Most track days at Goodwood take place purely for fun. There may sometimes be an agenda – testing for Revival, for instance – but at the very heart of what goes on here is undiluted enjoyment. But the Mission Motorsport invitational track day taking place today has a very serious point.
Mission Motorsport is the charity set up to help wounded ex-servicemen and women recover and retrain, and days like this are very important in their physical and mental recovery. Re-engagement in civilian life is a very important part of that process. ‘You can’t underestimate the effect days like these can have,’ says Major James Cameron, Mission Motorsport CEO. ‘They can be transformational.’
He cites the example of a servicewoman who had become very withdrawn and reclusive; this event last year was the catalyst that saw her re-engage and kickstart her recovery.
There are 50 cars taking recovering soldiers on track today, and another 10 or so doing runs on the local roads. There’s great variety, too. Cars are divided into pre-war, ’50s, ’60s, supercars groups, plus a special group. ‘They come for the Ferraris and Aston Martins,’ says James, ‘but they go away raving about the older cars – which they’d never usually come into contact with.’
“You can’t underestimate the effect days like these can have,” says Major James Cameron, Mission Motorsport CEO
This is only the second year the event has run, and it has grown tremendously already. Funding from sponsor Investec has helped. The timing is ideal, too; with the setting almost ready for Revival, Goodwood looks at its best.
Cars and drivers are by invitation, and the people are just as important as the machinery. Injured soldiers have the chance to meet a broad cross-section of people, including heads of companies who provide job opportunities. It works both ways; the ex-servicemen have seen things and been places that we could never imagine.
Journalist Chris Harris has borrowed a Porsche 911 Turbo S for the day. ‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet people who have done some incredible things, and doing it while at 140mph through Fordwater surrounded by everything from a Type 35 to a 599 to a Radical. I can’t think of a charity I’d rather support – I think we all feel a bit unworthy on a day like this.’
So while the cars may be the fun element of what Mission Motorsport’s activities, there’s a lot more to a day like this than meets the eye. To find out more about what the charity does, visit the website here.