74th Members’ Meeting

Ground-effect F1 to star at Goodwood’s spring opener 

As radical in conception as it was in appearance, and let down only by the fact that it didn’t work terribly well, the adjacent Lotus 80 will be on display alongside one of the high-speed demonstrations that have become a staple since the Goodwood Members’ Meeting was reintroduced in 2014. Cars from F1’s
‘tall airbox’ era graced the Sussex circuit last season, but for this year’s event (March 19/20) the clock has been wound forward to the late 1970s/early 1980s and a quantum leap in the understanding and application of aerodynamics.

Participating cars include success stories such as the Williams FW07, Lotus 79, McLaren MP4/1 and Brabham BT49, plus Ligier JS17 (a title contender in period, a detail oft forgotten), Alfa Romeo 179, Ferrari 312 T5, Ensign N180, March 811 and others – a sumptuous gathering to complement parades for Group 5 sports cars (Porsche 917, Ferrari 512, Lola T70) and Super Touring-era tin-tops (Alfa Romeo 155, Audi A4, BMW 320, Nissan Primera and so forth).

These demonstrations provide the non-competitive glue that binds a busy programme of 12 races – a qualifier for Group 1 saloons on Saturday and the balance on Sunday. Gp1 was reinvented to headline the first Members’ Meeting of the modern era and has since pitched Capris and Rover SD1s against Camaros, Alfa Romeo GTV6s and assorted tiddlers – including the brisk Mini 1275GT of the appropriately named Nick Swift. The prize? A trophy named in honour of period icon Gerry Marshall.

As with its Revival Meeting, the Goodwood management tinkers constantly with content in an effort to keep things fresh. New features this year include the Alan Mann Trophy (a one-make race for Ford GT40s), the SF Edge Trophy (for pre-1923 Edwardian machinery) and the Hailwood Trophy, for 250 and 350cc Grand Prix bikes of between 1970 and 1982 – the first time motorcycles will have appeared at this meeting.

Other events include the Brooks Trophy (1954-60 F1 cars), the Derek Bell Cup (1.0-litre F3), the Graham Hill Trophy (1960-66 GTs), the Parnell Cup (pre-53 GP/F2 cars and voiturettes), the Whitmore Cup (1960-66 saloons up to 2.0 litres), the Peter Collins Trophy (sports racers 1948-55) and the Bruce McLaren Trophy (pre-1966 Can-Am and Group 7 cars).

As at the Revival Meeting, close, competitive racing tends to be a given – James King (Chevron B17) pipped Simon Armor (March 703) by 0.018sec at the end of a fierce F3 duel last year – but the difference lies in the presentation. This is a quieter event, relatively speaking, with ticket sales restricted to 30,000 over two days and more space to appreciate both circuit and the cars within. The paddock area will be busy, but stroll towards the first right-hander (Madgwick) or beyond and you’ll discover a wonderful cocktail of fine views and relative solitude.

For many, such attributes make the Members’ Meeting the most appealing event within the contemporary Goodwood portfolio. Simon Arron