Peter Hardman denied second RAC TT at Goodwood Revival

September 20th 2009

Star Goodwood Revival competitor Peter Hardman was denied back-to-back wins in the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy this weekend when the 1964 “Low drag” Ferrari 250 GTO he was driving retired with just laps to go. Having taken over from co-driver Jean-Marc Gounon 38 minutes into the race, Hardman took the lead at the start of his second lap and was building a good gap when the car suffered an electrical failure and Peter rolled into the pit lane with a dead engine.

Now in its 12th year, the Goodwood Revival is the world’s premier historic motor racing event, and the RAC TT 1-hour race is the blue ribbon event. Peter has been a competitor every year at Goodwood. He has achieved multiple wins over the past 11 years including several other podium finishes, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he won the coveted RAC Tourist Trophy—driving the same 1963 Ferrari 330 LMB that he had driven every year prior—and took the Driver of the Meeting award. Peter was very hopeful that 2009 would see him defend his 2008 RAC TT win, but this time in a different Ferrari.
 “I was so happy to be back at Goodwood and the Revival, and especially excited and honoured to be driving Sir Anthony Bamford’s 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO for the first time. Driving with Jean-Marc was an education for me, and he drove a brilliant first stint,” said Peter. “It was very disappointing for all of us to be let down by the car after such a great race.”

After qualifying the 250 GTO second behind the Ferrari 330 LMB Peter drove to his 2008 win—driven this year by Bobby Verdon-Roe/Emanuele Pirro—Jean-Marc started the 2009 race, with the Bobby Rahal/Adrian Newey Jaguar “Lightweight” E-type lining up 3rd. Having made a great start, it wasn’t long before both the GTO and the Jaguar got past Pirro in the LMB. The race then quickly became a battle between Jean-Marc and Rahal as they easily pulled clear of Pirro.
“Jean-Marc drove exceptionally well—he’s very comfortable in the car,” said Peter. Swapping the lead a number of times with Rahal, Jean-Marc pitted barely in 2nd place at 38 minutes, and the driver change went smoothly. Rahal pitted a lap later and Adrian Newey took over. As Newey rejoined from the pits, Peter passed him and took the lead into turn one, Madgwick corner.

“It’s always great to take the lead. I came up on traffic for the next two laps but got through well and was able to pull further ahead of Adrian,” said Peter. “I think I’d widened the lead to about six seconds, on my fourth lap, when the car started to misfire and slow coming down the back straight. Then the engine cut out and I was freewheeling through the chicane. I made the pit lane but I knew our race was over. All I could think was, damn what a shame!”
 The Rahal/Newey Jaguar went on to take the chequered flag for the win, with Bobby Verdon-Roe a distant second just ahead of the Rick Hall/Andy Wolfe AC Cobra in third.
“It was such a shame, but Jean-Marc drove a great race, and I was pleased to drive as well as I did in my first race in the GTO. Andy Newall of Gelscoe Motorsport, who runs the car, and all the lads at Gelscoe did a great job preparing and running the car throughout the weekend, so it was such a shame for them too. We all wanted to win so badly. But there’s always next year.”

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Photo credits – Jeff Bloxham, Catherine Streeter

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