Members of The Guild of Motoring Writers were out in force at this year’s legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed, the world’s premier motorsport celebration. The event, which attracted a record-breaking 186,000 spectators, provided many column inches of print and online copy for the GoMW’s respected automotive journalists.
Changeable track conditions rendered the FoS a challenging experience for Guild members lucky enough to drive up the Hill. Among them was Steve Cropley, who bagged two runs in the 1954 Jaguar D-Type prototype, which was narrowly beaten at Le Mans on its debut. Steve admitted he was being careful, as the car has an estimated value of £10million. As a bonus, Steve also tried the 2013-spec McLaren MP4-12C, the latest version with an extra 25bhp. More Le Mans history was at the disposal of Guy Loveridge, in the 2.0-litre 1962 Le Mans class-winning Morgan, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust made it an all-Jag outing for the Octane team, with contributor John Simister out first in the mighty 1975 Bob Tullius Group 44 E-Type V12. “It’s got an engine note to wake the dead!” promised John. Then it was the turn of magazine Editor David Lillywhite at the wheel of the long-nose D-Type, followed by Deputy Editor Mark Dixon in the XK120 Montlhery.
Doug Nye, one of the FoS’s driving forces and originators, divided his time between the track and Friday’s record-breaking Bonhams sale – Doug is the auction house’s founding historical consultant. When he did get his race suit on he piloted the ex-Willment Racing Team Jack Sears 4.7-litre V8 Shelby Cobra Roadster ’39 PH’. Mercedes then offered Doug a drive in its 1952 W194 300SL Gullwing that finished second on the Mille Miglia before going on to win Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana.
Guild President Nick Mason was strapped into the early short-wheelbase Audi Quattro rally car, while his own recently acquired ex-Carrera Panamericana 1953 Ferrari 250 MM was debuted by wife Annette and son-in-law Marino Franchitti drove his 250 GTO Le Mans racer.
Alan Cathcart rode one of the most exotic and iconic GP racing motorcycles ever – the streamlined 500cc Moto Guzzi V8. He was also onboard its predecessor, the 1952 500 Bicilindrica with its wide-angle 120-degree motor. Two past GoMW award recipients, 2009 Driver of the Year Rider Oliver Turvey and 2009 Rider of the Year Cal Crutchlow, were spotted, too. Oliver was entertaining the crowds with his tyre-smoking exploits in last year’s F1 race-winning McLaren MP4-26, and Cal made an appearance on the Monster Energy Yamaha YZR R1.
Chairman Richard Aucock was among Guild members who were enviously watching from the side-lines. “The Festival was as brilliant as ever,” he said. “It is a real highlight of the automotive year.”