Here’s How You Test A Monstrous Ford GT40 Before It Races At Goodwood
Photography by Jayson Fong
It’s wet, cold, and windy as I arrive at the Goodwood Circuit. Although the conditions make it less than perfect for today’s final test, it is a great chance for Alan Mann Racing drivers Craig and Henry to get some more seat time in the AMR GT40 as preparation for their race at the 74th Goodwood Member’s Meeting this coming weekend—yes, Petrolicious will be there.
As the car lines up waiting for the green light, it starts to pour, and it gets eerily dark. I can’t help but think that with a 460 horsepower GT40, it’s definitely good fortune that neither driver is stranger to historic racing and the availability of angry V8 power at their disposal. Last year at the 6 Hours of Spa Classic I was lucky enough to see Craig battling it out against other GT40s in this very car, finishing a well-fought 6th of 101 finishers. Meanwhile, Henry often finds himself steering the 430 horsepower Alan Mann Mustang, spitting flames at historic race meetings around the UK with multiple trophy victories under his belt. Although he has never raced this particular car, he is clearly well-qualified for the job.
As a result, there’s no hesitation when the light at the end of the pit goes green—the wheels spin, water sprays as the tyres find grip and the sound of that thundery V8 follows the car as it heads down towards Madgewick and out of sight. With most of its teething problems looked at it in earlier tests, keeping the car and the drivers out on the circuit is the order of the day. From the limited comfort of pitlane, the team follows the progress listening to the distant sound of downshifts and roar as the drivers get on throttle and try to stay out of trouble in the pouring rain.
However, it’s far from easy out there. Looking down to the chicane, we occasionally see the car sideways and diving into the small ocean that has managed to form at the start of the straight—a small insight into the conditions further around the track. When the car finally comes in, it is revealed that the conditions are even worse as the drivers can barely see through the smeary windscreen. But it’s obviously an enjoyable experience, the drivers’ large smiles during driver swaps giving the game away.
As the day comes to an end, final thoughts on the car are resoundingly positive with the car reliable and praised for its balance and ability to be controlled when the rear inevitably steps out of line. With race day only a few days away, the car and the drivers seem eager and ready for action. And they’re not the only ones… with a grid full of GT40’s racing into the night, it will certainly be a spectacle to see the AMR GT40 amongst the pack and battling for a trophy so special to the car and the team.
Watch this space for the result as we follow the team’s weekend, and thanks to the magic of the internet, racing at the Goodwood Circuit is also something you can catch on the 74MM livestream.