The suave lines of the Blu Olondaise 2600 Sprint surely add sophistication to any racing paddock, although you might expect to see it in the role of stylish drivers’ road car express parked out the back, rather than with numbers stuck on the sides.
Tony Murray has owned this Alfa for six years, and bought it precisely so he could race in the Goodwood Revival – something he was invited to do in 2011. In fact, the car had appeared at the Revival three times previously, with the last of those races in 2001 featuring the late, great, Will Hoy at the wheel. It’s believed this was Hoy’s last full racing start before his untimely death.
‘It’s a mid-field car,’ he says. ‘It’s too heavy for anything more but it’s very popular with the crowds.’ Although not the obvious choice for a competition car, the Alfa has its strengths: ‘It’s good away from rest, and has good top speed, and I can drift it through the corners. Plus it sounds glorious – we have triple Webers and a six-one open exhaust, which is very loud. I’m not sure we’re using that one this weekend! We’ve had a few problems like oil surge, but I love it. I like the unusual. It’s expensive compared with other options out there, but I love the ambience.’
That’s a sentiment shared by Simon Hooper, who prepared the car for Tony. ‘It had a full strip down and rebuild in 2014, including paint,” he added. ‘It’s my favourite car to work on – I feel emotionally attached to it. It’s been painful at times – but what car isn’t? It’s an unusual car, with a lot of character – not the fastest on the grid, but hopefully we’ll have a really good tussle in the race with something like the Volvo Amazon. I’m lucky enough to get paid for doing what I love.’
Photography by Chris McEvoy