As major sponsors for the second consecutive year, JD Classics return this year to Goodwood Revival after a very successful 2015 meeting. This year a five car line-up, both the 1954 Cooper T33 and 1965 Jaguar Lightweight E-Type are returning to defend their 2015 Freddie March Memorial Trophy and RAC TT Celebration respective victories. With their Costin Lister, Austin Healey 100S and Ford GT40 completing the team, JD Classics hope to replicate the success of last year’s event.
JD Classics’ distinctive 1956 Fiat Bartoletti transporter will also be on static display throughout the weekend. Previously owned by Scarab Racing and Carroll Shelby, the racing transporter takes pride of place at Goodwood Revival in its original blue livery. Also on display as part of this year's Earls Court Motor Show was JD Classics' 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV with this year's show celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Italian marque.
The 1965 Ford GT40 was the first of the JD team to qualify with Chris Ward behind the wheel on Friday afternoon. The newest addition to the JD Classics competition cars, the qualifying session allowed the team to familiarise themselves with the car ahead of Saturday afternoon’s race. Once the 15 minute session had come to an end, the JD Classics GT40 had qualified in 8th place.
With little time to waste, the Cooper T33 of Derek Hood and Austin Healey 100S of John Young were next out to qualify in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy. Both running consistently throughout the session, the Cooper T33 and Austin Healey 100S completed qualifying in 17th and 13th place respectively.
A 25 minute two-driver session, the RAC TT Celebration is the most contended race of the weekend with all competing cars eager to take the most prestigious title of the weekend. Having dominated the RAC TT field in 2015, the lightweight Jaguar E-Type of Chris Ward and Gordon Shedden was back to defend their coveted title. Chris Ward took the first stint of the session and confidently stormed the E-Type into third place before coming in to hand over to Gordon. With just over ten minutes left of the session, the gap between the top four cars was less than a second as they all vyed for the top spot. Conditions continued to prove problematic as by this time the track had become covered in oil creating slippery areas of which many competitors fell victim to. In spite of this, the JD Classics E-Type continued the momentum and secured pole position in first practice by 0.115 of a second ahead of the second placed AC Cobra. With a second qualifying session to complete on Saturday morning, the team were hopeful of another strong performance from the E-Type.
Last but not least to make its way onto the iconic Goodwood circuit was the JD Classics Costin Lister with another drive for JD Classics’ resident driver Chris Ward. Having put in a dominating performance with the Lightweight E-Type just 30 minutes previous, the session got underway. Despite achieving some consistently competitive times, the Lister’s progress was hampered by traffic and as the session progressed into its latter stages it looked like the JD Lister would have to settle for 4th place. Finding some clear track on the penultimate lap, the Lister put in a storming time to qualify in a well-deserved pole position ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Sussex Trophy race.
With all five cars having run in qualifying, the JD Classics team now set to work preparing the cars for another day of on-track action.
Heavy rain made on track conditions difficult for Saturday’s programme of racing meaning by the time the JD Classics E-Type went out for the RAC TT Celebration’s second qualifying session, there was a lot of standing water on track making conditions treacherous.
Having completed Friday’s practice session at the front of the grid, the team were hopeful for a repeat performance. With many drivers choosing not to participate in the second session due to the worsening weather conditions, the lightweight E-Type continued regardless with Chris Ward first to take to the driving seat. The Cobra of Andrew Smith and Ollie Bryant proved to be the main competition with both cars stealing the pole from one another with increasingly quicker lap times. Having come runner up to the JD Classics car in 2015, the Cobra looked set to give the E-Type a run for its money in 2016. With ten minutes of the session remaining and currently running in pole, Chris Ward came in to pass the drive over to Gordon Shedden. Continuing the tussle with the advancing Cobra all the way to the finish line, the Lightweight E-Type claimed pole just over a second ahead of the second placed Cobra. Combining both results from the two qualifying sessions meant the AC Cobra of Smith and Bryant will start Sunday afternoon's race in 4th place with the JD Lightweight E-Type sitting on the front row in first place.
As the day progressed so the weather continued to worsen with many of the day’s on track demonstrations cancelled due to the level of standing water on track and subsequently bringing the afternoon’s racing forward. The 25 minute Whitsun Trophy looked set to be an exciting tussle of the 29 strong field of pre 1966 sports prototypes lining up on the grid. Having qualified 8th on the grid on its first competitive JD Classics racing, the team were keen to see how the car would perform under such treacherous conditions. A storming start by Chris Ward saw him move up into 3rd place by the second corner, however a wet patch of track caused the GT40 to go wide and slip back into 8th position. This however failed to hamper the GT40 for long as lap by lap it made up lost time to move back up into 3rd place and achieve a fastest lap by the end of Lap 5.
Continuing with its charge, the JD Classics car continued to make good progress, however traffic from backmarkers saw the GT40 lose a position and slip into 4th. As the 25 minute race reached its latter stages, Chris Ward maintained position under some difficult conditions to cross the finish line in a respectable 4th place with just 5.5 seconds separating the top four.
With no time to rest on their laurels, the Austin Healey of John Young and the Cooper T33 of Derek Hood were next out on track for the Freddie March Memorial Trophy. Siting on the grid in 13th and 17th place respectively, the Cooper T33 got off to a flying start as it darted down the middle of the field and up into 11th place. By the end of the first lap the Cooper had maintained its positioning while the Austin Healey had also made up 4 places and was currently running in 8th.
For the next few laps, both cars maintained good momentum with the Cooper gaining another place by the end of Lap 2. Falling victim of the weather conditions, the Maserati 300S of Conrad Ulrich suffered an accident on Lap 5 which saw the safety car deployed. With the field now closed up again and the stranded car recovered from the track, the race resumed. As the field continued to surge towards the chequered flag, another two accidents in quick succession meant the race was cut short by 5 minutes. A strong race for both cars, the Austin Healey 100S and Cooper T33 finished the race in 7th and 8th place.
Sunday’s action got underway in conditions a far cry from the previous day as bright, warm and sunny conditions doused the vast Goodwood circuit. The highlight of the weekend, the RAC TT Celebration race took place on Sunday afternoon with the JD Classics E-Type sitting on pole position ahead of the start of the 60 minute two-driver race. With the crowds heaving in anticipation, the field pulled away from the start line with Chris Ward leading the 27 car grid down into Madgwick. With four Cobras hot on his heels, the Lightweight E-Type remained undeterred having built up an 8.3 second lead over the field within the first 15 minutes and was now working his way through the backmarkers. With the pit window now open, the team took the decision to bring the E-Type in for driver changeover early on. With a quick checkover and Gordon Shedden now behind the wheel, the E-Type rejoined the race in 5th place. As the charge continued, a two car accident meant the safety car was soon deployed allowing the field to close up once again. After ten minutes and two retrieved cars, racing resumed as there was a mad dash into the pits as drivers completed changeovers before the pit window closed. Proving their early stop strategy to be a wise one, the JD E-Type took full advantage as it gradually made its way back up to 2nd place behind the Lightweight E-Type of Ollie and Sam Hancock. Despite the six second time difference, Shedden was on the move as he hunted down the front running car. With its rival E-Type making a last minute driver changeover, so it allowed the JD car to return to its original front sitting position. With no time to rest on his laurels, Gordon Shedden faced pressure from the now second placed Cobra of David Hart and Giedo van der Garde. Now into its last 15 minutes, the Cobra continued its pursuit moving up into the lead when the E-Type ran wide at Woodcote. With just 7 minutes left the Cobra continued to hold strong however the pressure of the JD car meant the gap remained under a second between the two cars. With a nail biting two minutes remaining, the Lightweight E-Type saw its opportunity as the two cars ran side by side down into Lavant 2. With the Cobra succumbing to the pressure and swerving off into the grass, the Jaguar E-Type came home to an exciting but nerve wracking and very well-deserved victory the second consecutive year in the celebrated RAC TT Celebration.
The final race of the weekend, the Sussex Trophy saw the best of the 1950s sports cars line up behind the JD Classics Costin Lister. With Chris Ward in his final race of a very busy weekend, the field consisting largely of Lotus’s Lister’s and D-Types were led away from the start line as Chris Ward got off to a good start making the most of the Lister’s inside line down into the first corner. The Sadler Chevrolet MK3 of Julian Majzub was soon hot on the JD car’s heels, however a spin into Woodcote meant the Chevrolet lost position and the leading Lister made good its escape. With the Chevrolet now further down the field, it was the turn of the now second placed Lister Knobbly of Gary Pearson to apply the pressure as he narrowed the gap to just 0.2 seconds between the two front running sports cars. Responding to the pressure, Chris Ward achieved the fastest lap on Lap 4 and subsequently increased the lead slowly but surely as the 25 minute race progressed. Successfully negotiating the potential dangers of overtaking backmarkers, the race entered its latter stages and with just 8 minutes left, Chris and the Lister were now maintaining the lead by just under 4 seconds. With just minutes left of the race an accident between a Cooper Climax and Costin Lister resulted in the safety car being deployed. Despite closing up the field and bridging the gap between the two front running cars, the chequered flag fell behind the safety car awarding the JD Classics team their second victory of the weekend.