It is an extraordinary difficult question to answer, “What is my greatest racecar?” One can consider cars one has won races with, that always leave a nice flavor. What makes the question even more difficult is that most racecars I drove are not entirely comparable with each other, though some clearly are. There is an enormous spectrum of cars driven in one’s career from Formula Junior to Formula One, and from saloon cars to Le Mans sports cars. I am very tempted, and that’s the whole point I am trying to make, to choose an Aston Martin. My Le Mans-winning DBR1 was a great car, and I had very close associations with the company. There are always cars one would have liked to have driven but because of contractual agreements, or simply not being in the right place at the right time, one never gets the opportunity to drive. So, a greatest racecar can only be determined by looking at the cars one was fortunate enough to have driven in one’s career.
Looking back though, I have to say, I had one “off race” at Brands Hatch in John Coombs’s GTO Ferrari—it was a really beautiful car to drive. I think there were six GTOs in the race itself—a very impressive display of machinery—for Mike Parkes, John Surtees, Innes Ireland, David Piper, Colin Davis, and myself to drive. We were up against Graham Hill in the E-type, and Mike Salmon in an Aston Zagato, but the race, realistically, was going to be between the six GTOs, for the Peco Trophy. The 25-lap BRSCC event was on the August Bank Holiday Monday, 1962. John Surtees was the early leader, but quite soon, Mike Parkes took the lead and stayed there. I had a race-long battle with Innes Ireland. It began to rain about ten laps into the race; I was 4th at the time. I remember the weather being the biggest contender; it really was atrocious, but I was able to fight and claim 2nd place behind the victor, Mike Parkes. The car was wonderful to handle and it suited my style of driving very well, more than any other car I had driven. It was very smooth, lots of power, and plenty of revs. I had raced against the GTO many times in an Aston Martin GT, which I use as my benchmark for comparison. I had many races too against Mike Parkes, a great driver. The GTO was so easy and fluid; it was a car one could drift the whole time. A really, special car and I’m sure many others would agree with me on that. Unfortunately, because of contracts, I was unable to repeat my experience of driving the GTO in other races. A great shame, but that is possibly why it made so much of an impact on me.
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