Every year at the Goodwood Revival I look forward to the absolutely bonkers John Whitmore Trophy race, which is a 45-minute sprint for 1250cc Mini race cars with a mandatory driver change. Some of the most talented racers in the world take part in this race, giving everything they’ve got. It’s full-throttle madness with slipstreaming, four-wheel drifts, and panel banging. It’s everything you want in racing!
The race was obviously live-streamed, but I unfortunately wasn’t around this weekend to watch it go down. A few days ago Goodwood dropped a teaser showing some battle at the front, but five minutes of the 45 minute race is hardly enough. It’s just a taste of the glorious delight that was to come when the full video made its way to the YouTube machine. I wanted to watch stars like Neel Jani, Romain Dumas, Rob Huff, Jean Eric Vergne, and Benoit Treluyer (among others) go at it hammer and tongs on the Goodwood circuit. Now I can finally do just that, and you can, too.
Racing these little machines is a battle between finesse and full-throttle bravery. The rear wheels are merely there to keep the exhaust from dragging on the ground, with all the weight sitting hard over the front axle. Pin the throttle and point it the direction you want to go, and it’ll pretty much make it happen. It’s truly impressive how few gearchanges these racers do in a lap of Goodwood. First gear is really only good for the standing start and taking off from the pit lane, second only happens briefly at the chicane, otherwise it’s flat out from third to fourth. And oh man, do these engines buzz up to high RPM in race trim.
If you want to watch the full race, and you definitely do, you can do that by clicking the play button right here and right now.
Oh baby, I need a nap after watching that display of all-out madness.