FISKEN SECOND AT GOODWOOD IN LAST FRONT-ENGINED FERRARI GP CAR
The London-based fine automobile dealer Gregor Fisken came second in the Richmond Trophy race at this weekend's Goodwood Revival, at the wheel of the last Ferrari front-engined Formula One car, the 246 Dino. The car is one which Fisken has been engaged to sell on behalf of its current owner, through his world-renowned dealership.
The Goodwood Revival is one of the summer's premier motorsport events for lovers of historic and revered racing cars. It is held in the same regard as the Le Mans Classic in terms of its importance among enthusiasts and professionals alike.
The Revival consists of a series of races, pitting some of the greatest names in motorsport against each other in an array of the finest cars ever to have taken to the racetrack. The Richmond Trophy, which Fisken competed in the Ferrari 246 Dino, was for 1948-1959 front-engined Formula One cars and was one of the most hotly-anticipated and, as it transpired, contested events of the weekend.
This year's Revival was the first time this particular car had been seen in the UK for a number of years and it had been perfectly prepared prior to the weekend, by GTO Engineering. In fact, Tony Merrick, the consultant for GTO Engineering, was the last person to actually run this car in the UK and was delighted to be preparing it for this weekend.
Fisken is a great believer in practising what he preaches and can be found driving many of the cars which form the basis of his professional career, at events such as the Revival. He put his extensive knowledge and experience to good use during the dry qualifying session on Saturday, posting the fastest time by more than two seconds and claiming pole position for Sunday's race.
However, race-day was to prove rather wetter than the qualifying sessions. Starting from pole, the car's unique gearchange layout meant that by the time Fisken reached the first corner, he had been demoted to fifth. With only 15 laps to get positions back, he set about picking off the cars in front that had passed him.
Within three laps, Fisken had made his way back up to second and set about catching Gary Pearson in the BRM Type 25. However, catching is one thing - passing, when each driver is at the wheel of such exquisite machinery, is quite another. Try as he might, Fisken was unable to get in front of Pearson, despite the gap dropping to as low as less than a second. In the end, Fisken followed Pearson home, just over two seconds behind the BRM driver.
Barry Williams, replacing Sir Stirling Moss, was third in the four-wheel drive Ferguson-Climax Project 99, using the enhanced traction to great advantage in the wet conditions. Patrick Tambay and Jochen Mass also took part in the race and finished seventh and ninth respectively, Tambay at the wheel of another Dino 246.
Speaking after the race, a clearly delighted Fisken said; "I can only describe this car as sublime to drive and it was a very exciting race. I got off the line well but I looked down to make sure I engaged second gear correctly [the 246 Dino has an X-shaped shift pattern, rather than an H-shaped one], got crowded into the first corner and found myself in fifth. I systematically began to work through to second and was behind Gary in the BRM, a very quick car and equal in terms of performance to the Dino.
"We matched each other almost perfectly, getting alongside, huge oversteer moments and four-wheel drifts on the very greasy and wet circuit. Of course I would have loved to have won the race but in the end, I was delighted with second. It was also a very poignant result, as the weekend was held in tribute of the great Phil Hill and this model was the last front-engined Ferrari he drove. It was a privilege to drive such a wonderful car in a unique race and an honour to be able to show it off well in front of the great man."