Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Random Thoughts On The 2014 Goodwood Revival

The live video stream on the internet was entertaining and well-directed and produced.  Here's a link to The Chicane Blog's posting of video highlights (09/15/14 post):


It was great fun to watch the suspensions working on Formula 1 cars from the 1950's.  Nose-dive under braking, squat on acceleration, roll in the corners, jumps over bumps.  Who knew that F-1 cars did that?  It was fun to watch Scarabs set the pace.  Apparently the restored Scarab F-1 cars run on alcohol, which their Offy engines were designed for.  This is exactly the reverse of their miserable performance in 1960, when the team couldn't get them to run properly on gasoline.

It was fun to see Jaguar Mark I sedans and Cobras counter-steered before apexes, as their drivers tossed them into corners.  The Brits race vintage cars harder than we do in the States.  Like American clubs, they have a No Contact rule.  But racing incidents are apparently dealt with after the flag falls. The racing was clean but hard, and "mistakes were made," as the passive form of the expression goes.

Jackie Stewart was the Honored Driver this year, and there was a parade of race cars he'd driven, led by him in his Tyrrell F-1 machine.  Jackie and Stirling Moss had some pictures taken together at the end of the parade.  John Surtees was on the grid with them, in the background, and I wish they'd invited him into the pictures too.  Moss and Stewart were pioneers in self-promotion, which is partly why their reputations remain evergreen.  And props to Stewart for using his reputation to promote racing safety. But Surtees was a better racing engineer than either and has more championships than both together, if you count motorcycles.  He deserves the honorific "Sir" in front of his name too.

This year the Jaguar D-Type was the Honored Car and there was a race for D-Types only, with a full field.  Stirling Moss did a Lap of Honor in a D-Type, and his wife Susie hovered over him like the National Treasure he is.  Moss will be 85 years old this week.  It was a fine thing to see him do a demo lap, even if Susie had to help him get out of the car.

In the race for GT cars 1960-1964, Derek Hill and the owner of a Maserati Tipo 151 came 2nd, behind a very fast FIA Cobra (after a late-race DNF by another one).  I was glad for Derek, who deserved a longer and better career pro racing career than he had.  I had completely forgotten about the Maserati Tipo 151, if I noticed it at all back then.  And it was a kind of Promoter's Option at Goodwood.  The Tipo 151 ran in the Experimental Class at LeMans in 1962, along with the Ferrari 330 TRI/LM's that beat it and several others.  This class had formerly been Sports Racing and soon would be Prototype.  So the Tipo 151 was not a GT like the Cobras, XK-E's, GTO's and SWB's.

Above: the Tipo 151 at the 2013 Goodwood Revival.  If the race number is the same as it was at LeMans in 1962, this
is the Bill Kimberly/Dr. Dick Thompson car, which was retired after an accident in 1962.  The other two Tipo 151's
also retired: the Walt Hansgen/Bruce McLaren car with engine failure and the Maurice Trintignant/Lucien Bianchi
car with suspension failure.  The Cunningham Tipo 151's went on to be equally unsuccessful in SCCA racing here in
the States.

Although the Tipo 151 looks like a Tipo 60/61 "Birdcage" with a roof, it had reverted to a much simpler tubular frame.
Maserati had also abandoned the large rear-engine spider concept of the also unsuccessful Tipo 63/64 V-12.  None
of these cars had the balance of the sweet-handling Tipo 61 with its smaller 4-cylinder engine.

Above and below: the office, and the engine bay, of the Tipo 151.  The engine was Maserati's old 4.5 liter V-8,
downsized to 4.0 liters.  The extra weight over the front wheels in a wheelbase not much, if any, longer than
the Birdcage's, likely contributed to the poor handling of the Tipo 151.  Three uncompetitive sports models
in a row (the 63/64 and the 151) spelled the end of Maserati.  Obviously, the handling of the restored car
at Goodwood has been sorted.  Well... as much as a 289 Cobra's, anyway.  ;-) 

Goodwood may be short (2.4 miles) but it's fast.  Here are some representative times from this weekend:

1:19's       110  m.p.h.     early (no wing) Can-Am cars
1:23's      104  m.p.h.     rear-engine Formula Junior
1:25's      102  m.p.h.     1950's Formula 1 cars
1:27's       99  m.p.h.      1960-64 GT's (Cobra, E-Type, Sting Ray, GTO's and SWB's)
1:32's       94  m.p.h.      1960's small-bore sports cars (Triumph TR-4, Porsche 911)
1:35's       91  m.p.h.       1950's sedans (Jaguar Mark I's)

If someone had offered to bet me that a rear-engine Formula Junior was faster around Goodwood than a 289 Cobra, I'd have taken that bet.  But it makes sense when you think about it: Goodwood is a fast, technical, course.  Momentum is key.  Once a Formula Junior gets up a head of steam out of the chicane, it can slice and dice those sweepers and dipsy-doodles.

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