TIGOSE AGM and Dinner – Guest Speaker Tony Southgate
40 Members and friends attended the TIGOSE AGM and Dinner at Whittlebury Hall on 28th November. It was a great evening with guest speaker TIGOSE President Tony Southgate.
Tony related some stories from his long and successful career, during which he has designed some of the great racing cars of the 70s, 80s and 90s. He is the only designer whose cars have won motor racing’s triple crown: the Indianapolis 500, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The Early Years – Lola and BRM
Tony started his motor sport career with Lola and Eric Broadley. After a successful time in the US with Dan Gurney’s Anglo America Racers, where he had the success of designing AAR’s Indianapolis cars, he returned to the UK moving to the wilds of Lincolnshire with BRM. He worked with Raymond Mays, Louise Stanley and Tony Rudd to design what he considered one of his most beautiful cars – the BRM P160. This wonderful car achieved great success with Pedro Rodriguez, Jo Siffert and Peter Gethin, whilst Jean-Pierre Beltoise won the 1972 Monaco GP for BRM in P160.
More Formula 1 Designs and the Ford RS200 Rally Car
After leaving BRM, Tony designed several other F1 cars for the likes of Shadow, Arrows, Lotus, Theodore and others, before was invited to join Ford to design a Group C car. It was while at Ford that Tony was involved with the car he found the most challenging – the Ford RS200 Group B rally car. Rally cars require a different approach, having to race on both gravel and tarmac. This means that huge amounts of suspension travel and adjustment are required, which have to be designed in from the very start. Unfortunately, the Group B category was cancelled following a number of serious accidents which led to deaths of drivers and navigators. However, the RS 200 went on to have a successful career in Rally-cross.
The Jaguar Days and Beyond
Tony also told us about his favourite time at Jaguar, working on first the IMSA cars before concentrating on endurance racing. This culminated in winning the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1988 with the XJR9. The driver in that race, Martin Brundle, also became World Sports Car Champion that year in the Tony Southgate designed car.
When Tony left Jaguar, he became a consultant to the Audi Le Mans programme, where amongst many achievements the team were able to change a gearbox on the car in around 4 minutes!
The AGM was a fascinating evening, which one TIGOSE member described as “if any-one needs to think of members’ benefits and reasons why we are members of TIGOSE, a night like tonight is one of them.” When you’re listening to Tony Southgate, you know that there is no better reason for joining TIGOSE.
See you at next year’s AGM!!