Goodwood 75th Members Meeting
When march comes, it’s pretty cold still, but it usually means one thing. The Goodwood Members Meeting is around the corner, and this is enough to warm anyone’s heart. Packed my suitcase, and across the channel I went. Off to Goodwood, via Southampton. I arrived the day before, which was a good thing. It gives you some time to rest a bit and prepare for the whole thing, especially when your alarm clock is set for 6AM the next day.
I arrive at Goodwood and there is a very slight rain, no biggie but a bit annoying still. « Typical british weather », I internally say to myself. But I guess it’s also part of the charm. After attending my first Members Meeting last year (74MM), I wanted to take a different approach this time. Probably more casual, more « spectate ». The interesting thing at Goodwood is that racing is part of the event, but it’s not just that. I spent more time hanging around the paddocks, just admiring every little detail on every car. I’ve gone up and down the paddocks so many times. I even stayed up quite late to the saturday party on the estate. I particularily liked the team of mime drummers and pyrotechnic show. Even though it stopped right around the time I decided it was time to take a few pics & videos. Story of my life.
But back to cars, shall we. The day started pretty well with a quick ride as a passenger around the track in a lovely baby blue Porsche 718 Cayman S (which was sitting next to a lovely green McLaren 675 LT and another baby blue 911s). The funny thing is, it was the same driver who took me around the track in a BMW i8 last year. I think I prefer the Porsche, feels slightly more brutal. But I wasn’t 100% amazed by it.
The thing is, I knew there was a batch that would make the whole difference for me: the GT1 legends. Indeed, there were many different 90s legends that attended. There were FOUR McLaren F1 GTR. I had seen them all previously, except Nick Mason’s famous red & yellow jewel, which stole the #1 spot of best liveries on the F1 GTR. Interestingly enough, the Gulf F1 GTR was made road-legal not so long ago before the event, so it arrived by the road, and this was its first public outing. Also, quite a bunch of Porsche 911 GT1 (both 993 and 996 GT1, if I’m not mistaken): more than I’ve seen in my whole life. And a pretty good-looking Ferrari F40 LM with a NART stripe (which I later found out was a sticker, but I’m not being picky), and a thunderous Lotus Elise GT1 (didn’t even know this existed). Some other cars were merely there for static display (like the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR). But they were ALL insanely amazing. Especially when you saw them as a group. And they would pretty much steal the show for the whole week-end, I’m ashamed to admit it. But then again, how could they not? This 75th Members Meeting started the right way!
So needless to say it was an incredible thing to witness all those cars together in the same place. Problem is, they only had two 20-minute demos over the week-end. I personnally found that it was not enough. Say if you can only come one day, you’ll only have that one opportunity to capture them in action. But I understand the logistics and how it’s not easy to organize such a thing and make time for everyone. I was just genuinely sad not to have more track-time with them. Because trust me, it was as exciting to see and hear as it is to look at the pictures, trust me.
Wandering in the paddocks, I took a bit more time here and there to capture some details, and appreciate every single moment with every single car. As you all know, I’m not usually the biggest « classic car » guy around. Which is why whenever I’m lucky enough to attend such great events where there is a high concentration of classics, I try to take the time. I read the information when there is any, I discuss when the opportunity presents itselfs. And above all, I LEARN a lot from my guided tours. The amount of interesting facts, random things about cars… you wouldn’t believe the amount of information there is to know! Some people are truly encyclopedic, in the good way!
Seeing a bunch of one-seaters (mainly F3 cars from the past) made me feel all excited. Why? Because I knew I was about to take the wheel of F3 cars and F1 cars real soon. They felt quite tight… haha.
I particularily fell in love with this Delahaye 135M. Everything was blue, even the pedals. It might be completely useless and without importance, but for some reason this car spoke to me. Just because of the colour details, I felt it was special and as interesting as a pink Ferrari (ok, maybe not, but you get the idea).
On the last demo-race of the GT1 legends, Nick Mason sadly had a bit of an accident with his car. Nothing serious, as the driver came out unharmed and was already joking around a few minutes later. He didn’t seem too bothered by it. That’s the spirit: those cars were MEANT to be driven, and accidents happens. Never forget motorsports is dangerous, it’s not always fun and games. As for the car… well, the car took a hit, pretty big damage. But nothing the engineers and mechanics from Woking can’t fix. Money not being an issue, I’m sure we’ll see it back on its tires sooner rather than later! Many friends told me I was a a black cat, because it happened after I fell in awe and love with the car (my favorite livery now). For some reason, I can’t help myself but think… what if?
I also took a bit of time to try and get interested in things I don’t usually look at: the bikes. And I have to admit they looked insanely cool. Especially in the paddocks, with the right decor, the riders suited up, the mechanics. As I always say, I’m a sucker for that kind of atmosphere. And it’s nice to see Goodwood celebrates « all vehicles », from the two-wheels to the airplanes!
The last day was by far the coolest! A lot of action around. And I didn’t miss the massive donuts in the Nascar car, too. Which was cool. I usually miss that kind of stuff. So thanks to PetrolPed for reminding me about it haha. It was also nice to see Paul Wallace aka Supercarsoflondon hanging around. I took a bit of time to check-out the parking lot as well, with a gorgeous F12 TDF, and my FIRST McLaren 688HS (1 of 25 in the world, so… rarer than a P1 & F1… combined)!
I was lucky enough to have my first helicopter ride around the Goodwood estate !!! It was quite special for me, and absolutely NOT what I expected. Seeing how bumpy some plane rides often are, I’ve always imagined a helicopter would be even worse – but none of that, it was surprisingly steady. And the pilot handled the machine like a boss. We stayed 5 to 10 minutes in the air, and it was an amazing sense of liberty. You really felt like flying, like a bird. Quite hard to describe. We flew over the Goodwood house, where the Festival of Speed takes place. It was quite odd to see the green gardens all neat and empty, without tents, cars and thousands of people walking around the place. Things were even cooler when you hovered over the event at the Goodwood motor circuit, where we took-off and where we would land, with the cars racing down below, seeing the whole of Goodwood. Something I’m not about to forget anytime soon. Thanks guys for making it happen and making this 75th Members Meeting unique, as usual! 🙂
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