Considering the current level of excitement in the Classic Driver office, we wouldn't have thought anyone could be anticipating the imminent 74th Members’ Meeting more highly. Then we spoke with the event’s patriarch, Lord March. Talking to us from Goodwood House, he told us “the circuit is looking wonderful in the Spring sunshine, and the cars are beginning to arrive as we speak. I’m very excited at the prospect of our first bike race at the Members’ Meeting – it should look and sound fantastic.
“Both Mika Hakkinen and Jochen Mass will be out on track in the sensational W196 Silver Arrows Grand Prix cars on Saturday, thanks to our event timekeeper IWC Schaffhausen and Mercedes. So much to look forward to, then, with some close racing as well as demonstration laps with ground-effect F1 cars, Group 5 sports cars and Super Touring cars. And… the weather forecast is for both days to be dry. I am really looking forward to it, and I hope you all have a wonderful time.” But before it all begins, let’s take a more detailed look at this weekend’s key spectacles.
By far our most highly anticipated non-competitive track action of the whole weekend is the Group 5 demonstration, which will gather eight Porsche 917s, six Ferrari 512s and a quartet of Lola-Chevrolet T70s. Drivers include period pilots Richard Attwood and David Piper, as well as former Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason – the latter is set to make legendary music with a very different band of merry men.
Bikes join the party
As the good Lord mentioned, 2016 will mark the first time in 74 occurrences that motorcycles will take to the storied Goodwood Circuit at a Members’ Meeting. Taking advantage of the wider chronological entry window (the Revival is restricted to pre-’66 machinery), the Hailwood Trophy grid will be populated by grand prix motorcycles of the ’70s and early ’80s. One (in our opinion, excellent) stipulation is that they all must run in period livery.
50 years of the Ford GT40
Goodwood certainly knows how to celebrate anniversaries in style. The grid in the Alan Mann trophy will be entirely made up of pre-1966 Ford GT40s, with no fewer than 29 cars lining up. Yes, that’s right, a single race with twenty-nine Ford GT40s all battling for supremacy, including the roadster prototype and several cars that will wear the iconic red-and-gold Alan Mann Racing livery. One of these will be piloted by Alan’s son, Henry. That’s romance for you, Goodwood style.
Big bangers, assemble
If you like your motorsport of the paint-trading variety, then you won’t want to miss the Gerry Marshall Trophy for pre-1982 Group 1 Touring cars. Divided into a sprint race on Saturday followed by a two-driver main event on Sunday, the field will comprise tin-tops driven by the likes of Steve Soper, Tim Harvey and Gordon Shedden. Keep an eye on the UFO Jeans BMW 530i, which boasts an elite driving pairing of Gerhard Berger and Emanuele Pirro. The action in the 1990s BTCC Super Touring Car demonstration should be a little more sedate – or so the organisers hope.
Your chance to drive a Cobra at Goodwood…
Yes, if things sound too good to be true, they usually are. Obviously, you won’t be able to hustle a 500bhp Cobra round the track, but you will have the opportunity to sample a scaled-down version in the mini-Cobra time trial. And if you think you’re too cool to drive a child’s car in your tweed suit, then just look at how much fun three Goodwood house captains had during a pre-event ‘test session’.
We always wonder how Lord March’s team will be able to better the event year-on-year, and that applies to the parties, too. The last few Members’ Meetings gave us fireworks, live bands, fire-breathers, and cross-dressing nuns riding mobile pianos. What could possibly be in store this coming Saturday night?
Photos: Rémi Dargegen, Steve Hall and Peter Aylward for Classic Driver