Art & Revs' GT1s and drivers steal the scene at the Goodwood's 80th Members meeting
When we got a call from Goodwood this winter we couldn’t believe it. « Would you like to bring GT1 cars for demo runs during the Members’ Meeting ? » Sure we would !
We soon decided to bring fours cars from the early 1999 FIA GT Viper GTS-R to the late specification Evolution Saleen S7R. The first demo took place just before the sunset, reviving the Le Mans thrill and provided a photographic nirvana thanks to an incredible light as the sunlight waned. On Sunday morning, the rain stopped just before our run and a large sun warmed the track up.
Both the Saleen and the PlayStation Viper had the chance to be reunited with their period drivers.
Three times Le Mans winner Benoît Tréluyer took the wheel of the car he first drove at Le Mans, the Viper chassis C41. He drove it in 2002 to reach the LM GTS Podium at Le Mans and always describes it as « the car that made me love Le Mans ».
Johnny Mowlem drove for Acemco the Saleen S7Rs from 2004 to 2006 and judging by his beaming smile as he sat in the car, it was truly something special to drive it again. Chassis 029R is the car he drove in the 2004 ALMS and for part of the 2005 season. This car, run privately, was a thorn in the side of the factory Corvettes and their Titanic program.
Art & Revs owner Florent MOULIN decided to witness as a spectator from the pits this memorable week-end and asked the very aimable ALMS ace Marino Franchitti to drive the Pratt & Miller Corvette C5R chassis 007. It was his first experience at the wheel of a « big » GT1 car.
The experienced gentleman driver Mark Sumpter, took the wheel of the 1999 factory Viper GTS-R chassis C20, he is a well known Porsche collector who used to own and race a 996 GT1 and a 962.
The Saleen had the surprise to have the visit from its 2004 Sebring 12 Hours driver David Brabham. David kept a great memory of it and remembered its amazing pace, he kindly signed the car.
All the cars ran faultlessly and we could witness how popular they are. The younger generation for sure like them but the older ones show a real interest for what is a golden area of GT racing. Without doubt these are the future stars of historic racing.
Benoit Treluyer :
« It is really good fun, you really could push very hard. The power, the torque and the handling are amazing, I only forgot about the heat ! It is always a good atmosphere here in Goodwood and I really appreciate to drive the car today. »
Johnny Mowlen :
« Thank you to Florent for letting me drive it, I really could to push it. It is just amazing this classic car event, I came all the way close to the pitwall at fulll speed, just to make sure everyone is awake ! As a private team we battled very hard against the factory Corvettes, I remember outpacing them often and also setting the pole position at Laguna Seca. We could beat the Ferraris, Astons and also the MC12 but these Corvettes were very difficult to catch.»
« It’s cool, I used to raced against these cars and it was interesting to see how the car behaves, so nice instantly. Sounds incredible, sequential box and carbon brakes, once it was warm it was incredible. »
Mark Sumpter :
« The clutch was lighter than I expected and the gear change was very precise. Within a lap or two, after carefully warming the slick tyres, the handling and the chassis inspired confidence.
I can see why these cars were so successful in endurance races. The C20 ORECA Viper has a flexible engine, massive torque and big horsepower, superb brakes and great vision. The car feels extremely well engineered and has a sense of durability.
All in all a great experience and one I am grateful to have had! »