Like a getaway scene in an old school Brit bank heist film, Grant Williams drives his 1959 Jaguar Mk1 sedan racer at full tilt and only half in control. It’s well known that drifting and sliding is rarely the fastest way to negotiate a circuit, but at Goodwood you’re rewarded for being memorable. If Grant had simply set his mind to putting up as good a lap time as the old Jag could muster, it’d be lost in a sea of awesome. Arms flailing at the huge steering wheel, a burnout so big the start line is obscured in smoke, and full sideways cornering ensures he’s remembered. He has earned his 15 minutes of fame.
The great thing about vintage racers with fat sidewalls and narrow tires is their ability to show you when the driver is struggling, or intentionally pitching the car wildly about for showmanship. It’s a dance, an art form, and a compromise with the car, where modern drivers seem to muscle and aero their car into submission. In an old Jag, you’ve got to work with, rather than against. Williams gets it right here, it’s a sublime one-minute-plus run.
While “speed” is right in the name of the event, it’s not really about outright speed. It’s about nostalgia and looking cool and having fun. That’s what cars are really about for all of us, isn’t it? This is the vibe that all quasi-vintage events should have. Drivers, don’t take yourself so seriously, just go put on a badass show.