Last year saw Roger Clark Motorsport (RCM) set the outright fastest time of the Goodwood Festival of Speed weekend, success the team built upon this year by once again topping the time sheets in their specially prepared Subaru Impreza Time Attack car, Olly Clark powering up the hill in a breathtaking 46.29 seconds.
Many motorsport fans will already be very familiar with RCM and Gobstopper II, it’s been a common sight at Time Attack arounds throughout the UK for a number of years, as well as its fame from last year’s winning time of 44.91 seconds. Though the 2015 run was ultimately faster than last weekend’s assault, the conditions were also significantly hotter and dryer. None of this should take away from the scale of the challenge involved, or the fact that RCM and Olly beat some of the finest names in professional motorsport in the process, including the works McLaren outfit and their specially prepared P1 LM racer.
Though there are clear visual similarities between the car that shot up the hill last year, 2016’s Gobstopper II is actually radically different under the skin – the team at RCM having undertaken an exhaustive development process over the course of the winter months. Gobstopper II’s famous EJ20 ‘boxer’ remains in situ of course, but it’s a new and rebuilt version, one expertly engineered and uprated by Olly’s brother and Chief Engineer, Matt. Fully forged and controlled by a bespoke ECU map courtesy of Paul Blamire, the 2.0 four now runs a fully plumbed in nitrous system. Already comically powerful, the added shove of NOS has the ability to boost power from 860bhp to a certifiable 920bhp, all routed through the Impreza’s appropriately trick array of differentials, before being fed to all four wheels.
Away from the engine, RCM also spent a considerable amount of time perfecting the STi’s chassis, all in an attempt to cut down unsprung weight and increase both mechanical and aerodynamic grip. One-off, forged billet wheels were commissioned and engineered by Team Dynamics, and these were subsequently shod in equally exclusive Pirelli slicks with a super soft compound. Not only were these far lighter and grippier than the rolling stock used in 2015, they were significantly wider – so much so that Gobstopper II grew in width by a significant margin! This increase in size was accompanied by some minor revisions to the STi’s front aero kit, with enlarged canards being the most obvious visual clue.
The cold, damp weather that enveloped Goodwood last weekend ensured that 2015’s time would be out of reach, even with the added performance generated by the development process. Not that this in any way detracted from the calibre of the opposition or the task at hand, the most daunting example of the former being the specially prepared McLaren P1. Built by the works team and driven by 1999 Indy 500 winner Kenny Bräck, the P1 eventually powered up the hill in 47.07 seconds, a time only beaten by a fearless Olly Clark on Sunday. His time of 46.29 seconds was enough to secure RCM’s position at the top of the leaderboard, cementing the team’s stellar Goodwood record and demonstrating once again the skill of all involved.