Goodwood 2014: McLaren F1 GTR. This is the kind of thing we came for.

DSC_5630b Museums are okay; sometimes if you want to keep something for people to ogle at for perpetuity, in a climate controlled environment, immaculate but for the gathering of dust, a museum will do the job just fine. Racing cars often end up in museums. It’s a good place for them; after their competition life is over- something which often happens with the phases of the moon as technology develops and competition hardens- a topflight car is often useful to a top-flight team only for a season. After that, it gets sold, either to a team with to low a budget to afford what’s at the cutting edge, or to a collector, who will stick it in a barn with all the others. To have them doing something like this is much better. DSC_5631 This is a McLaren F1 GTR. The Longtail (so named because it has a long tail, though the nose was longer too) was one of the most fearsome beasts ever to be thrown around a racetrack, and in many ways the ultimate development of the F1 in motorsport. You see, as a race car, the F1 suffered a few compromises designed to make it the ultimate road car. To create a machine which could compete with other purpose-built race cars in the upper reaches of the sports-car racing class system, literally everything that made the F1 a sublime road car was done away with, including a capacity change to the engine and the complete abandonment of anything resembling comfort or refinement. And, of course, the bodywork was played around with in the interests of airflow management. It’s a fascinating car, and one that’s so much more interesting here, in three dimensions, with mechanics fiddling with it and looking at telemetry, than when seen on the pages of a glossy magazine or in some dusty corporate collection. And it’s even better when somebody jumps behind the wheel and makes it scream for its life. Your intrepid field reporter came to Goodwood today with an ancient DSLR, a Samsung Galaxy Note and a £300 laptop; hardly the tools of Top Gear, so the resultant video and audio footage I got is grainy, monaural (I assume) and generally lacking the kind of quality we take for granted of Jeff’s Podcasts. But I uploaded it to YouTube and hopefully it conveys how much more real these things are when they perforate your eardrums. [youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=BLhNEBh8e5o[/youtube] Here at Goodwood you get to enjoy these cars in three delicious ways; up close and personal in the paddock, on the big screen as it makes its way up the climb, and in the flesh as it passes you literally twenty feet away with only straw bales between man and machine. DSC_5754 Kenny Brack, the driver, was really, seriously nailing the throttle to the floor in this thing, showing it no mercy whatsoever, and this was reflected in his hillclimb time of 48.29 seconds, one of the fastest times of the day for a non open-wheeler racing class. DSC_5755b I hope to bring more of these rubber-in-the-air thrills to you during the course of the weekend. (Images and video copyright 2014 Chris Haining and Hooniverse)

About RoadworkUK

RoadworkUK is the online persona of Gianni Hirsch, a tall, awkward gentleman with a home office full of gently decomposing paper and a garage full of worthless scrap metal. He lives in the village of Moistly, which is a safe distance from London and is surrounded by enough water and scenery to be interesting. In another life, he has designed, sold, worked on and written about cars in exchange for small quantities of money.

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