Apart from the odd auto solo, the Goodwood Road Racing Club’s Easter Monday Sprint is the only opportunity for most non professional GRRC members to compete against each other.  Even so, this year a fair number of professional drivers were invited to compete including ex Works MG BTCC and Le Mans driver Anthony Reid.

When MG were developing the MG SV Anthony Reid actually tested my car. A photo of him reunited with The Beast was too good an opportunity to miss.

 

This year Anthony was in my class driving a Works Noble M600.

The fabulous looking M600 has carbon fibre bodywork and eschews high tech for simple power, lightness and rear wheel drive.

 

This is the works M600 in which Anthony Reid came close to setting FTD at the Festival of Speed in 2014. On that day and at the Easter Monday sprint, traction proved to be a problem. Getting all that power down cleanly with no traction control was tricky and cost the team vital time.

An eclectic mix of cars took part in the sprint. This Piper Le Mans racer attracted lost of attention. Behind, can be seen “Old Nail” the Vauxhall Droop Snoot Firenza of the late Gerry Marshall.

Its rare to see an X150 Jaguar XKR racing. This neat example entertained the crowd with a howling supercharger

Anthony faced stiff competition for the day’s record time from two Nissan GTR’s, which were also in my class.  The rest of the cars in the class were similarly modern and all were much more powerful than my MG.  The only car with which I could hope to compete was a early Porsche 911 S (997).  Eventually I came out on top in that particular duel but all attention was on the battle for overall (not just the class) fastest time of the day between Anthony’s Noble and the Nissans.  In the end one of the Nissans pipped Anthony to the award.  The fact an amateur driver in a £60,000 car was able to beat a professional racing driver in a £235,000 car was telling.

Another popular entrant was this immaculate BMW CSL racer

 

The British Motor Show may well have died a death but, as capital of Europe’s motor sport industry, Britain can still put on an excellent racing car show. The Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham is the biggest and best motor sport show in Europe catering both to the industry and the general public. As a motor sport licence holder I am able to get a ticket to the trade day on Friday before the show opens to the public at the weekend. Whilst the Friday has a greater focus on engineering than entertainment, the lack of crowds more than compensates.

Even on the Friday there was much to see. At the Autocar Magazine display area there were some fantastic cars including a McLaren MP4 GT racer, a Ferrari F12, a rather bland looking Aston Martin Vanquish and the new Jaguar XKRS -GT. The latter looked striking albeit the paint job and wing looked more Halfords boy race than Le Mans legend.

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Jaguar XKRS-GT – lairy..

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Rather nice carbon ceramic discs. Not sure about the yellow callipers though. Low profile tyres and rock hard suspension will allow this GT to rearrange your spine on England’s terrible roads

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Carbon fibre splitter and fins a bit OTT for me.

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Rear wing apparently very effective but looks like it was purchased at Halfords. Don’t try and look in your rear view mirror either..

The aero mods apparently provide much more down force and the suspension set up has been tweaked to provide a much better handling car. The interior looks good and the car is only going into very limited production. But why would you buy one? At nearly £140,000 it is near the price of an Aston Martin Vantage V12, a no doubt less reliable but far more classy car. And the value of the Jag will drop faster than a rock dropped off a cliff. If speed and performance is what you are after you would no doubt be much better off with a 911 Turbo or (for considerably less) a Nissan GTR.

The Jaguar XKR is a wonderful (if increasingly venerable) GT car. It is fast and comfortable. You can use it every day and when you drive 1000 miles in it you reach your destination feeling like you have only done 10. So why ruin that experience by trying to make the car something it is no – a sports car? Well Jaguar say the XKRS – GT is something of a test bed for the tweaks and changes that they intend to make to their out and out sports car, the F Type. I can’t help feeling that such performance “enhancements” would be much better on that car. So if you crave an extreme Jaguar sports car avoid the XKRS – GT, be patient, and snap up the extra hot iteration of the F Type that is surely coming.