Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009
This was our very 1st visit to Goodwood, a huge thank you to Toyota for giving us the opportunity :)
We arrived on the thursday afternoon for set up day, unloaded the Celica in to its pit garage beside the Lexus LFA and ISF which were our team neigbours for the weekend!
Jonny Milner, twice British Rally Champion was sharing the driving along with Fensport's Adrian Smith, the pair would work together to get the very best performance from the car.
Friday morning was the real start to the weekend and Jonny was first to drive the celica, everyone was a little nervous and didnt know what to expect, the car launched well and soon dissapeared up the hill.....Jonny returned and reported a clean run, and we all waited for the times....and waited....for about 2 hrs!!! hopefully they'll use Javelin next year!!! ....anyway...Jonnys time was 55s and we were........3rd Overall !!! None of us really expected that, but it soon got us focussed and thoughts turned to the next run....Adrian drove the next one and with help and feed back from Jonny set a 53s, unfortunately we actually went down the leaderboard....as Takuma Sato pipped us by a second in a Benetton Ford! Never mind we'll get him tomorrow
Saturday, and we discussed car set up, Adrian wasnt so happy with the car under braking...it was very squirmy and unstable...Jonny wasnt so bothered and went with the same suspension settings and set a 52.8 run in the morning. I changed suspension settings and had a near perfect run untill catching an Audi on its way to tescos at the top of the hill!! and lost 5 or more seconds! After a chat with the race steward, they let us have a re run.... I went even faster but lost a little time at one corner....then completely lost the back end under braking on the right hander just after the wall...even the marshalls were running for cover! Luckily for me, the car was sliding at 90 dgrees towards the gap in the bales...I lost a lot of time but didn't hit anything...and the time was a 53.5...so we knew then the car could go much faster !!!
Sunday morning and we had studied all the split times and worked out a theoretical time of 51.4 and Jonny set off in pursuit of this time and under immense pressure as this was the qualifying run for the afternoons finals! With a little rally driving thrown in, Jonny style and another good run, a 52.7 which qualified us 7th overall!!! we were so happy to have qualified inside the coveted "top ten"
Whilst having lunch, Alan Meaker of Toyo Tires fame came by and I started quizzing him on our Avon slicks! I wasnt happy with the car under braking and as I almost died on the last run the previous day...needed a solution!!! he was sure we were running too much pressure and we decided to take the risk and let them down....with only a short run down to the holding area to get a "feel" for the car it was certainly a risk!
I was much more cautious on the run, thinking there's 50,000 people watching this and I need a safe but fast run...I lost 1/2 second on my best 1st sector and braked a little conservatively at the big braking points, but the car was so much better (thanks Alan ) It was a smooth and controlled run....The cars were run in reverse order and to arrive at the top of the hill and to be told I was no1 will live with me for a long time! Even with a cautious run it was a 51.09
Unfortunately there was a touring car, 3 F1 cars and a Le Mans Jag that got in front demoting us to 6th overall and 2nd in class (yes the Jaguar XJR8/9 was in our class!)
We had a fabulous debut at Goodwood and couldnt ask for more, I know Toyota are extremely pleased with our efforts and wish to thank them once again....oh and beg for another go next year! Jonny and I reckon with a little more time, there's a 49 in the car!!!
Here's a video compilation