The Tourist Trophy of TT originated in 1905 on the Isle of Man as a race for touring cars to assimilate daily motoring conditions. It then had a chequered history disappearing and reappearing going through various resurrections at a number of different circuits. These included Newtownards and Dundrod in Northern Ireland, Donington Park, Goodwood and Oulton Park. The best remembered period in its history is the seven year span between 1958 and 1964 when the venue was the Goodwood Circuit in West Sussex.
It had been resurrected for the umpteenth time in 1958 as the British round of the World Sports Car Championship, with Goodwood as the chosen venue, and would be the final round of the series. As it transpired Ferrari had the championship sewn up before the race, and decided not to send a team, thus diluting the interest and resulting in the race being shortened from six to four hours, with only half points awarded. GT racing was becoming increasingly popular, and between 1960 and 1963 the race was held for cars of that category In 1960 it was to be the race that really put the Ferrari name on the British motor racing map, when (Sir Stirling Moss drove Rob Walker’s Ferrari 250 GT SWB to a commanding victory, repeating the achievement the following year in a similar model for the same owner.
The 1963 Tourist Trophy was the last one held at Goodwood solely for GT cars, as the final running at the circuit in 1964 saw a return of the sports racing category together with over 2 litre GT cars. 1963 also saw the abandoning of the ‘Le Mans’ type start, with competitors taking their positions on a normal grid formation based on practice times. This was the golden era of GT racing when Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar and the Shelby AC Cobras vied for honours in the larger capacity class, whilst Lotus Eats and Elans together with MG Midgets, Porsches and TVRs fought for honours in the under 2 litre category Not only was there an eclectic array of magnificent machinery but the drivers taking part in GT racing at the time were frequently from the top level of motor sport competition, namely Formula 1. As an example the 1963 TT entry list induded Innes Ireland. Bruce McLarm, Mike Parkes, Roy Salvadori and reigning World Champion Graham Hill.
After a fraught practice session that saw the elimination of the two Wilment entered AC Cobras because of a technical infringement, and the Aston Martin Project cars being forced to run on narrower rims, due to the wider rims recommended by Dunlop not matching the homologated specification, it was Graham Hill in the Maranello Concessionaires 250 GTO that took pole position. He was just ahead of his team mate Mike Parkes in the white John Coombs entered example, followed by the pair of Aston Martins, four ‘E’ types, another four Ferraris and the under 2 litre cars.
The 130 lap race started in a cacophony of sound as the 31 starters left the line headed by Graham Hill and Mike Parkes in the GT0s, although by the end of the first lap Trines Ireland in the Aston Martin had split them, whilst Bruce McLaren in the second Aston Martin followed in fourth. Having won the 1962 race in the UDT Laystall 250 GTO, Innes Ireland was keen to repeat his achievement in the Aston martin despite the narrower rims adversely affecting the handling capabilities. He tried an unsuccessful lunge for the lead on the tenth lap that resulted in a lurid spin for him, and a trip onto the grass for Graham Hill, allowing Mike Parkes through into the lead. Graham Hill recovered quickly to continue in second place, but Ireland had first spotted his tyres forcing an unscheduled stop. However, he didn’t give up the fight and continued to entertain the crowd with on and beyond the limit motoring, that resulted in two more spins and seventh place for his efforts. This gave the Ferrari duo a bit of breathing space and they were able to maintain station comfortably until the mid distance pit stop, by which time Parkes had a 30 second lead over Hill. From then it was a run to the finish with Hill in the Maranello Cencessionaires GTO gradually hauling in the Parkes example to take the lead 20 laps from the finish, and holding it to take a popular and well deserved victory On the way he set a new GT lap record, a mere 0.2 seconds off his practice time, with the ‘E’ Type of Roy Salvadori being the only car to finish on the same lap as the flying GTOs.
The Goodwood Circuit revival meeting held in September provides enthusiasts with the opportunity to see a re-enactment of these classic GT battles from the sixties, with cars that featured in the original event driven by the likes of Derek Bell, John Surtees and Damon Hill.