WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD | IMAGES BY PHD PHOTO
Every F1 fan has a favourite era. For some it’s all about the heroic drivers from the 1950s and 1960s, for others it’s all about the turbo era of the 1980s. But nobody can deny that the ear piercing scream from the V10 era is also one that’s fondly remembered.
The 1997 season was the last time a V10 engine graced an F1 grand prix, after the series switched to V8s before changing again to V6 turbos, putting an end to the iconic high pitch noise.
The cars completely disappeared from the public eye almost immediately, with there being no outlet to compete with the machines, but through Ignition GP, the cars will now get their chance to take to the race track once again, albeit not necessarily in a competitive manner.
Ignition GP has been created by Jonathan Kennard, a former Williams F1 test driver, and for him, the cars don’t necessarily need to be raced in order to be enjoyed. Instead, Ignition GP plans to showcase the cars at various events throughout the world, putting them on track for demonstration runs, allowing fans to have their ear drums melted once again.
The company kicked off its program at last month’s Members’ Meeting at Goodwood, with a variety of cars from the 1990s taking to the historic circuit, and for Kennard, it was a joy to see the cars in action again.
“It’s quite an honour to take them round here,” Kennard explained to The Pit Stop.
“It's quite a bumpy track and you have to respect the track a little bit. But it's just a pleasure to see them out there and back where they belong.
“We've got a great grid of cars here and I think this is the direction these cars are going. Everyone loves them, I mean just listen to them! They’re fantastic!”
Kennard drove a Minardi M194 during the demonstration, and although the car wasn’t hugely successful, achieving a best result of fifth at the 1994 French Grand Prix, that’s not really the point.
It’s not about the success of an individual car. It’s about enjoying the era and savouring the nostalgia.
“The chassis and aero on the car is amazing,” Kennard said when discussing the M194.
“It was designed by Aldo Costa, who I think has got 15 world championships in him, so it’s got some good DNA in it. So I’m just trying to do it some justice if I can.”
“I worked with Goodwood to put the grid together and this is the first of our four events. So yeah, this is where these cars deserve to be, to be run properly and for everyone to see right up close. Can’t really beat it.”
In addition to Goodwood, Ignition GP will take the cars to three additional events, closing the year out at the Silverstone Classic, and during that time, they will look to build up a wide variety of cars for fans to swoon over.
“Goodwood is round one and round two is at Paul Ricard in June. Then we've got Donington in July and then Silverstone Classic.
“Our main focus is getting as many cars onto the grid as possible and then we're taking it from there, but at the moment, no desire to race them just yet.
“The key is to get them running again and then little by little we'll take it from there really.
“We're aiming to get a nice variety of different cars. McLarens, Williams, Minardis.
“I, like a lot of people, grew up watching these and this has fed my love of motorsport. I think they're the most beautiful Formula 1 cars ever made.
“I know some people might disagree. Every year has got great cars, but I really particularly love the 90s cars. You can’t beat it.
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