The Earl of March has confirmed that the legendary 201mph Triumph TR8 Turbo Le Mans entrant will feature at this years Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The massive West Sussex event takes place on the Sprint sections of the Goodwood Estate during the weekend 23rd - 26th June 2016. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is widely regarded as the worlds greatest celebration of motor sport heritage and culture on the planet and regularly attracts over 200,000 visitors each year and over 650 international media guests.
The Earl of March said, "The theme for this year's Festival of Speed will be 'Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power'. Each year we find a new way of exploring the thrilling past, present and future of the automotive world – the focus on power could make for an even more explosive spectacle than ever."
The theme includes a celebration of Group 5, which the Triumph TR8 Le Mans car ran in when it entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in 1980. Co-entered under the name of Janspeed / ADA / TR Register it was to be the first Triumph seen at Le Mans in 19 years on the first ever entry in the 24 hour race at La Sarthe by a single marque car club.
Alec Pringle, from the TR Register was instrumental in bringing together the joint entry at the time and recalls the massive effort to raise funds for the car, "In the dying days of Triumph so many TR enthusiasts around the world rallied to the cause and chipped in to help the last TR make it to Le Mans. Yours truly sold his TR6 in order to stump up our share of the entry fee, 25% of the sale proceeds went in the pot."
The project however was ill - fated , failing to qualify in 1980 it returned in 1981 following testing by Derek Bell and racing at the Silverstone 6 hour race, only to be withdrawn after a heavy crash that could not be repaired in time. It returned for the last time in 1982 but was withdrawn for the final time due to lack of funds.
All agree that the potential of the car was awesome and given larger funding, who knows what it could have achieved. Janspeed developed the Rover V8 engine with twin Rotomaster Turbo-chargers fed through SU carburettors providing monstrous power in excess of 500 bhp reigned in by Formula 1 grade brakes. It was clocked at over 200mph on the Mulsanne straight in 1980 before suffering drive shaft vibrations as well as a host of other niggles.
The car currently resides in Belgium where its devoted owner Bert Smeets has previously invested much money, time and effort into restoring the car to its current, glorious state. Bert Smeets still retains ambitions of driving the car in competition once again and this very special and unique opportunity to see the car at Goodwood Festival of Speed feels like a step closer to that dream becoming reality.
Last seen in the UK at a private testing session at Silverstone in 2009, this is a rare opportunity to get up close to a true legend, the fastest TR on the planet and a car worthy of unbridled support from the TR Register.
We will be following the story and catching up with Bert Smeets to talk about the car in the coming weeks leading up to the Goodwood Festival of Speed so watch this space for more articles and news both online and in TR Action Magazine.
To buy your tickets to see the car at the event, please visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed pages here.
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