Lord March announced plans for a new event that will take place on 29-30 March 2014, run exclusively for the members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club and their guests. Based at the Goodwood Motor Circuit, the Goodwood Members’ Meeting will be an invitation-only weekend of racing action and entertainment as a continuation of the 71 club meetings held at Goodwood in the 1950s and ’60s for the members of the BARC.
At the heart of the 72nd Members’ Meeting will be the motor racing action on the track. Goodwood will use all of its experience to create the kind of high quality grids for which it has become so famous. These will range from a one-make Bugatti race to F1 and sports cars of the Fifties and Sixties, plus — for the first time — a race for more modern machinery beyond the scope of the Goodwood Revival: the popular Group 1 racing saloons of the 1970s. As well as wheel-to-wheel racing, the Members’ Meeting will also feature high-speed track action from more modern eras of Formula 1, Le Mans and beyond — sights and sounds that have never been seen before at Goodwood Motor Circuit. The inaugural event in 2014 will celebrate the flame-spitting Formula 1 cars of the turbo era, when cars qualified with 1500bhp; the long-tail Le Mans cars of the 1970s and ’80s; and the monstrous Group B rally cars of the mid-1980s. At the end of the 72nd Members’ Meeting, the race winners will be awarded their trophies at a traditional prize giving ceremony with Lord March.
GRRC Members, including all the drivers, will be able to freely wander throughout the site with no restricted access. Taking the cue from the original Goodwood BARC Members’ Meetings, food and drink will be available within communal spaces for visitors to share in the camaraderie and spirit of the occasion.
Unlike any other motor racing event, spectators will be able to get right up close to the action both on and off the track, including usually inaccessible areas such as the Pit Lane roof, Paddocks and dining area. Members whose vehicle is aged 30 years or older, or is deemed by the GRRC Club Secretary to be an exceptional collectors car, will be able to purchase a ticket to park on the infield. As the event will be strictly limited to GRRC Members and their guests, Goodwood hopes to reignite the Brooklands spirit of ‘The Right Crowd And No Crowding’.
Goodwood’s Paddock will be filled with some of the most iconic racing cars in the world that raced pre-1966. Parked alongside these will be the demonstration vehicles that include racing cars from 1966 to more recent times. Members will be able to stroll at their leisure around the Paddock and speak to the owners and their teams in a relaxed environment. As the Member’s Meeting will be a private event, there will be no commercial advertising and the event will only have one presenting partner.
During the daytime, food and drink will be served from The Great Hall, a huge communal meeting space serving ‘old school’ classics. GRRC members and their guests, the drivers, and Lord March and his family will all be seated together at long communal trestle tables in The Great Hall overlooking the Goodwood airfield, towards the cars racing on the horizon.
On the evening of the first day everyone will be invited by Lord March to stay and enjoy the entertainment at the Goodwood Motor Circuit, which will centre around a huge bonfire, followed by street food and a circus-inspired extravaganza. Fireworks will conclude the evening’s entertainment.
The competition won’t just be on the track; Everyone attending the Members’ Meeting, including the members’ and drivers, will be assigned to a House, in which they will remain for the lifetime of their GRRC membership. Each of the four house names (Methuen, Aubigny, Darnley and Torbolton) has been carefully chosen by James Peill, Curator of the Goodwood Collection, for its relevance and importance to Lord March and his family across the generations.
Throughout the event, drivers can win points for their house through their triumphs on the track, and scores will be recorded on giant blackboards in The Great Hall. Members will be encouraged to get involved and participate in the many competitions and games to help drive up their own house points. Everyone of all ages will be able to join in the light-hearted competitiveness between the Houses – there will be traditional school sports day events for the younger members and guests, such as sack racing, egg and spoon and three legged-races. And for the more mature of us there will be a variety of typically English and quirky activities such a croquet, bar billiards, and even a spot of cake decorating for the bakers. Each year an honorary House Captain will be selected by Goodwood for each of the four houses.
The Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC) was formed by the Earl of March in 1998 as a private members’ club with privileged access at the main events, including trackside member’s enclosures and viewing grandstands. The GRRC has an annual member’s programme which includes trips and rallies overseas. Annual favourites include the trip to St Moritz to ride the Cresta Run and ice driving in Finland.
Each year there are three Members’ Balls at Goodwood House: one during the Festival of Speed and two at Christmas. Many of the GRRC members own some of the most valuable historic motor vehicles in the world. The GRRC currently has a waiting list for new members to join, but new applications are welcome.
To join the Goodwood Road Racing Club waiting list visit www.goodwood.com/membership. For customer enquiries, contact the Goodwood Ticket office on +44 (0)1243 755055.
[Source: Goodwood; photos: Tim Scott]