Australian historic racing car driver, Ron Goodman, has been racing for a long time, but there’s been one event that he has dreamt about winning, and that’s the Rolex Motorsport Reunion at Monterey.
After numerous attempts and a documentary in 2015, Goodman and his team achieved this goal at Laguna Seca two weeks ago. We caught up with him on the CarAdvice podcast, which you can hear the full interview at the bottom of the page.
CarAdvice: Congratulations on your win!
Ron Goodman: We’re still on a high from it. We’ve been going there for five years and always get a second. I think the guys were more excited than me. Anyone would think we had just won lotto the way they were throwing their hands in the air. They were pretty happy.
In your Porsche 356, you were up against some fast and very expensive cars out on the track.
How did you perform on the track in the lead up to taking the win?
The earlier races, we had a problem with the carburetor, so we didn’t get to qualify for the pre race, and so we had to start rear of the field. After that qualifying, we ended up 15th, then the second qualifying race we finished fourth, and that’s where we went from fourth to first in the 25-minute race.
How intense and hard is the racing over there?
Oh, it’s intense. I think the only drawback it has is, whether you’re in the right or in the wrong, if you have a crash with them, you’d be in the wrong. It’s not something you want to run into.
When I’ve come up to pass them, especially the Ferrari, you give as much room as you possibly can. I don’t want to be known as the one to run into a Ferrari.
What’s it like to race down the famous corkscrew on the Laguna Seca track?
That is one of the best things I’ve ever gone through. You come in completely blind, on the brakes, you turn left, then you just accelerate, and the car just drops away. There’s no road you can see – there’s nothing. It’s unexplainable.
The later model Porsche 356 came out with a 1600cc engine. Are you still running that in yours, and if so, how are you beating the likes of a Ferrari?
We still run the 1600 engine, but we’ve changed the internals. We’ve had pistons, conrods and the crank made and have spent a lot of money.
The rules to historic racing are very stringent. They go right over the cars, and our car is completely built to the rules.
You obviously don’t want to rub paint while racing, but what’s the sportsmanship like once you get out of the cars if an issue does arise?
We had one guy in one of the earlier races that nearly took us out, and he went onto the dirt and ended up getting black flagged. Later he came up and apologised and said he had a brain fade and just wanted to get past me.
The racing is tough, but it’s not like the British Touring Cars, where it’s vicious.
You were the only Australian in the Monterey race, amongst a field of Americans. Do you see a difference in how the Americans race compared to Australians?
Americans are a bit more ‘showy’ on the California side. We call it Hollywood racing. They still like to win, but we are showing them now that they can’t always win!
How do Monterey and Bathurst compare?
I think Monterey is bigger because it’s historic racing, but Bathurst you can’t beat. Everyone loves Bathurst. But until you’ve had the chance to experience the pair of them, I think Monterey is better.
Is there another car that you’re working on or is there one that you hold in similar esteem to the 356?
I’m taking my other 356 Cabriolet over to Rennsport, and we’ve just about completed a Porsche 906 that’s going to be my next Australian race car. No doubt it will turn a few heads when we take it out.
You’ve lived the dream of winning at Monterey. What’s next for you?
We’re getting ready for Eastern Creek in October, then the support race at Bathurst in February. Also, the Concourse in the US next year and Monterey again, and Rennsport. The latter will be an exciting one for us because that’s what I have wanted to do.
Listen to the CarAdvice team talk to Ron Goodman below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.