Gary Pearson stretches his and the D-type JaguarÕs legs during a Goodwood Revival.
Photo: Roger Dixon
My first open-wheeled car was a Lotus 22, in fact it was one of the cars used in the filming of Grand Prix. When I first got the car it still had the Jordan BRM mock-up body attached, which was discarded, binned, replaced and restored to be a conventional Lotus 22. However, my first ever race was in my father’s D-type Jaguar. I was brought up with D-types, and despite racing many other exotic cars the D-type has always been my favorite. I think I must have raced at least 10 different D-type Jaguars in my time. Considering I have been fortunate enough to have raced five different Ferrari 250 GTOs, the David Piper Porsche 917, the 1960 Le Mans-winning Ferrari Testa Rossa TR60—that was a fabulous car to drive, so very different to a regular pontoon Testa Rossa, in fact a world away in performance terms—I still come back to my greatest racecar, the D-Type Jaguar. I suppose some of the affection is in my blood because of my father’s love for the car, but it is a challenging car to drive too. I would say satisfying and great fun to handle. A well-sorted D-Type should be a perfectly balanced car. Having said that, when racing the car is always on the move, so you have to be comfortable with this attribute, it’s not like taming the car, they don’t bite, but they slide when going quickly. You have to be more at ease with it—similar to driving a Maserati 250F—another great car I’ve driven.
One of my favorite circuits to race on has to be Goodwood. Currently, I hold the record for driver victories at the Revival. Obviously, I have had some memorable races there. Racing against Richard Attwood was one in particular. I was in a BRM P25 and he was in a front-engined Ferrari Dino, it was a special race. Through David Piper I’d become good friends with Richard, so racing against him was really special. Another was racing a Lola T70 Spider in the Whitsun Trophy—such a wild race, with wild cars. However, my best experience has to be sharing Carlos Monteverdi’s E-type Jaguar with Juan Fangio II. We nearly won the TT together, but got boxed in and caught by Mark Hales. Fangio II is a great man, it was such an honor to race with him, not purely because of his family connections— nephew to the great Juan Manuel—but because he has been a great driver in his own right too, especially in IMSA racing.
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