Historic Motorsport: Aston Martin Valkyrie test driver joins Formula Junior

Former McLaren chief test driver Chris Goodwin, now of Aston Martin, is adding Formula Junior alongside his £3m hypercar development duties

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Chris Goodwin, formerly chief test driver for McLaren road cars, has joined the Formula Junior grid this season in a 1962 Lotus 22.

The seasoned racer, who currently still competes in a McLaren 650S GT3 alongside Top Gear presenter Chris Harris in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, recently moved to Aston Martin to play a leading role in the development of the £2.5million Valkyrie hypercar. But he still loves to race historic cars in his spare time.

Goodwin has followed his father Tony into Formula Junior as Goodwin senior raced this type of car in the 1960s and raced a Lotus 20B in the Far East in 1965 and 1966. Tony is the president of the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association.

'I bought it as they are great looking cars and the racing is terrific,' said Chris. 'You can race against some great people on some great circuits. Previously I’d done one Formula Junior race at Goodwood in a borrowed car. I just enjoy driving the cars and I get a lot out of driving the cars of the 1960s.'

After a gearbox problem thwarted his first event in the new car at Donington Park in April, he returned for the Donington Historic Festival to take two top six finishes in a strong rear-engined field.

His Lotus 22 was bought from America last year and rebuilt for racing by Andrew Hibberd. Prior to Goodwin’s recent races, the car had not been entered in Europe since the 1960s.

Goodwin also has a Lotus 23B sports-racer which he races occasionally, but hopes to concentrate on the Formula Junior this season subject to work commitments.

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Hamilton turns back the clock

British Le Mans racer Robin Hamilton was reunited with his 1977 Aston Martin DBS V8 at Donington Park recently.

The 1977 car has been restored for Paul Chase-Gardner who plans to race it at the Le Mans Classic in July. Hamilton was invited to sample the car during a shakedown run, 37 years after he last drove a racing car.

'I was rather nervous about driving it again, but it felt very much like the original, still difficult to drive, especially for 24 hours. But it’s a real credit to Paul and Aston Engineering for the superb rebuild,' he said.

'I worked on the car when it was originally built in the 1970s and it has been put back to as near the original Le Mans specification as we can,' said Aston Engineering’s David Jack. Hamilton, Mike Salmon and David Preece finished 17th in the 1977 race.

Taking a Scarab back to the USA

Julian Bronson is planning to take his front-engined Scarab Formula 1 car to North America next season for a summer tour of major historic racing festivals.

Recently retired after 44 years in the forklift truck business, the Bristol racer will now take the 1960 Offenhauser-powered US-built Grand Prix back to America.

'We’ll pick up a truck and tour round,' said Bronson who has made the Scarab a winner with the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association over the last three or four seasons.

To keep his hand in, Bronson is having a Jaguar E-type built by Valley Motorsport, which he will race in the UK and Europe during breaks in the American schedule.

Walker rebuilds after scary Escort roll

Rally driver Alan Walker has already started the rebuild of his Ford Escort Mk2 after it was heavily damaged on the Pirelli Rally last month. The car cartwheeled in a Kielder ditch and was later t-boned by the Hillman Avenger of Eliot Retallick.

Walker immediately received offers of help and parts from fellow competitors and hopes to have it repaired in time for the Carlisle Stages or Red Kite Stages in June.

'It could have been a lot worse and I’ve had offers of help from people like Ben Friend, Will Onions, Rob Smith and Ieuan Rowlands,' said Walker. 'I should get all the parts I need fairly quickly.'

British GT driver O'Brien gets a taste of the oldschool

British GT racer Michael O’Brien hopes to race a Formula Junior Lotus 20 later this season.

O’Brien, who raced in Historic Formula Ford last season, will race the ex-Alastair Pike car, which is now owned by his father Mike. The car is now prepared by their Silverstone-based Speedsport operation.

O’Brien had his first test in the car recently and would have liked to race it at the Silverstone Classic, but that date clashes with the British GT race at Spa-Francorchamps.

'I would like to race it and it’s a very tidy car,' said the McLaren GT4 driver, who is part of the McLaren Driver Development Programme.

Ypres historics gets reshuffle

Ypres Historic Rally competitors will be closer to the action on the 2018 event, as they join the rest of the main field in the Ypres town centre for servicing. Previously the historics had been separated, servicing in a town three miles north of Ypres. Now the historic field will be next to the Menin Gate for the June 21-23 event. 

Clarkson drops down the food chain

Chris Clarkson made his Mini racing debut at the Donington Historic Festival while his Ford Falcon is repaired after being damaged at Silverstone. The experienced historic sportscar racer had a Mini as his first road car but made his Mini race debut by sharing the Cooper S of Richard Dodkins in the Coys Trophy. They retired mid-race in the 45-minute two-driver race.

HSCC Escort anniversary celebrations

Entries have opened for the Historic Sports Car Club’s dedicated Ford Escort races at Brands Hatch on Sunday September 23, marking 50 years since the launch of the Ford Escort Mk1. Subject to entry levels, one race will be dedicated to Mk1 Escorts and the other race will be for Mk2s and Mk3s, along with other cars by invitation.

Lotus 11 heaven

Seasoned historic touring car racer Richard Postins teamed up with Italian racer Andrea Stortoni to share a 1957 Lotus 11 in the Stirling Moss Trophy at Donington. In Postins’ first race out of a tin-top, they finished fifth in class in Stortoni’s car, which is run from the UK by Andy Wolfe. They were formerly rivals in the U2TC series.

Like father, like son

James Hadfield, son of historic racer and preparation ace Simon, has started racing a Ford Mustang. He shared the car at Donington with Paul Friedrichs, son of Wolfgang who regularly shares cars with Hadfield senior. 'We are building a fresh Mustang and so we’re learning with this car, which is on loan from a customer,' said Hadfield.

HGPCA gets a new boss

Peter Horsman has been appointed chairman of the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association. Horsman, who races a Lotus 18/21, has won many HGPCA races over the last decade and takes over from long-standing chairman Barry Cannell, who retired from the role due to expanding business commitments. The HGPCA was first formed in 1980 and promotes races for Grand Prix cars up to 1965.

Bumper FF2000 entry

Benn Simms and Nelson Rowe head an overflowing Historic Formula Ford 2000 entry for the HSCC meeting at Cadwell Park this weekend. With current champion Andrew Park absent, Simms, Rowe and Ian Pearson (Royale RP30) head the 30-car field, which includes four reserves.

Volvo Amazon tops the pile

As the only crew to score on all three rounds to date, Volvo Amazon-mounted Ken Davies and Alan Jones are currently leading the Welsh Historic Rally Championship. Following the cancellation of the Mid Wales Stages, the reserve event of the Red Kite Stages on June 24 now becomes round five.

Images courtesy of Paul Lawrence and LAT

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