Goodwood Adventures

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911Motorsport Porsche 911 Antwerp blog Goodwood adventuresLast Monday (still pre-Goodwood), the Porsche SCRS BASTOS went to the dyno in order to find the perfect set up for the engine.  After Mike (911motorsport) and Steve (Steve’s VW Shop) did their magic, the engine turned out 281 bhp.  More importantly we were looking for torque: we wanted an engine able to pull the car right out of tight corners. Little did we know then that the gear ratio’s were not adapted for the Rally stage (see later).

Once the engine was totally checked and fine tuned, the final preparations for the Goodwood trip  started  as the car and its owner were invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And the 911motorsport team, providing assistance, was to come along.

The Porsche 911 SCRS was loaded into the trailer on Wednesday (June 29 th) and very early the next day the 911motorsport team left Antwerp for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The whole party got going on Thursday morning, 6:00 am, June 30 th.

Arriving in Goodwood around 13:00 we had ample time to set up our Camper. Thereafter we wheeled the car to the tent stand, were it was to spend the night.

Once parked, Mike (Chief mechanic) decided to warm-up the engine once more before next morning’s mayhem. By doing so a jet of oil came out of the engine. We were lucky that this disaster struck us well before the festivities of the event the next morning.  It seemed like Mike “had a feeling” the oil tube would section, as he took a spare oil line with him.  So within the next hour the car was up and running again.

Thursday night Tony (the man who made it all happen) organised a nice evening dinner in Lord March’s neighbouring restaurant. At around 23:00 we all went to the camper for a good, though short, night of sleep.

Next morning Tony and his co-driver Tom picked us up at 7:00 am to go down to the drivers club for breakfast. The drivers club, located in a temporary building besides the castle served great breakfast, lunch and tea.  The drivers club was also the place where world famous pilots (from Formula 1 to Indy, Groupe C, rally cars, bikers etc.) went to dine themselves, making it into a great place to hang out and see all celebrity’s come and go.

At 9:00 there was the drivers briefing for the rally stage and for us things got real serious real fast. At around 10:00 am we wheeled out the car and went queuing for the start.  Once on the starting line the marshal gave us our starting time.

When the clock came to 15 seconds before the start adrenaline began pumping and heartbeats rose to high levels.  Then 10, 9, 8, …in the last 5 seconds the engine revved up to 4.500 rpm, 3,2,1, … up went the clutch and off went the Porsche, in a cloud of sand and dust into the first right hander dropping us off into the woods.

By then no more time to think, just keeping the car on the small road in between the trees…

The first time out was clocked at 3:20 …which left room for improvement, but considering that it was the first time as a rally pilot, driving the first Goodwood Rally Stage, on the first outing of the renewed car, it was pretty fast and all went well.

Thereafter better Stage times were the only target. Best time of the weekend would be 2:48, which was more than honourable.  Certainly when considering that the clutch was gradually deteriorating and first gear popping-out regularly.  On top of that, the gearing was too high and not adapted for the stage so we could only use first and second. In first gear we had to go up in the higher rev range, in order to keep the engine on its power band range after changing into second.  Rather difficult, but in all such an experience, so no reason to complain.

911Motorsport Porsche 911 Antwerp blog Goodwood adventures

The SCRS Porsche, being a 1984 car, did slide much: much more on loose gravel than some of the more recent WRC cars do.  With their computer controlled differentials they have such a great road holding that they are utterly quick seemingly without drama.  Moreover they tend to burry themselves into the ground, in order to find grip, and thus make deep traces into the track.  With the Porsche we slid all over the place and once the wheels of the car came into the gutters, made by the WRC cars, the car got buried in there and it was pretty hard to get it out without destabilizing the car. One had to be careful all of the time.

On occasions 911motorsport was asked to take “VIP guests” along for the Forest Stage, which we did with pleasure.  Most passengers came out of the car with sand grinding their teeth, all covered in dust, but all happy and having the time of their life.

Because the car was so well prepared it underwent it’s battering with dignity and kept going all weekend. Both drivers were more than happy and it was hard to scrape the grin of their faces.

On Saturday night we were hosted by Lord March to attend the black tie dinner at the castle.  Now this was quite an experience. It could best be compared with a big wedding party, where the Veuve Clicquot aperitif was served in the marvellous garden. Thereafter we were kindly invited to the dinner party.  As all people there were truly motor heads you can imagine that most of the discussions involved cars.  We were lucky to sit at a table where one couple did own the Morris Mini that won the Monte Carlo in 1963. Its period pilot Rauno Altonen drove their car.  The other couple had some WRC rally cars in the collection and were showing their Ford RS 200.  What lovely people and what lovely conversations.

One of the great things about the Festival of Speed is its concern about charity.  We were kindly asked to donate to the Richard Burns Fund.  I suppose (no, I am sure) that all who attended did feel it was a privilege to be able to contribute to this charity.

After dinner there was the famous fireworks in the garden. A great spectacle together with the 3D animation.  An unforgettable moment.

Tired as we were we wandered of the Castle grounds back to our trailer to get some rest, because we still had some Forest Rally Stages on the menu the next day.

Sunday morning we woke up early again and had breakfast at the Drivers Club.  Around 9:00 the drivers were ready in their overalls to start all over again.

We decided only to run the car in the morning, mainly because the drivers were tired, the car had suffered and most members of the team did want to take the afternoon off to go and take a look at the rest of the show.

Around 18:00 we were loaded again and slowly took of in the direction of Folkestone.  Before that we said goodbye to new made friends and to our UK party that made it all happen (Thanks Tony, Carol, Tom, Frank and Vinny).

The 911motorsport caravan had to hurry because we wanted to make it to the Tunnel train on time.  On arrival at the Chunnel booth we received message that there was only 1 minute and 20 seconds to departure.  As we didn’t feel like taking a nightly nap in the parking lot waiting for the morning train, we hurried on to Customs and made it by seconds. It felt like one more  Rally Stage. This time without the trees.

Then again, the drive from Calais to Antwerp was a trouble free ride.
We arrived exhausted at 2:30 am in Antwerp and fell into bed.
It didn’t take long before we were all in dreamland.  I am sure that we all dreamt about our great 3 days at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Before signing off I would like to thank all the marshals and all the complete staff at Goodwood for a wonderful weekend.  They made it all happen and they made our stay memorable.

A very warm and well-meant thank you, Guys and Gals.

See you next year in Goodwood

Read the first article here.

Photogallery : Goodwood 2011

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