11 July, 2003 - Cars bearing the Ford name have been thrilling motorsport fans for over 100 years, and at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed many famous examples of racing Fords from all eras are helping celebrate Ford’s centennial on the famous hillclimb track.
Representing the early years are three Model T Racers, typical of the type built by countless mechanics when their Model T Tourer had outlived its original purpose. The Formula Fords of their day, thousands of these lightweight Model Ts were built and raced, mostly on dry lakes and dirt tracks around the world, and some are still raced today.
Ford’s domination of the Le Mans 24-hour race in the late Sixties is symbolised by the three GT40s that finished first, second, and third in the 1966 event. A Ford Mark IV and an F3L are also appearing along with two special Ford-powered AC Cobras - a "flip-top" model and a Daytona Coupe.
Several historic Ford rally cars are tearing up the track, including the 1953 Monte Carlo winning Zephyr. The Mk 1 Escort that Hannu Mikkola drove to victory in the 1970 World Cup Rally is being driven by Malcolm Wilson, managing director of M-Sport, while Hannu himself is driving the current World Rally Championship Focus. The sole surviving GT70 in competition trim is making its second Goodwood appearance.
Two significant Ford hill-climbers - an RS200 that Malcolm Wilson once drove at the famous Pikes Peak event in the USA, and Herbert Stenger’s dramatic 1976 twin-turbo Zakspeed Capri are making their mark.
As usual, Ford-Cosworth powered Grand Prix cars dominate the Goodwood single-seater paddock. Sir Jackie Stewart is driving a 1970 Tyrrell 001, just one of 15 Ford-powered Formula One machines from Jordan, Tyrrell, Cosworth, McLaren, March, Lotus and Williams. Ford president and chief operating officer, Ford of Europe, Martin Leach will take the wheel of Sir Jackie’s 1970 March.
The NASCAR and Trans-Am racing classes feature more Ford-powered big bangers. Trans-Am cars include Tommy Kendall’s 1997 Mustang, which is the sister car to the one Paul Newman drove to victory in the 1997 Championship, while Ron Huber’s mighty Taurus and Gene Felton’s Torino represents NASCAR.
Among the fastest European Ford saloons are Andy Rouse’s championship winning Sierra RS500, a BTCC Mondeo, and the 1972 Cologne RS Capri which made its Goodwood debut in 2001.
The calibre of Ford cars listed deserves an equal calibre of driver. This year a long list of distinguished Ford drivers at Goodwood includes Jack Sears, Frank Gardner, Sir John Whitmore, David Pearson, Alan Mann, Herbert Stenger, Alan Jones, Ralph Firman, Sir Jackie Stewart, Jackie Oliver, Jochen Mass, Andy Rouse, Sir Jack Brabham and David Piper.Published 15 July 2003