CHICHESTER, England (March 17, 2023) - Last weekend, Era Motorsport had the honor of competing alongside some of the best drivers around the world in the invite-only 80th Goodwood Members’ Meeting.
The team was invited to participate with not just one, but three historic race cars, competing across two of the coveted competitions of the Members’ Meeting; the Jim Clark Trophy, a race for Mk1 Ford-Lotus Cortinas, and the Moss Trophy, a race for 1958-1962 closed-cockpit GT cars.
For this weekend it would be team-owner Kyle Tilley and Goodwood legend Nic Minassian sharing the Cortina, as two drivers are required for the Jim Clark Trophy. Despite neither driver having practice in the car on this track, the duo proved to hold their own qualifying 11th out of 29 entries.
While qualifying for the Jim Clark Trophy was Saturday, the race would have to wait until Sunday afternoon. With changes made to the car, Tilley started the race, and handed the Cortina off to Minassian to finish.
While there was neck and neck racing all across the track from the record-setting 29 car field, the No. 18 Era Motorsport Cortina entered the final minutes of the race in 14th, but in the final few laps Minassian’s mixture of speed and patience allowed him to step up to tenth place overall.
“Tenth place feels like a victory here,” Kyle Tilley said of the feat. “The field is so stacked with well-developed cars and the best drivers from around the world, I told myself if we finished in the top ten I’d be happy, and that’s what we did.”
“The car was just incredible fun to drive from the second it got on track, our guys in the UK did a fantastic job prepping it.”
Era’s other two cars would both be entered in the Moss Trophy. Tilley would be back behind the wheel of a Lotus, but this time a 1959 Elite, while Dwight Merriman would join him on track in his Aston Martin DB4.
Rain had made the track slick for the start of the qualifying session, and it dried up as the session ran, making conditions tricky to deal with, and unpredictable.
This worked well to the benefit of Tilley’s Elite, as the 113 horsepower coupe was much more manageable compared the 400 horsepower beasts it was against on track, and Tilley was able to hold a top ten position for most of the qualifying session despite the massive power deficit.
In the race itself Tilley pushed the Elite as hard as possible, and while overall the No. 18 Elite fell back to 19th of 29 starters, Tilley was able to finish as the second fastest of the six Elites, marking himself as a true threat as the car continues to be developed through the Era Motorsport UK shop.
“The Moss Trophy was a really fun race,” said Tilley, “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to compete against the Cobras and the E-Types in our Elite, but we were able to put down some good lap times, and learn what we need to do to get our fleet in better shape for next time, which was part of why we wanted to run them in the first place.”
“Overall I could hardly ask for a better event. Goodwood’s not just about getting in the car and trying to win a race, it’s really a celebration of motorsport, and it’s honestly one of the highest honors just to be invited.”
Unfortunately, Merriman’s race was brought to an early end when the left front hub failed. Luckily the damage to the car was minor, and Merriman was able to maneuver the car off the track without further incident.
Despite this, Merriman was unfazed, and only had positive things to say of his Goodwood experience, “Goodwood is such an amazing experience,” he said. “Whether driving or watching, I'm always thankful when I visit that such a place still exists in the racing world.”
Era Motorsport will return to Goodwood later in the year for the Goodwood Revival Festival, where they hope to see further success as they continue to grow their passion for all things historic racing.