Since the Goodwood Members’ Meeting was revived in 2014, the Chevrolet Camaro has emerged as the leading candidate if you want to win in the Gerry Marshall Trophy races, much in the same way as the mighty 7.0 litre Ford Galaxies tend to lead the way in the (Sixties) St Mary’s Trophy races at Revival.
At the 73rd Members’ Meeting last month we were honoured not only with a faithful replica of the Brut Camaro (driven in-period by Stuart Graham, who shared the pedaling duties at 73MM with owner Nigel Garrett), but also the magnificent Bastos-liveried machine you see here. Bear in mind that the next-largest motor in the Gerry Marshall Trophy races was a full 2,200cc smaller (the Rover SD1s 3,500cc versus the Chevy’s 5,700cc) and you get an impression of just how magnificent it is. Mind you, this does put into perspective just how well Mini ace Nick Swift did in his car to keep the Camaro in sight in the in-car video we shared yesterday.
Unlike the Brut car, which was recreated because the original had been long since broken up, the Bastos Camaro is the actual Group 1 touring car which bagged pole position at Spa Francorchamps in 1981 driven by Reine Wisell, Claude Bourgoignie and John Cooper. Owned by former McLaren Sales and Marketing Director David Clark (who also owns the famous Harrods-liveried McLaren F1 GTR – lucky devil), the car came home in second place behind the Brut Camaro in race one, then in the two-driver second race it spun in the hands of Mr Clark (thanks in no small to part to contact from a certain Tiff Needell in a Rover) before recovering to win in the hands of BTCC veteran Matt Neal.
We had to ask how the owner of a McLaren F1 GTR came to also possess a Chevrolet Camaro. ‘Well it was kind of by accident, really’ David Confesses. ‘I saw it in a magazine in Italy and went to look at it. It had been somewhat discarded at the back of the premises along with some other cars, but the Camaro expert I’d taken along with me was very excited and confirmed that it was the real thing.’
A deal was done and the car brought over to the UK where David was very careful about how it was restored. ‘It was very important that the car was safe and correctly prepared. But aside from that I wanted to restore it back to how it was when it raced and not go overboard with it.’
Bearing in mind that Mr Clark’s F1 GTR is road registered and driven often (he actually drove it to Goodwood for the Members’ Meeting), we were keen to ask his impression of driving the Chevy. ‘I call it “Big Red”‘ he grins. ‘It’s certainly not for the faint hearted, but it’s a great thing. I absolutely love it to bits!’ Proof, perhaps, that a car doesn’t need to be a technologically-advanced Le-Mans winner in order to be fun?
Full gallery at top of page.
Photography: Antony Fraser www.antonyfraser.com