Through this gripping six-lap duel, we get to witness some of the tactics used to keep a hard-charging competitor behind when lap times are nearly identical. Rob Hall and Mike Jordan, both in gleaming GT40s, slither around at real speed thanks to screaming V8s all pushing out something in the neighborhood of 500 horsepower. As the tires aren’t really capable of using this grunt except for when the car is completely straight, the way these two drivers manipulate their machines mid-corner make a massive difference in their straight line performances along the fast, flowing Goodwood Circuit.
Jordan’s been a big GT racer for over thirty years; winning races in the British Touring Car Championship as well as British GT, among others. Hall’s been at it for nearly forty; also running in the British Touring Car Championship before he got a real taste of the older stuff. Since the nineties, both have been sliding vintage machinery around wet English tracks and their comfort in lousy conditions is clear through this footage.
Jordan’s able to bend his tires’ thick sidewalls in relentless pursuit of Hall, who keeps his blue GT40 positioned in just the right spot to keep Jordan, despite being faster in some sections, behind. Though Hall’s arguably a little smoother and neater, you can still see him shimmying away through all corners, both fast and slow. Note the difference in the cars’ behavior at the Woodcote at 1:08. While Hall avoids the curbs on turn-in and puts the power down with a smaller twitch at the rear, Jordan nips the inside tire on the curb, pivots through the middle of the corner, and lays black stripes as goes to full-power. There, Hall’s tidiness helps maintain the gap.
However, Jordan’s aggressive style pays off in the chicane preceding the Goodwood start finish straight. As he flicks the car in through the middle of the right-left chicane (1:17), he rotates his GT40 faster, so he’s a bit straighter much sooner, which helps him floor the throttle just a hair sooner. With nearly 500 horsepower available, a second-long delay makes a major difference; note how he can lead Hall into the Goodwood fast, double-apex called Madgwick (1:27) at the end of the following straight.
But Hall’s defensive game is second-to-none. With an earlier release of the brakes, he noses into the middle of the fast corner and gives Jordan a rapidly shrinking piece of real estate to play on. All Hall must do is keep his minimum speeds up and, due to his clever car placement, the corner is usually his.
His changes in line are simple. Hall’s able to run just a slightly tighter line to keep the door closed, without losing much ground on the exit; turning in just a little earlier and a little less assertively than the man behind. This occasionally causes Hall to lock a front wheel as the platform is slightly unbalanced on entry, but only towards the end of this dice do we see Hall running wide (6:05). For the rest of the race, his composure and controlled inputs allow him to stay one step ahead.
Beautiful driving by both. If you enjoyed these GT40’s battling it out, then check out Jim Pace driving a GT40.