Back on the grid in fine motor racing style

RARING TO GO A Ferrari on the grid. Picture: Malcolm Wells(122997-5324)
RARING TO GO A Ferrari on the grid. Picture: Malcolm Wells(122997-5324)
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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Two big names from the modern world of Formula One went back in time at Goodwood to record one of their most satisfying victories.

Red Bull designer Adrian Newey and Sky F1 commentator and ex-racer Martin Brundle teamed up in a 1963 E-Type lightweight to win the showpiece RAC TT Celebration on the third and final day of this year’s Revival meeting yesterday.

LEGEND Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi. (122997-9007)

LEGEND Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi. (122997-9007)

Brundle took the chequered flag of the prestigious one-hour, two-driver race after Newey had done the first stint. They triumphed despite the drama of Newey going on to the grass and spinning on the opening lap.

A delighted Brundle said: ‘I’ve been desperate to win this race (he’d finished fifth, third and second before) and I’m really happy. This is a big event and it’s a wonderful car.’

The TT featured cars worth more £100m, but they were driven hard and the big crowd lapped up the action featuring Ferraris, Aston Martins and Jaguars.

The sound of engines filled the air most of the day, but one of the most exciting races was a silent one – the inaugural Settrington Cup for Austin J40 pedal cars on the main straight.

Children were cheered on from the grandstands after a Le Mans-style running start.

Another highlight for the tens of thousands of spectators and competitors was a special tribute to American racing legend Dan Gurney, a guest of Goodwood owner Lord March for the weekend.

Cars from throughout his career, including F1 and Le Mans winners, lapped the track and Gurney was a passenger in a Mustang. There were fireworks, streamers, a band playing the American national anthem and the ceremonial spraying of Champagne – it was Gurney who started this tradition among racing drivers on the podium.

A beaming Gurney told spectators, many of whom were in period dress from Goodwood’s 1948 to 1966 heyday: ‘This is a magical look back in time, with the participation of so many enthusiastic fans and their kids. In my book, the British fans have been second to none all my life and this weekend has been an unforgettable experience.’

As soon as the TT had finished, a Lancaster bomber flanked by two Spitfires appeared overhead for an evocative flypast – one of several aerial displays.

Goodwood circuit used to be RAF Westhampnett, from where heroes including Douglas Bader took off to fight the Battle of Britain and yesterday was Battle of Britain Day.

The Revival line-up was like a who’s who of motor racing, from F1 world champions Sir Jackie Stewart and John Surtees to Jean Alesi, Jacky Ickx, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and commentator Murray Walker. On two wheels, stars included Wayne Gardner and Troy Corser.

Royalty was represented by Prince Michael of Kent, while celebrities soaking up the atmosphere included DJ, TV presenter and petrolhead Chris Evans, celebrity chef James Martin, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and TV presenter Noel Edmonds. Meanwhile,VC holder Corporal Johnson Beharry also enjoyed the action.

Actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson put in an appearance over the weekend, driving a 1952 Jaguar, while actor Ewan McGregor donned period helmet and leathers to ride a Manx Norton from the 1950s as he led the warm-up lap for the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy bike race.

One of the most popular figures was racing legend Sir Stirling Moss. He will soon celebrate his 83rd birthday, but drove laps in several cars and signed hundreds of autographs for motorsport enthusiasts young and old.