Miscellaneous motor-racing photos

This page last modified on 16 July 2008.

At the 1996 Goodwood Festival of Speed

[PHOTO: Ferrari F1 car rear end close-up: 55kB]

Above: The Ferrari 412 T2 Formula 1 car (raced in the 1995 season) now working into its old age as a demonstration car. This occasion at Goodwood was the very first time that Ferrari had ever sent its own works outfit to a demonstration or historic race of any kind. A shame, then, that I was only at Goodwood on the Friday and did not see it run!

[PHOTO: Ferrari F1 car front view close-up: 53kB]

Above: F1 cars always catch me by surprise when I see them in real life: they seem too small! I don’t tend to realise that, with the powerful zoom controls of the TV cameras, parts of the cars are actually appearing at life-size scale on my screen; I’m sure I’m not the only sufferer of this malaise, though! Note that this really is the previous year’s car, albeit with that year’s stickers on it (e.g. Shell); the 1996 car had a high nose. Gerald Penney inspects the 412 T2 in this shot.

Eddie Irvine didn’t run in the car until the following day, so I only know what I read in the press; he didn’t get up the hillclimb particularly fast, but impressed a lot of people all the same. On his second timed run on the final day, he tried to repeat his feat of leaving a 100-metre wheelspin mark, but as he did so a driveshaft broke, ending the car’s running for that outing. A bit topical, commented Eddie: Michael Schumacher had retired from the previous weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix with a broken driveshaft!

[PHOTO: The McLaren F1LM (Le Mans): 47kB]

Above: Lots of other stunning cars were on display, and many of them ran too. This is the McLaren F1 LM, winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race. It’s staggering to stand next to it, trying to get your head round the fact that even the production version costs thirty times as much as a luxury BMW convertible!

[PHOTO: Mercedes GT sportscar: 45kB]

Above: The Mercedes sportscar from the GT1 category. Beside it is an Arrows F1 team transporter, and a McLaren one behind that.


[PHOTO: Silverstone Grand Prix Pitlane, empty: 54kB]

The pit-lane at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, as seen on 30 August 1998.

Not a special picture by itself, but it’s not very often that I get a chance to stand in the pit entry road at Silverstone and see nobody about at all!

Silverstone cycling anecdote

I once managed to get my bicycle onto the Grand Prix circuit for long enough to complete a lap; it was on 11 July 1997, the Friday evening of the British Grand Prix weekend, after the racing action had finished. This was the since-altered version of the circuit which started after Woodcote and included Abbey Chicane and Bridge Corner.

The grid-markings were being painted, the parades practiced, and timing-sensors checked. My lap—3.194 miles at the time, starting and finishing in what would the following day become Jacques Villeneuve’s pole-position spot—took me 9 minutes 50 seconds (average 19.5 mph). Villeneuve took 1 minute 21.598 seconds, an average of 140.9 mph: there again he had about 700 horses, I had none!

There happened to be a chap taking a mini-motorbike round the circuit at the same time as me; his machine would do about 20mph at all times, which meant I struggled to keep up with him up the rise to Maggotts, sailed comfortably ahead of him down Hangar Straight and to the lowest point at Club, but thereafter got caught by him up the noticeable climb through Abbey and past Bridge to the complex at the end of the lap.

It was a lovely evening, spoilt only by my failure to take sufficient care of myself and eat some proper supper: as I cycled back home to Oxford—a round trip of exactly 60 miles—I ‘blew up’ after passing Bicester and trundled very shakily the rest of the way home through Merton, Islip and Woodeaton, involuntarily falling asleep for brief moments and having to keep stopping. When I finally made it home at 10pm, my mother opened the door and I sort-of collapsed with bike in a heap at her feet!

On the next couple of years when I also rode to Silverstone to see qualifying days, I made a point of stopping off on the way back for fish & chips at the Happy House in Bicester!