Under the regulations at the time, prototype racers were limited to 3-litre engines, but ‘production’ cars – of which at least 25 examples had to be built – were allowed to use 5-litre units. This loophole was included to allow cars like the Ford GT40 to continue racing but, against the expectations of the governing body, manufacturers exploited it, building production runs of what were, in effect, full-blown prototypes with 5-litre engines.
The result was cars like the legendary Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512, which were immortalised in Steve McQueen’s cult classic movie, Le Mans.
The Members’ Meeting will celebrate this iconic era of sportscar racing with a special high-speed demonstration on the Goodwood Motor Circuit.
Created by Goodwood owner Lord March, to recreate the atmosphere and camaraderie of the original BARC Members’ Meetings held at Goodwood Motor Circuit from 1949-66, the event conjures up some of the most evocative sights and sounds from the golden era of motor racing.
A total of 16 Group 5 cars will take part in the high-speed demonstration, which will give visitors a real sense of the brutal power and immense speed of these machines.
The line-up will include at least six Porsche 917s, including the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and examples in the iconic Martini and Gulf liveries. Historic racer David Piper will drive the 917 he raced in period.
Five Ferrari 512s will also take to the track, including examples of the 512S and 512M derivatives, as well as a low-drag ‘Coda Lunga’, designed to maximise straightline speed on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans. Four Lola T70 Mk3Bs will also be featured, including the car raced by ex-F1 racer Jo Bonnier.
Richard Attwood, who won the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Porsche 917, will attend along with 1969 victor Jackie Oliver – both legends of the Group 5 era.
A packed, two-day programme for the 74th Members’ Meeting will feature 12 races for vehicles ranging from Edwardian leviathans to 1970s Grand Prix motorcycles. There will also be demonstration runs covering two other celebrated motorsport periods – ground effect Formula 1 cars from 1977-82, and Super Touring cars of the 1990s.
A vast array of top racing drivers from past and present will battle it out on track but, unlike most race meetings, will score points for four ‘houses’ captained by:
- Former Super Touring ace Anthony Reid
- Le Mans legend Emanuele Pirro
- Ex-Formula 3000 race-winner and world-class sportscar racer Nicolas Minassian
- Ex-F1 race and Le Mans 24 Hours winner Jochen Mass