RAC TT Victory at Goodwood
Strakka Racing's Peter Hardman achieved a remarkable double last weekend. Not only was he competing in the Silverstone 24 Hours, but he was also racing a 1963 Ferrari 330 LMB in the Goodwood Revival meeting near Chichester, ninety miles away on the south coast.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Goodwood Revival has become the world's premier historic motor race meeting, and Peter has raced there each year since the very beginning. "I've done Goodwood every year, but the only race we never seemed able to win was the RAC TT Celebration. We've finished second or third on several occasions, but the win has always eluded us." Not this time. In a thrilling hour-long race Peter and co-driver Bobby Verdon-Roe came through to take a richly-deserved victory at the eleventh attempt. "I'm absolutely chuffed to bits that we've finally won it!" said a delighted Peter. "Not only that, but I also received the Driver of the Meeting award -- a stunning Rolex Daytona watch. That's a really big high for me, and from a personal point of view, more than compensates for the disappointments of Silverstone."
The day's schedule had over-run, and the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration didn't start until 15:23, when six-times Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx waved the flag.
"I made a fairly good start," said Peter, "perhaps better than Adrian [Newey], but I had to give him the advantage under braking into Madgwick. Then I was able to out-drag him on the run down to Fordwater, which meant I was second behind Justin [Law] and had Adrian safely between Jean-Marc Gounon in fourth and me."
"I was desperately trying to get out of "BMW Mode," admitted Peter. Having recently arrived from two three-hour stints at Silverstone, there were habits and techniques to overcome. "I had to remind myself to start using the clutch! This is a forty-year-old Ferrari and you can't change gear the same way. It took a few corners until that became an automatic mental process again."
"Having got past Adrian, I then had to take the lead from Justin, but it took four or five laps. He was a bit slower through Madgwick and Fordwater, but I had to be aware of Jean-Marc behind me too, who'd got ahead of Adrian, so I was defending through the corners and under braking, although I could pull away down the straights."
"We were coming up on traffic, and I saw Justin caught in the middle. I eased back, saw the clear space, and got the run on him down towards Fordwater. I braked a tad later and got through. I then had Justin between me and Jean-Marc. I just got my head down and pressed on. Jean-Marc got through shortly afterwards, so Justin was down to third, although his co-driver got the place back later."
"I just pulled away then, and established a four or five second lead. I saw the 20-minute board, and a lap and half later, started to close on a group of half a dozen tail-enders, so pulled in and handed over to Bobby before being held up."
"The pitstop went well, and after everyone else had done their stops, we had a nine second lead with 18 minutes to go. A safety car period cost us that margin, but at the restart Bobby was able to pull out another lead of about four or five seconds, and that was enough for him to have a pretty fair shot to the flag."
Bobby Verdon-Roe took the chequered flag after 39 laps by 2.2 seconds from Anthony Reid, driving second stint after Justin Law in the Lister Jaguar, with Martin Brundle finishing a rapid third in the Jaguar E Type that Adrian Newey had started. "That was a mega win!" enthused Peter. "We've been trying for so long, and it's wonderful to have achieved it at last. Enormous credit to Tim Samways and the whole of his crew, they all worked so hard at preparing the car, and stuck at it. I'm also very pleased for the owner. It seemed to be a very popular win, and there was a big cheer went up when I took the lead, and an even bigger one when Bobby crossed the line. That must be one of the best wins I've ever had. The TT at Goodwood is the peak, the premier race at Goodwood, and it's the one everyone wants to watch. It was a cracking race this year too! Fantastic!"
The Driver of the Meeting award was presented to Peter Hardman by Justin Hogbin, Communications Manager at Rolex UK.
Warmest congratulations to Nick and Sophie Leventis upon the arrival of Marley Haralambos Leventis, born at 09.31 on Monday 21st September 2008.
Strakka Racing's historic cars, such as the Ferrari 330 and the Aston Martin DBR1, are prepared and run for the team by Tim Samways Sporting and Historic Car Engineers: Tim Samways