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Goodwood, Touring Automobiles and Tom Walkinshaw

Goodwood, Touring Automobiles and Tom Walkinshaw

Posted by Chris Longmore on 03 Nov 2021

The Goodwood Member’s Conferences are pleasant for all the same old causes related to this well-known venue, getting near unique and uncommon vehicles, attention-grabbing characters each behind the wheel and on the banks at Lavant, and really costly vehicles being pushed to their limits.  A mixture of vehicles and recollections – Goodwood, Touring Automobiles and Tom Walkinshaw – intoxicating.

Goodwood, Touring Cars and Tom Walkinshaw

The sight of the Group One Touring Automobiles within the paddock races me again to the late 70’s and early 80’s, after I used to spend each second weekend at a circuit round Britain.  As my brother Martin pursued his favoured profession, automobile design being a fall again, racing a Method Ford in numerous championships; Donnington Park, Manufacturers Hatch and Silverstone had been as acquainted to me as my dad and mom’ backyard.

The likes of Richard Longman,  Win Percy and Tony Dron, had been names that meant extra to me than James Hunt.  The sight of Richard in his Mini hassling and embarrassing the bigger extra highly effective vehicles was re-enacted at every spherical, and that blend of equipment is dropped at life at Goodwood within the Gerry Marshall Trophy races.

As a teenager it was the paddock within the evenings, assembly drivers and sitting within the vehicles as mechanics labored on them, “as you’re in there, make your self helpful, push the brake”, the place I received probably the most enjoyment.  Listening in on their banter about ‘if solely’, ‘the dearth of sponsorship’ and from the mechanics “he couldn’t drive a nail in a plank” was fascinating and intoxicating.

Seeing the TWR XJR-15s at Goodwood jogged my memory of these conversations as a result of as a rule, speak would finally make reference to Tom Walkinshaw, who was a reasonably fast driver and fairly a personality by all accounts too.  Tales of intrigue about his racing exploits accompanied sizzling cups of tea and bacon butties.  How he would discover a ‘particular’ restricted manufacturing mannequin made for the sand dunes within the desert, it’s notably giant wheel arch inners permitting the touring automobile to run unfeasibly near the bottom, and shifting various vehicles from one warehouse to a different ‘doubling’ manufacturing numbers for compliance with championship entry necessities. True or not now the tales of folklore.

Goodwood, Touring Cars and Tom Walkinshaw

However the success of the person was unquestionable, establishing Tom Walkinshaw Racing in 1975, to construct and run his race vehicles for the touring automobile championship. It went on to turn out to be an extremely profitable racing outfit, together with successful Le Mans in partnership with Jaguar with a automobile designed by Ross Brawn, and even racing Volvo estates – though not a racing success actually a PR one!

The spin off from the racing was manufacturing of efficiency aftermarket elements for highway vehicles such because the Mazda RX7 and extra famously the Jaguar XJR-S, at which level Walkinshaw realised the potential for this service and began TWR Design.  This new design consultancy, with Peter Stevens, attracted one Ian Callum from Ford as designer, and shoppers reminiscent of Volvo, Mazda and HSV all benefiting from their enter, with the Aston Martin DB7 being probably the most prolific mission.  Within the early 90’s I used to be capable of see from the within the work they had been doing, as I supplied alias modelling experience. The shut knit, environment friendly and boisterous group of designers and clay modellers outputting an unbelievable vary of ideas and manufacturing fashions.

As I replicate on the weekend at Goodwood, and evaluation my very own experiences as Drive goes into its twenty fifth 12 months, I can absolutely respect what Tom Walkinshaw achieved, and the way pushed, motivating and enterprise savvy he will need to have been to construct a race group into an organization peaking at round 1500 workers worldwide, that went on to design what is among the most lovely manufacturing vehicles ever.

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Picture Picture credit – Drive | Andy Melville | xjr-15s Robert Denton | GloucesterRugbyHeritage | Volvo Automobile Company



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