REALISATION OF A DREAM
It’s six short years now since Lee Maxted-Page and I met Patrick Peter at the Paul Ricard circuit in France to discuss my concept for a one make series for early 911s. One hour later we had shaken hands on a plan, and one week later we had a signed, two page agreement for a three round series the following year. Nicely done!
As many know, it was not the Goodwood Porsche race in 2015 that inspired me to create our series but an enthusiasm for Porsche fostered as a teenager, watching completely bonkers 964 Supercup races on the early Motors TV satellite channel. However, Goodwood is pretty much my favourite place on Earth and it does mean a great deal to me as somewhere that my enthusiasm for cars has flourished, a multifaceted venue where we can share that pleasure with friends new and old, with a culture that always looks forward creatively, even while revering the past in great style.
It was obvious that the special anniversaries of both Porsche and the 911 this year would present multiple opportunities for the 2 Litre Cup grid to entertain outside the Peter Auto circus, something that has always been key for me as lead promotor. The idea naturally found a warm welcome at Goodwood during discussions in 2022 and I was honoured to be asked to advise the Motorsport Content Team on the composition and style of the grid, ahead of a planned two driver race at this year’s Revival Meeting.
I think it was obvious that we would want to do it in a very ‘Goodwood’ sort of way – the best cars and drivers but also with the unique twist of the first race at Goodwood using synthetic fuels. The support of the teams was key and we must thank all those at Tuthill, Maxted-Page, Historika, Bainbridge and beyond who were so open-minded to the idea.
The 2-litre short wheelbase 911 is a special little car and incredibly flattering and pure to drive, once you understand them. It was wonderful to be able to attract drivers of the calibre of Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Patrick Long and Lars Kern and the owners of the cars were particularly helpful in supporting this – thank you Mark, Bon, David and Max for bringing these four alone.
However, I think a bit like a proud Dad, I was hugely moved that the race was won by an owner driver, followed by two more – Matt Holme (2022 Gentleman driver Champion), James Thorpe (2023 Gentleman pole sitter at Mugello) and William Paul (long-time 2 Litre Cup competitor and multiple Gentleman podium winner) came in 1-2-3, a fine testament to their skills behind the wheel. Matt’s performance in particular to come back from dropping to 7th off the line on the first lap was outstanding.
My race in the Paul Smith car? Ah…. Well, I chose to share with the extremely affable and capable Charlie [Earl of] March, who posted a time in a two hour test (grabbed before he set off to host his Sussex Stakes horse race) that would have qualified us top 15 comfortably; I was hoping myself to put us in the top 10. An engine problem after two laps left us 28th but the brilliant boys at Tuthill fitted a new motor overnight – we could go again!
After a decent start took us to 20th place into the first corner, it all got a bit swervy and then of course there was Richard’s massive accident from which we were all glad to see him stepping away, winded but no more. I pitted after the safety car to hand over to Charlie who had a fine run to 19th place overall and top all-Gent team – not too shabby at all. A fine party (theme: The Party at the End of the Galaxy) finished the day off in suitable style.
Goodwood is all about enjoying yourself. The racing is superb BUT I like to think of the racing as just the cherry on the icing on the cake – what an extraordinary privilege to compete at this, the most stylish of all historic race meetings. Was I frustrated that we did not show better? Yes, but more relieved that our beloved Stripey had acquitted herself so well – as had our host and the future of Goodwood in the co-driver’s seat.
I very much hope that the 2 Litre Cup cars will return to Goodwood soon. They seemed extremely popular with everyone, Porschisti or no, and I think we put on a good show too, with excellent reliability in the race, with just the car (of Porsche GB, ironically) failing – newly crowned Carrera Cup GB Champion Adam Smalley and Festival of Speed outright record holder (and 2.7 RS owner!) Max Chilton deserved far better.
For me, though, I think everyone who has built and supported the 2 Litre Cup over the last six seasons can take pleasure and pride in featuring so strongly at the Revival Meeting. And, massive congratulations to Matt, co-driver and team boss Andrew Jordan and engine-builder Steve Winter, you owe us all a beer – you did us proud!!
photos by: Jordan Butters for Goodwood Road Racing Club and Ralph Bohannon