Vintage cars racing at Goodwood Members' Meeting 2021

Goodwood Members’ Meeting 2021

The Members’ Meeting delivers incredible action just weeks after the Goodwood Revival

The dust had barely settled in the West Sussex air after the memorable return of the Goodwood Revival. But one calendar month further on, the historic British circuit was to play host to another incredible weekend of classic motorsport, to the delight of loyal fans.

To the uninitiated, the annual Members’ Meeting can fly under the radar on the Goodwood calendar, overshadowed by the raucous Festival of Speed, and the much larger scale Revival. But to those who ‘know’, the Members’ Meeting (or MM, as it is fondly referred to) is one of the first (if not the first) date to be etched into the diary at the turn of a new year.

Black cars on track at Goodwood Members' Meeting 2021

An Autumn Date after a Two-Year Hiatus

Historically, this event has always served as a season opener, with a traditional March date used for many years—until 2018 saw heavy snowfall during the racing. This encouraged the event organisers to push it back to April, in an attempt to try and elude the adverse winter conditions that seem ever more common in early spring on these shores.

After a two year hiatus, the eagerly anticipated Members’ Meeting was squeezed into the calendar in October—largely out of character, but serving as a great tonic for race fans as the domestic motorsport season drew to a close. Renowned for attracting a phenomenal array of cars and drivers, the laid back atmosphere and unparalleled access for spectators give a flavour of club racing meets in the 1960s and 70s.

With perhaps less of the pomp of the Goodwood Revival, the racing here is fiercely contested, with competitors allocated into one of four ‘houses’—for which they fight tooth and nail on the track to try and secure honours over the course of the weekend.

2021 Goodwood Members’ Meeting Track Demonstrations

Marking the 30th Anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s Final World Championship

Some of the most recognizable sights of the Members’ Meeting come in the form of stunning on-track high speed demonstrations, which have always been part of the event. Over the years, exotic cars with legendary pedigree have been brought from far and wide to add even more variety and flavour to proceedings at the iconic West Sussex race track.

2021 saw the imperious McLaren MP4/6 of Ayrton Senna’s victorious 1991 Grand Prix campaign, with his nephew (and ex-F1 driver) Bruno Senna at the pedals, marking 30 years since Ayrton claimed his third and ultimately final Formula One World Championship. The last V12-powered car to carry a driver to a World Championship title, the sound offered up by the 3.5 litre Honda RA121E was nothing short of staggering; a finer noise to be heard on British soil this year would be mighty tough to find.

McLaren MP4/6 on track at Goodwood Members' Meeting 2021

The Legendary JaguarSport XJR-15

On a similar 12 cylinder theme, the largest on-track assembly of Jaguar XJR-15s also graced the hallowed turf. Under the Jaguar name, it was Tom Walkinshaw Racing responsible for the design and build of these sleek supercars.

Borrowing heavily from the Le Mans winning XJR-9LM, only 53 examples were ever made, with 16 of them raced in a one-make series to support the F1 races at Spa, Monaco and Silverstone.

Walkinshaw surely conceived one of the forerunners of what we understand as a ‘supercar’ with the XJR-15, it’s 6.0 V12 putting out around 450bhp. Yet it was the XJ220 and McLaren F1 that took the supercar moniker to headier heights in the 1990s, leaving the phenomenal XJR-15 concept as a fading memory to most.

A Public Debut for the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50

With a nod to the modern age, a public debut was given to the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 supercar. Murray is a name synonymous with iconic and innovative design at the very highest levels of motorsport, and his distinctive T.50 marks a distinct change in approach to road car aerodynamics.

A 400mm fan sits proudly at the back of the car, inducing downforce in a way that harks back to the unforgettable Brabham ‘fan-car’ of the 1978 F1 seasons. Unsurprisingly, Murray was the architect behind that project as well.

To accompany the T.50 on track, a number of Murray’s other designs were present, including the striking 1972 Duckhams LM, the first Cosworth DFV engined car to compete at Le Mans.

Yellow 1972 Duckhams LM on track at Goodwood Members' Meeting 2021

Iconic Rally Cars Contest the Goodwood Super Sprint

Goodwood’s reputation for evolving with the times and embracing change while retaining the inimitable style of their events is well known. Seeking to expand their already broad horizons this year, the addition of a rally stage on Saturday evening, under the cover of darkness, was an inspired choice.

After the chequered flag fell on the last race of the day, the last dying embers of a south coast sunset fizzled out on the western horizon, and the sound of fire-breathing rally cars reverberated around the paddock. An astonishing array of the most famous machines to contest the World Rally Championship assembled for the Goodwood Super Special.

The Super Special was a specially designed sprint course, upon which two stages were run in the dark on Saturday, with a further two stages opening proceedings on Sunday morning. It was a phenomenal addition to an already great event.

Track for Goodwood Super Special 2021 at dawn

Hard-Fought and Closely-Contested Historic Racing

As is customary, the racing at Goodwood is remarkable—yet it seemed as though there was a little more spice to the racing than one might expect. It is hard to remember a race weekend, let alone a historic event, where the racing has been so closely contested in each and every plateau.

The S.F Edge trophy saw pre-1923 Edwardian Specials providing some of the closest racing, with the lead swapping multiple times in the last few corners to provide an unforgettable finish. Ben Collings snatched the lead in the final few metres to bring the Benz 200HP Blitzen Benz ahead of the hard-charging Hughie Walker in the Theophile Schneider Aero.

The Gerry Marshall Trophy Races always bring delight to the spectators and fans, with extensive touring car grids showcasing some of the best racing of the weekend. The Ford Capri of Jake Hill battling the Chevrolet Camaro of Jack Tetley made for incredible viewing during the race on Saturday. Hill also did battle with the Boss Mustang 302 of Craig Davies on Sunday, with the two cars providing an exhilarating spectacle, putting together almost identical lap times—the Capri more nimble in the corners, but outgunned by the grunt of the Mustang on the straights.

Vintage cars racing at Goodwood Members' Meeting 2021

A throng of Ford GT40s dominated the Gurney Cup for pre-1965 World Championship Sports cars, with the highly regarded partnership of Cottingham/Smith taking victory in the resplendent silver 1 MUF car. Cottingham also put in a stellar drive at the wheel of the Tojeiro Jaguar in the Salvadori Cup, coming home a valiant 3rd behind the Lotus Climax-15 of Miles Griffiths and the victor Chris Ward in the Jaguar-Lister Knobbly.

The Best-Kept Secret in Historic Motorsport

It’s hard to eloquently describe the atmosphere and emotion that one feels when treated to a banquet of motor racing, along with the warm embrace of nostalgia and authenticity that Goodwood provides. That such a level of style and panache can be maintained while the on-track racing is so keenly contested and competitive is a testament to the team at Goodwood.

There is an undeniable sense of magic as one walks around the paddock at night, surrounded by an array of historic machinery. It almost feels like such experiences shouldn’t be possible, yet Goodwood offers up these delights and so much more.

The Members’ Meeting will return in 2022, on a springtime date in the calendar which will serve as the most sumptuous season-opener for motorsport fans in the UK.

Goodwood Members’ Meeting 2021 Gallery

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