GRR

This Jag MKVII is the biggest Goliath of all

21st November 2017
Ethan Jupp

The thing about historic motor racing versus modern contemporary disciplines is that you’re crafting a tribute to the original series’. Formula 1 features a grid full of spindly and ever-more fiddly-looking single-seaters producing ostensibly identical noises that are by-and-large only distinguishable by their liveries.

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A classic “saloon car” race like the St Mary’s Trophy at Revival features everything from the delightfully diminutive Minis to the leviathan of a thing you’ve likely already scrolled down to peruse the pictures of.

First of all, no, we aren’t seriously comparing modern F1 to the Revival tin-top staple – it is merely an exercise in perspective. Secondly, to that end, it’s worth noting that the Jaguar MKVII of JD Classics was not the biggest heaviest car to grace its grid. If you’ve seen the animated kids flick “Antz” with the huge lumbering humans seen from the perspective of the insects, you’ll be able to empathise to some degree with Nick Swift in his Minis when he has the likes of Tom Kristensen in the Ford Thunderbird heaving around, making our big Jag’ look a little weedy.

Nevertheless, the idea of such a big stately thing tackling the Motor Circuit in anger intrigued us. To what logic do we owe the pleasure of this unorthodox entry in the St Mary’s? With the much-adored 3.4-litre Jaguar straight six on muscle duty, is it really all that out of place getting crossed-up out of Woodcote? We spoke to JD’s hotfoot driver and workshop manager, Chris Ward, about what makes the MKVII a compelling Revival racer.

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What’s the history of this MKVII? Where did it race and how did it do?

The car was originally registered in July 1951 and used by Jaguar General Manager Arthur Whitaker. LHP 5 is the only known surviving car of the three Jaguar Works cars entered for the Daily Express International Trophy at Silverstone in 1954. Driven by Tony Rolt, LHP 5 finished in second place behind Ian Appleyard and in front of the third-placed MKVII of Stirling Moss.

Gulp. This smartly tailored suit really has earned its stripes. Gross prior assumptions quashed, what’s the car been doing in recent years?

More recently the car has competed in the 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Mille Miglias driven by Derek Hood. LHP 5 competed at Goodwood in the St Mary’s Trophy in 2012 driven by Derek Hood and Andy Wallace and in 2014 Driven by Derek Hood and Amanda Stretton.

So it’s a favourite of the boss and has some Le Mans-winner seat time to its credit. What about the future? 

We will continue to race and campaign LHP 5 in the Millie Miglia for foreseeable future.

Why this for the St Mary’s?

LHP 5 is a regular choice for the selection committee of the Revival. It is not your typical race car, but adds to the variety and spectacle of the St Mary’s Trophy and goes extremely well for such a big car.

What’s it like to drive? 

The MKVII is a very underrated car. Most people see the car as a big tank, which from the outside it appears so but once behind the wheel the car is nimble, responsive and great fun to drive 

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So we are in agreement that the MKVII is a slightly unorthodox thing to have heaving its way around Goodwood. In the end, it did prove to be somewhat outclassed, experiencing mechanical gremlins in Part 1 on Saturday with Nicolas Minassian at the wheel and finished 22nd (three places ahead of its soaking qualifying position of 25th) in Part 2 with boss Hood at the controls.

Nevertheless, the logic of its inclusion is we think perfectly summed up by Chris. It’s all about the spectacle and the wild cards that, while fitting the remit for the races, throw the odds up in the air and can on the right day conjure up these quintessential David v Goliath tussles for which racing at Goodwood has become so beloved. It might not have been the Jag’s year at Revival 2017  that was an honour for a different Jag but far from being out of place, the big Jag is representative of what makes all this tick.

Photgraphy by Bobby Peters, Drew Gibson, Jochen Van Cauwenberge and Toby Adamson

  • Jaguar

  • MKVII

  • chris ward

  • JD Classics

  • Revival

  • Revival 2017

  • st mary's trophy

  • 2017

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