21/22 March 2015, because fingers-crossed I’ll be racing it!
We’ll be fitting some exhaust silencing before the test day…
Photography: Nicole Hains