Few people have the chance to get behind the steering-wheel of a racing car. Even fewer are able to compete at the highest level of Historic Racing, let alone at the Goodwood Revival, behind the wood-rim of a D-type Jaguar. This DVD gives the viewer the chance to experience what it’s really like at 150mph wheel to wheel, right on the limit, in the Sussex Trophy.
Win Percy will be well-known to most as a highly-experienced long-distance racing driver whose main efforts were for Tom Walkinshaw driving XJS Jaguars and Group C Jaguar prototypes in the 80s and 90s. At Le Mans in 1987, Win became famous for his 40ft-high flight at the ‘kink’ of the Mulsanne that resulted in the car turning over and sliding for 600mts before finally coming to stop, a mere tub with engine, suspension and bodywork torn off in the accident. The victim of a tyre blow-out that destroyed the rear bodywork and wing (thus losing downforce), Percy walked away from the wreck unscathed, despite having his helmet worn down to the lining when sliding down the road.
This story, and many others, is told as part of a new DVD produced by the owners of the 1955 long-nose D-type Jaguar XKD505, entitled ‘Sideways in a D-type!’ The film starts with original 1950s’ footage, including a lap of the original circuit (open to the public and complete with obligatory wandering Frenchman on bicyclette…) by Mike Hawthorn equipped with in-car cine camera and microphone. Hugely enjoyable, and then followed by a 10-minute interview with Norman Dewis (Jaguar’s test driver and occasional racer of the time), and an in-depth talk with Win Percy conducted by Naomi Webb, joint-owner of the car.
Cut to the main feature of the film - the in-car race footage from the Sussex Trophy at the 2002 Goodwood Revival. Regular enthusiasts may know that this was the second of Tony Dron’s three wins in this event driving the 1960 Ferrari 246S, but for the vast majority of the race Win Percy leads in the D-type and each lap is replayed from the cockpit with sections of external TV footage spliced in. From the time Win starts the warm-up lap and confesses to nerves before the flag drops, to the final-lap chequer, you are kept on the edge of your seat as the Dorset driver strives to keep the sliding car, its tyres gone after 4 laps, on the super-fast Sussex circuit. Back-markers are despatched easily, until one fails to see the big green car coming (Win has misunderstood the headlamp switches and believes the lights to be on) and he is forced to take to the grass approaching St Mary’s. Using only 6,100/6,200 rpm maximum where lesser mortals would be revving the valves off the motor, Percy maintains his lead “just lifting off for Fordwater (147mph!) - you can’t take it flat in a ‘D’” with the charging Ferrari slowly reeling him in. Great respect is paid to Dron and when the inevitable happens with only a couple of laps to go, he tries valiantly to regain ground but the lighter Dino is in better shape and second is settled for.
Not produced by a top-level film company, this DVD is nevertheless a superb example of race-driving at its finest. One can imagine Hawthorn, Hamilton and Moss circulating at much the same sort of speed in the ‘50s. Tony Dron, the other protagonist, rates it highly, in fact he's "Never seen anything of its kind that's so exciting". Win Percy has not been well recently and the net proceeds of the DVD and video sales will go to help him. Ever-friendly to Classic Driver over the years at race-meetings throughout Europe, we are pleased to publicise this film for Win and wish him all the very best in the future.
The film is available in DVD or Video, in various formats, at £18.95/US$33.95 plus the appropriate postage and packing. Please visit the website www.xkd505.com or CLICK HERE to go direct to the order page. Make sure your DVD or Video is compatible first!
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