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Jarrah Venables: Behind the Scenes at Goodwood & Endurance Racing Legends Success

On this week's episode of the Apex, we sat down with historic racing pioneer Jarrah Venables, founder of the Endurance Racing Legends series. Jarrah spent 8 years at Goodwood orchestrating car content for the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival, before he branched out to set up ERL in collaboration with Peter Auto.

He knows everything there is to know about historic racing, and as he opens up a new GT3 category, we caught up with Jarrah to discuss what life was like behind the scenes at Goodwood, his own racing experiences, modern Formula One, and even some Nascar.

Archie Hill interviews Jarrah Venables for The Apex by Custodian. Produced and Edited by Archie Hill. Transcribed by David Marcus.

Source: Jarrah Venables

Hey Jarrah, how are you doing?

I'm well thanks, thanks for having me on, and that nice introduction, which was very flattering. I love podcasts, I do a lot of road miles, so podcasts are a constant source of entertainment for me.

It is nice doing it here with the Chevron in the background.

Yes, it is fairly attractive as backdrops go. I love chevrons and bikes, but that is one of the prettiest cars coming out of the sixties, as racing cars go.

It is quite a rare one as well.

Yes, they built five like that, only built just over 50 generally in total, but that one had the Cosworth engine, not the BMW, and I think it is probably the only one we know about that actually still runs, so it is a pocket rocket with a screamer engine, so a good fun thing.

I said in my intro, orchestrating car content for the Festival of Speed and the Revival, is that accurate?

Yes, basically anything with wheels and an engine that moved, well and that didn't move, so in the Festival of Speed context it was everything that ran up the hill, from a historic perspective through to modern manufacturer content, it was super car run, it was the Cartier Concours, the Rallye stage, the motorbikes, it was all of that. Revival is obviously all of the stuff going around as well. It was special displays. One of my first jobs at Revival was basically a period taxi rank that was made up of jeeps and old people pretending to be taxi drivers and ferrying people around for the event.

And so you were deciding what kind of cars would appear, essentially?

Yes, Goodwood is put together slightly differently to most events. It is curated I suppose, so we would start out, a bit like menu planning I suppose, and say right, next year, what anniversaries occur, and which of the big ones we have to focus on, and is that anniversary better celebrated at the Festival of Speed or the Revival, or today, Members' Meeting as well. If we are going to do that, how are we going to celebrate it, which cars, drivers, that sort of thing. So you have to research all that and go that's our dream mix of cars and people, can we deliver that? Then play deal maker a little bit by saying we really want your car, it will be amazing driving up the hill, you wouldn't mind if we put this other driver in it, would you, a little bit, but it would be great if it had an original driver in it, or this other guy, there would be a lot of that.

It's funny because I imagine if someone was to approach you and say we want to run your car in Goodwood, it's pretty obvious, that's an honour, or is it quite difficult to get people to agree sometimes?

It is easier in a way at the Revival, because you are talking to people who want to race their cars. Festival of Speed is a different event. If you go to the effort of taking your car, in some cases across the Atlantic or from Australia to an event, there is a lot of effort involved, so you have to sell the idea to people that it is an amazing garden party, which it is, an incredible occasion and a real privilege to drive that and be at, and gloss over the fact that you will drive six times up the hill and it's about 60 seconds a shot. If you look at it from that perspective you go, well it's the effort.

It's a long way to come.

But in reality it is five fold because you drive up the hill, if you have ever had the privilege of going up the hill during the event, it's a bit like driving down the main straight at Monaco or Le Mans, there are so many people it's mind blowing.

Have you driven up the hill?

Yes, a couple of times, mostly in official's cars and things like that, but I was very lucky to, not working there, going on for fun, drive a friend's Viper GT2 car up there, the year before last, in my favourite livery on a Viper, Playstation, I love that one. So that was a pretty cool experience.

The car Jarrah drove up the Goodwood Hillclimb!

I imagine that must have been nerve racking, because if the crowds are there …

… yes, generally there's not really, if you are going to make a mistake, it's going to cost you dearly, and you don't want to damage the car, generally, let alone someone else's car, and really not in the public forum like that. I think it's one of those things where if you start thinking about them, the risk of what could happen, this is dangerous, you start thinking don't do this, don't do this, and when you start going you forget everything and you are just enjoying the moment.

Having grown up not far from here, I have been going since I was a kid, when you are there it's an enormous event, everything seems to run very smoothly, but I imagine it's probably quite a stressful job? 

Yes, it's a relentless thing to be involved in. The team there, when I was there, were incredible, hard working people, everyone with a muck in and help out attitude no matter what time of day, and I am sure that's still the case now. It's a special environment what you are doing, it's a bit like you look at, you would wonder through an airport for instance, and you only notice the bits that are in your immediate vicinity, you don't see any of the behind the scenes machinations of how the place functions, you don't see that at Goodwood unless you have worked there, and then you see everything working even though it's not behind the scenes as such, you just never notice it. It's a complex thing.

Was there ever a time where a car didn't show up or something?

My first year actually. I had been recruited in April I think it was, 2005, and that year was 50 years of the Chrysler 300, and I had been tasked with organising the display at the Revival because Chrysler were sponsor, one of every Chrysler variant, the various B, C, D, F letters, and it hadn't been done before I think ever in Europe, and probably not many times elsewhere, I imagine a good number of them were rusted out. Anyway so that was the thing, it was going to be a parade around the track and a display.

Credit: Remi Dargegnan

I hunted, the amount of hours I had to spend scouring the world for these really mint examples of each variant, from Finland to one guy in America in the middle of nowhere, vaguely a couple hours away from Chicago, and that guy who is pretty elderly, and I got in touch with him, the club said yes he is great, that's got concours 1 for decades, he said yes, I will come along, on a castle with a lord, does he have a crown, can I meet the lord? I said yes, he doesn't have a crown, or I don't think so, but absolutely, sure, and anyway, he had agreed to come along, and we were booking his travel and I said can I have a copy of your passport to pass to the girls who book the flights and things, I don't have a passport. I was like oh, you don't have a passport, really? No, and I had remembered him saying when I was in England, and I said but you have been to England before. When I was in England last, you didn't need a passport. I said when were you here? 1944. Oh, okay, that makes sense. Anyway, we got him an emergency passport and we shipped the car here, and there was some I can't remember, shipping issue, and the boat instead of coming to Southhampton it was diverted to Holland or something, and it stayed there for days. The car arrived on the Monday after the event. So we had this one guy flew over with his elderly wife and no car, so we have had, not many, but we have had one or two things like that.

That is always a bit of a tricky one. Did he get to meet Lord March though, did he have a nice time?

Yes, he was disappointed there was no crown, but he did seem, it was like a castle, it's a large house but it is sort of like a castle, he was convinced it was a castle, so he had a great weekend.

So he had a very good time without his car.

He could see his car on the Monday, but there was 150,000 less people, so it wasn't quite the same, but there you go.

Credit: Charlie B Photography

I suppose on the flip side of that as well, it does many times go flawlessly, and I suppose afterwards, the feeling of elation of having pulled off a Festival of Speed must be pretty insane?

You never used to absorb the event when you were in it, you were just getting through it, because there is always a million little snagging issues, oh I have left my passes at home, or this thing happened or this guy, my friend is driving, he hasn't signed on, you can't drive without signing on, and all these little things, and I had watched the, back then it used to be on ITV or something, like a highlights show a week later, and I genuinely watched that to see what happened at the event. The same with the Revival really, I would try and catch a few races here and there, but it would literally be if I watched the full duration of three or four races, that was a lucky weekend. Particularly awkward when you went to prize giving, who should we give driver of the weekend to? Did you watch a race? No. Who drove well? So that yes, it was an amazing experience, it's hard but you are not complaining in the moment.

I imagine the connections you got to make, the circle you have built?

I never asked for anyone's autograph, which was something, you are crazy, all the drivers you must have met, I completely understand people who collect autographs, it's a fantastic thing, signed helmets and stuff like that, and I said for me, I would have these moments, completely random, where I would end up having tea and scones with Stirling and Susie Moss, or I was sat next to dinner having a steak with Derek Bell or Andretti or someone, and you just think, you couldn't give me all of the autographs in the world I wouldn't swap them for that, that kind of unique random moment.

Credit: Charlie B Photography

Yes, intimate but private as well.

Yes, so I have an awful lot of really fantastic memories. I have huge fond memories then, it was a chapter that I loved.

You were there eight years?

Nine seasons, something like that, October 2013 was when I moved on. I love it but for me it's a bit like baking a cake, you can have a set of ingredients and with that set you could make so many different cakes, but eventually you think, I've done this one before, and I wanted new challenges and a bit more variety. I had felt I had had all the great experiences I needed to have there. I never had a plan of how long I would stay, I genuinely thought I would stay two or three years, and I suddenly looked up one day and thought, I've been here eight or so years, and I spent a year or so trying to figure out what the next step would be, because it's a bit like, to me working Goodwood was like driving for Ferrari, anywhere else felt like it would probably be a step down, so yes.

But the next step for you was to go and set up the Endurance Racing Legends series?

Yes, a little bit. Variety was key for me as a next step, and fortunately the Duke, as we had known him then, was supportive enough that when I said I really want to try something else, I love the place, it's kind of horrible seeing it go, and we ended up figuring out some arrangement where I stayed as a consultant in a gradually diminishing role for three years, which gave me, there was some reassurance of still being around Goodwood and training other people and so on, but having a variety to just pursue anything else, and one of the first things I did was to organise what I suppose was the genesis of Endurance Racing Legends, or ERL as it has become known, which was a demonstration back then for 90s GT cars at Silverstone Classic in 2013. That was my first other thing really.

Source: Jarrah Venables

And the Endurance Racing Legends Series, obviously for people who aren't familiar, how do you explain what it is?

ERL as I call it for short, is basically a series for 90s and noughties endurance racing cars, so GTs and prototypes of the type you would have seen racing at Le Mans, Daytona Sebring, in the iconic championships like BPR, FIA GT, etc., so there is LMPs, the LMP1 and LMP2s and colloquially, GT1 and GT2, different eras, so there are a huge number of varieties, shapes and sizes and colours and sounds and all that, and it was obviously a really rich period of endurance racing, and yes, I just decided, at the time Nick W, an old friend of mine, was the owner and manager of Silverstone Classic, and he said I would like to do some sort of new initiative, can you come up with some ideas? So I pitched him four or five different ideas of the stuff that hadn't been seen at historic events, and that was one of them, and he said which would you do? I said well this, because I think their cars were always popular when we had them at Goodwood, and you never really see them, aside from the odd McLaren F1 at Goodwood or a 911 GT1, I said they must be out there, they can't all be destroyed, and we ended up with 28 cars in the first event, which was a demonstration back then.

Source: Jarrah Venables

We did that for three years at the Silverstone Classic, and they said look, this is kind of developing, then owners wanted to do, this is great but can we go elsewhere? He said look, run with it, develop it, and it ended up being a series of demonstrations. The next phase of growth was I wanted to partner with an organiser who I thought was one of the best around in Europe in terms of the quality of how they did things, to help really propel the growth of the series, and it was undoubtedly Peter Auto for those elements. Patrick obviously had a background in the genesis of that era of Endurance Racing with BPR, and eventually persuaded him to give us some track time, and we went racing in 2019. In 2018 we were demonstrations, we did a demo at the Le Mans Classic, where we had some staggering 77 cars, which blew my mind. I thought it would be amazing, if we had more than 40 I was going to be chuffed, and some of the cars we had, we had a McLaren F1, GTR, this was already brilliant, and now it is probably one of the more popular series on their platform and historic racing generally I suppose.

Source: Jarrah Venables

Although some people say it's not historic racing, it's a difficult one. I have grown up around historic vintage racing or whatever you want to call it, classic racing, and I personally think the terminology is a bit relevant as to what era of car is historic or not. I am as old as the oldest Group C car, which is considered a historic racing car. I don't think, I am not young but I don't think I am historic, but I think are they collectible and what is the reason behind why people go racing? It's a different philosophy to modern racing where it is about performance and trophies and finding the edge. With historic racing, yes, people want to do well and have great racing and race hard and so on, but this was also about respecting and celebrating the history of the cars, and having a great time socially, that was half of the appeal of it. So that is a really important element of it.

With the era as well, I grew up watching the 90s and naughties cars were the kind of cars that I would see on the road when I was a kid, so DB9 and 550, you have got the racing variants of those cars, and it's like from a popularity point of view, is that very much the case that you are seeing?

Yes, it's quite interesting actually, because we have got a real mix. I don't know if it is 50/50 or exactly what, but it is definitely a fairly evenly balanced mix of people who race in the ERL, being very much of a historic racing background, they have raced 50s, 60s and 70s cars, and they thought ooh, that is something different to try, or maybe they want to go racing with their kids and they think well that's safe for them to drive or whatever, and that's one segment of the competitors in the ERL. The others are people who have never been to historic racing, they just bought one of these cars because they think it's cool and it was aspirational or out of reach when they were in their formative years, or they went along to the races when they were new, or played them on, like some of us did, on Gran Turismo and games like this. So there is an interesting mix of people, and some of them have come in from the modern angle with ERL cars and then gone ooh, that's interesting, I would never normally have thought to buy a Cobra for instance and go racing, or a 60s touring car or whatever, but having been around the other older categories, they have started to understand the history and the marketplace and different categories and so on, and migrated that way.

Credit: Archie Hill

So in some ways I think it is an interesting way, aware of the future, collectors and historic racers are going to come from, and I think that's one way to bring people in. I was talking to friends that have no background in historic cars, they said if I suddenly came into a load of money and wanted to go and enjoy cars, I look at cars from the 50s and 60s and I don't understand why is a Lotus 15 £500,000 for instance, and a Jaguar D Type might be £5 million, they look pretty much the same, they are about as fast as each other, they both sound cool, I don't really understand it, and then you explain, you give them the history lesson, and then they go okay, now I get it, but they don't do that history research, learning in a heart beat themselves, so I think it's really important to somehow inspire the next generation to put a toe in the water and immerse themselves gradually in that world.

And you're opening up a GT3 category as well?

ERL has now got its own huge momentum which is amazing, and so much so that we are so oversubscribed this year, we just recently this weekend at Spa, split the grid into two, so we have got one grid with the faster cars, the prototypes and GT1 cars, and then another grid with GT2 cars throughout the years and different classes and so on. That was a necessity because we have a grid limit that's lower than any historic category, that we were just oversubscribed, and it worked really well. But for a couple years I thought this is great, given the trajectory of growth that ERL is going to, I think there is room for another series somewhere in historic racing. I was hoping, probably for three or four years I thought this, I was hoping someone would do something for GT3 cars, because the inception of GT3, of which Stephan Retel, Patrick's other B Car co-founder, is widely regarded as the grandfather or forefather let's say of GT3, and GT racing generally over the last 30 years, I was hoping someone would do something for this, and nobody sort of did, and I thought right, okay, I have got so much spare time on my hands, not, I will do something, and a couple of friends persuaded me on the merits of this, like at the same time I will credit them for that, friends of Duncan Hamilton ROFGO, they were really keen on GT3 cars as well, and another friend Sean, who recently acquired Motor Racing Legends, has a vision for how he want to develop that organisation, also thought it was a great idea, so I thought okay fine, it's time to something with GT3. So we are not doing it with Peter Auto. I would love to, but they have only got so many grid spaces across a weekend, timetable wise, so we will start Motor Racing Legends and have that across hopefully UK and European events, is the plan next year. We are doing a pilot race in October in Silverstone, and then hopefully three or four races next year.

Credit: Archie Hill

I know in historic racing the P word gets thrown about a lot, provenance, is that still very much the case, even with these later 90s and noughties cars in terms of their values?

It is yes, it wasn't for ages, in many cases there was nowhere for the cars. People would buy a car, in a few instances something really special, someone would buy a car when it was a few years old because that was a championship winning car or something particularly famous or was driven by someone famous or whatever, but by and large they just became redundant cars and they would be bought to be parked in collections to be something nice to look at or used as a track toy or whatever, even GT1 stuff for instance, and they would gradually start making a stage for them to play on basically. You are kind of like a promoter in a way, you are putting the spotlight on them, and then people start to go okay, right, they start to do some research and go that was a really important year or that championship was important, whatever, that team, livery, sponsor, whatever, and it's like anything really, provenance matters. It doesn't matter whether it is cars, watches, art, I mean take a look at the Daytona, why did the Paul Newman one go for 20 something million dollars, when most of them are 20 or 30,000 dollars? The same with watches, but that person who bought that watch wanted that particular watch and that's what it is all about, and it's the same with cars.

Source: Peter Auto

So yes, people do value that, and the interesting thing is historic or rather younger cars like 90s and 2000 era cars, are less of a triggers broom in the sense of they were raced in period. Yes, I'm sure they had some crashes and were repaired, or in some cases they had a chassis replaced in period and they kept racing, but when they were retired, aside from a few accidents one or two might have had here or there on a track day or something, they generally did nothing. They weren't historic raced for decades, where stuff could have happened, and now they have raced in historics for the last let's say five to 10 years, it's in the digital age. 30 or 40 years ago if you were racing your car and you had a crash, oh well put it on the trailer, take it home, there is invariably nobody taking photos or maybe there might be one or two, but it was literally a physical photo, so evidence was, we fixed it up and off you go. And then today people go oh, it's really an original car. Yes, we believe it's an original car because you go on the best evidence you have. Nowadays you are at an historic even and you crash into a wall and there's 100 people with their smart phones, there is no way, even if you wanted to, there is no way you can get away and say it was not as bad as it was, because it is all HD and 4k and everything. I think for a lot of people that gives them some sort of comfort, knowing that A, it's less likely that stuff could have happened to a car to impinge on its originality, and it's a little bit easier to do that research because of stuff in the digital age.

Source: Peter Auto

At Custodian we are promoting digital history files, and believe that having, obviously it will never replace the physical one, you will always have that physical history file, but the digital one, especially nowadays in terms of the way that people are documenting car content. People have Instagram pages dedicated to their car and whatnot, and obviously if it is a race car, maybe you have got on board footage of it winning quite an important race, that being quite an important asset. It would be interesting to get your thoughts, in the future, do you think people will expect to have a digital history file alongside the physical one?

… yes, people do expect to have documentation now, absolutely, and physical copies and digital forms as well. We probably do it, we try and back up stuff digitally as well as having a physical copy as an insurance, just in case, and I think a lot of collectors increasingly are doing that, and it makes it easier when you come to buying and selling a car, if you can go right, that's the file, physically, and that's relatively easy if it is all in one place. Or you can go click, right everything in that folder online is to do with the car, photos, documentation, all sorts of evidence of invoices, so yes, it absolutely matters.

One thing we are seeing as well, it can actually have a massive impact on insurance as well, which is obviously for road cars, because an insurer can see what's going on with the car, restoration wise or something like that.

And also managing, I help manage loosely one or two collections, and the cars are all over the place geographically all over the world, so in some ways you think would you have all of the paperwork centrally located, or do you have it with each car? But if you have it with each car, the person managing it really needs everything centrally located, digitally at least, because you don't, imagine you go, I need to check that bit of paper, oh, fly to Germany to check the file, if you can just go click and open the folder, it's infinitely easier and pretty nice for the environment.

Source: Peter Auto

On the provenance, I'm curious, I think the historical research is something that you have been quite involved in?

Basically yes, a polite way of describing it is, I love history.

It's cool, it's really interesting.

I guess the background is Goodwood was about bringing history alive, and when I was growing up, I would be hanging off the railing and fences watching my dad race, all I cared about was how they looked and sounded and how they drifted and that sort of thing, and then as you get older and you start working in places like I worked in Goodwood, you start realising how much history matters, in terms of weaving a story, how much people really derive their passion from that as well. I just love that aspect of it, particularly when it comes to photos and videography and stuff like that. It's dangerous when you go down a research rabbit hole and you suddenly think I have to be looking at old photos or researching something for half a day, but it's fun because it really helps you, it's like time travel in a way, and we all wish we could have been there in a certain moment in time and you can't, but you do the next best thing.

On the racing side as well, I know you have raced some pretty interesting cars, someone told me that you raced a 250 short wheel base Ferrari, is that true?

Yes, I have raced and driven cars beyond my wildest dreams than what I expected, certainly for my abilities. I am okay but I am not professional at all, a far cry from it. I have a rule, I have never ever asked to drive someone's car, and I won't change that, I have just been ridiculously lucky when friends, family friends, clients, said yes, come and do this race with me, or drive that car, and then gradually you develop a reputation for being relatively safe and sensible. I have raced a couple of short wheel bases.

Source: Peter Auto // Credit: Nicolas Bremaud

Was that at Le Mans?

One at Goodwood and one at Le Mans, and a pinch me moment, 250 LM and Jaguar D Type at Le Mans, which was something, if you would have told me when I was 10, I would have thought you were really smoking something.

Obviously you have driven cars, you don't just turn up and jump in a 250 LM for the first time, but when you approach that car from a driver's point of view and you are about to go race it at Le Mans, do you have to approach it differently because it is such a valuable car, you are not going to take it to the red line?

Don't think about the value, otherwise you will completely intimidate yourself out of it and you will go hide in the nearest dark corner. How I would approach it personally is I respect it as a piece of history, and I would like to hand a car back in exactly the condition I got into it, but I respect it as a piece of history. It's a bit like if someone said pick up that famous painting and move it over there, you are not going to just swing it around, you are going to be careful with it, and so you manage the risk in that sense, but equally my way of coping with the inevitable pressure of don't screw this up, because A, it is a really valuable car and B, it is more than that, it is really a historically important car in lots of cases, was to kind of take myself back to my childhood mindset of they have no financial value, it's just a cool car, and take the pressure off that way. You would also think no one really expect your mum maybe or your wife or something will remember if you win a historic race.

Source: Peter Auto

You might feel like Ayrton Senna, but the reality is it's your mum or whatever, but if you make a big mistake, everyone will remember that. That's the fear anyway, so it was quite a good reality check. Just enjoy it, that's the best thing. Some amazing experiences were had along the way, some terrifying ones. I went to Goodwood with a friend and we were in this one hour race in his original Le Mans history competition short wheel base Ferrari, which is about as collectible as they get, and it was a one hour race into the dusk, really looking forward to it because I love Goodwood and the short wheel base is just sublime to drive, and it rained like I haven't seen it rain in ages, and it was like inches of standing water on the track, they delayed the race because they were waiting for it to try and drain away, and then the light was going, and he said you know what, I don't really fancy this, there is a dinner I've been invited to, why don't you just do the race and I'll go to dinner? I was like I'm not so sure, this is beginning to lose its fun element, and we ended up deciding to just not start the race, because first of all, we were not getting paid to do this, this was meant to be fun, so it's not fun at the moment to the point where you are not even wanting to do it, the fun of doing it is to do it with you, so let's just leave it, and it was the right call in that case. Whether you are not brave enough, or I am happy to say fine, you know okay we weren't, but it was easy to keep the car in one piece afterwards.

Source: Peter Auto

Would you say that that was the best car you have ever raced?

It's a really difficult one, not necessarily the best car I have ever raced in terms of, certainly one of the most significant cars I have ever raced, 250 LM and D Type and so on, but it's one of the most fun cars or best cars I have raced, but when I have had the most fun in the moment, new on track, you trusted them, you are in the moment, having a great time, and that might have been one race in a Mustang or a short wheel base. Equally some of the most fun drives I have had in cars weren't races, a friend Paddy Sterling from America, he is Irish but lives in America, who raced ERAs, which when I was growing up was one of the most iconic Grand Prix cars to me, as a pre-war Grand Prix car, and I have always thought that's Nirvana to me, I have to drive one of those because my father used to race against a guy who raced one, and as a kid of like a 10 year old, I would be allowed to sit in this thing, whilst it was on the jack, with the wheels spinning, literally out here, it's noisy and it's methanol fumes and I mean health and safety was whatever, we used to have those closed hanging things around to stop people walking into the wheels when they were spinning, and that is a vivid memory to me, and so I always thought wow, that would be up there with the greatest cars I could ever drive, but it would never happen obviously, and I was in Australia on a business trip going to a couple of events, and I realised a few days later it was the Melbourne Grand Prix, so I thought I would go and have a look, because there was a historic demonstration like I said, and lo and behold, Paddy was there with his ERA, and we got talking and he said what are you doing tomorrow? I don't know, coming down here and watching I suppose, the Formula 1, he said oh, there's a demonstration at 10, why don't you take the ERA out?

I said sorry, what? He said, seriously, there's like four of them, I've done loads, you do one, it's great. I said you don't realise how much of a bucket list item this is for me, and then it dawned on me, I had no race kit, I didn't expect to do it, so I had literally nothing, I was in sneakers and chinos, and he said oh well, you can borrow my suit, and he's got a spare helmet over there, and I literally did it with my trainers, 25 minutes, at Alba Park in this ERA, and I was just like, is this a slow parade? He said no, you can go as quick as you like, and that to me, because the car I idolised was a black ERA, a different chassis, there were two, so his was the sister chassis, it was actually owned by Pink Floyd actually when I was growing up, so it was a black ERA, which was incredible to me, and I didn't realise this until afterwards, being half Australian, that it had actually won the Australian Grand Prix that car in 39 at Bathurst, where apparently it was a loose surface, which is mind blowing, so all in all, that is probably one of my most amazing drives, because it just was a bucket list car, it was unexpected, it was a fun amazing circuit. The smell when it fired up was a flash back to 10 years old.

That's pretty special. Talking of cars and values, what do you think is undervalued at the moment in terms of, I suppose let's go 90s and noughties?

That would be the secret sauce kind of question, I think there are all sorts of cars throughout the eras and categories of 90s and noughties, I think still have some degree of being undervalued, with the caveat that it is of course highly subjective, but what's interesting is that there are various cars throughout any era of motorsport history, where they never quite achieved their potential in period, because they needed a bit more development or they maybe could have done with a better team or driver or they just had bad luck or whatever, but fundamentally they were a promising car, and maybe they weren't the most iconic livery or they never had those results or whatever, and so they sort of get a little bit forgotten by people, when someone thinks of a car from a particular category, most people if you said name me a 2000 era GT car, they will rattle off two or three models, and then you will say well what about this or that? They will go oh yes, I forgot about that, and you still get that, even today.

Source: Peter Auto // Credit: Valentin Pagnier

There are cars out there, and I think if someone bought one of those and race prepared and drove it properly, I think there would be a number of people who go why didn't I think of that, that's a really cool car or a competitive car or whatever, and in reality, all it takes is for them to, I say all it takes, is for them to pour through the history books and look for those, like truffle hunting really, and of course we are all time poor to a degree, and particularly the people who get to the point of being successful in life where they can dabble in collectible cars as a pastime or hobby, they are inherently by definition, cash rich, time poor, so they don't have the luxury necessarily of pouring through history books and looking for those truffles, and that's sort of what is one of the perks of being in my position, what I get to do, which I love. So yes, I think there are cars here and there, I look and I think of a random example, I think 2000 era Lamborghinis are a little bit, I don't know if they are undervalued but they are out of the sights of people. There are various prototypes, I am trying to think of various examples, from the 90s even, it's amazing how little people reference the history books, and completely forget that a model of car, a particular series or a race, or even existed, so that is what I would say, hit the history books and find one.

You have to put the work in.

You need to find the cars which is a completely different challenge, but at least you know what you are looking for.

Source: Peter Auto // Credit: Stéphanie Bézard

This is a slight tangent, but cars that were amazing value, we were talking about NASCAR earlier, based on the new series coming out, I confessed to you that I have been watching quite a bit of NASCAR, you said that there are some, I couldn't believe how many cars they had in the races and what they are doing with them.

Yes, I did a research trip years ago in the late 2000s for Goodwood, to NASCAR, I think it was Valley or Alley, they called it a stretch of North Carolina, whichever one it was, where loads of the NASCAR teams are based, there are a few museums and that sort of thing, and I went to catalogue what cars from the museum and which cars the teams had in the museums, what we could them to bring to Goodwood, and I don't remember if it was Hendrick or Childress or somewhere I went, and they said do you want to have a look around the race shops, and I was great, cool, current cars, and I said you have a two car team, so two drivers, so how many cars do you build for the year, knowing a little bit about NASCAR, they have got super speedways and road courses and stuff like this, and I was sort of expecting them to say five or six, and he said about 18 or something cars a season, and I said no, if you didn't crash a load, not like crash and destroy at every event, and he said yes, about that, because we have got super speedways, speedways, short courses, road courses and we need different cars for each, because they could be slightly differently built dimension wise for each. So think about this, they all kind of look the same when you are watching on TV. So that was pretty interesting to learn, and that's I guess why they are relatively speaking, you can buy them remarkably cheaply for the fun you can have in it. I think you could probably get them for $50,000 or so, which is kind of mind blowing, racing MX5 value or something. NASCAR has got 800 HP or something, so yes, definitely bang for your buck.

I suddenly have a yearning for a NASCAR.

Don't we all.

Obviously the engines, you can buy the cars …

… the fuel bill, but yes, a couple of friends of mine race in UK club races and take them up the hill at Goodwood every now and then. Even if you are not into NASCAR, it is a heck of a spectacle, the noise, and if you happen to go along to a NASCAR race, it doesn't matter if you are into NASCAR or not, you have to do it because it is sensory overload, you can't really fathom the noise and the intensity of 30 or 40 NASCARs blasting past you.

You can watch Talladega Nights but it doesn't compare to being there and hearing it, seeing it, smelling it, the whole experience.

Yes, it is a different world, but an entertaining one.

Source: Peter Auto // Credit: Stéphanie Bézard

To finish up I was going to ask you some quick fire questions, what is your favourite circuit?

I would say it's probably got to be Spa, for a few reasons. I think elevation for me personally really makes circuits. Whenever I think of the circuits that are the best to drive or look the best to drive, they have all got elevation to a degree, Nurburgring, Spa, Bathurst, Laguna Seca, I love Portimao, that would be number three for me, that I have driven. Goodwood is number two, the elevation is very flat.

Yes, no elevation there.

But it is a different challenge, particularly in a historic car, but yes, Spa is a special place, it is not just great to drive, it has got the scale is pretty mind blowing, the hills, the amount of elevation change, it feels a bit like an amphitheatre in a way with all the forest around you, and when you look at, certainly infrastructure wise, it's got to be one of the best ones in the world. Look at how much money and resources they have poured into the pits and grandstands and paddock structures and stuff like that. It is an epic circuit, even if they keep tweaking it here and there, the rush you get going through Eau Rouge and Radion is a roller coaster kind of thing really.

That is a popular one.

With that said, I really would love to drive Laguna Seca one day, and Bathurst, I think they are probably right up there as well.

Pretty special circuit. I am talking as if I have driven it.

We all have in our minds.

Yeah, on the Playstation I have done Corkscrew, no problem! Who is your racing hero, do you have a racing hero?

In current terms, who was a famous racing driver when I was growing up, gosh that's an interesting one, I lived in the history books a lot more, so I kind of wish I had seen some people racing when they were racing at the time, rather than getting to know them later on and then looking in the history books to see what they drove. When I was growing up I was in awe of Senna. I didn't particularly love how ruthless he was at the time, but he was a different league. There was a guy in historic racing who to me, he was my vintage historic racing hero, he was a guy called Duncan Rickets, because he raced the black ERA, not the one I drove but the sister car, and he may as well as been, to me as a kid, he may well have been the Ayrton Senna sort of guy, and he did it all on a shoe string, so it was extra cool, versus people who travel with big trucks and mechanics and stuff. He would work on the car himself, that was kind of cool.

Source: Peter Auto // Credit:

It was more, I like drivers for different reasons, but I was more blown away by the cars themselves. I never forget, I watched Formula 1 and I would look at the modern McLarens, and my dad finally, because he was in the historic racing background, finally after begging and pleading, took me to a Grand Prix, it was the Thursday practice of the British Grand Prix in about 92 or 91, and I remember being dumbstruck thinking who is McLaren, have they painted those McLarens, they look completely different on the TV at home? We must have had a really rubbish TV, but they were a completely different colour to me, and I was like oh my God, they were orange, I thought they were red and white. Like I said, we must have had a rubbish TV. So yes, that was pretty mind blowing, and also I realised that the sound of Formula 1 cars back then, sound is everything to me, I was buzzing from the sound. I remember vividly between the bridge and Copse Corner on the outside, and just the noise of them coming past was like hairs standing on end for hours, and I was hooked on, I was always hooked on noisy cars, but high revving cars.

I am so glad that I got to watch the end era of the mid 2000s Schumacher era, Formula 1, I am so glad I caught that.

If you look at You Tube, lots of Formula 1 from the 90s and noughties in particular for sure, the high revving engines, yes, I lust for that. I didn't really, it's a bit like the golden era, it is not the  golden era when you are in it, you just take it for granted. Now I think oh, what I would give for Formula 1 cars to sound like that, again, they are spectacular.

Final question, I feel like you are going to hate this question, what is in your dream three car garage?

Yes, that's a tough one. Can I have by era and by category, so I will end up with about 30 different cars? Damn, okay, I think without doubt, a competition short wheel base Ferrari, because they don't have a bad angle, you can drop your kids at school in them, go on holiday, race and rally them, they are just sublime to drive, they have a fantastic noise, they are special, for sure one of those, so that's one. I have a real soft spot for a McLaren F1, and I like road GTR and long tail variants for different reasons. So slightly hard pressed to pick one, I would probably say a short tail GTR, because yes, I have videos of them racing at Le Mans. I saw them race originally, pretty epic. I would probably go for, you said garage, I am not going to drive them on the road, I would probably go for a Formula 1 car of some sort I think, probably 3.5 litre era, but yes, it would be easier if I could just rotate every year or two and just change it, because there is a list of hundreds of cars, but yes, something like that I think.

Source: Peter Auto // Credit:

It's funny, you have got a lot in common with Patrick Beta in that regard, because his was 250 short wheel base, McLaren F1 and there was an Alfa 8C long chassis I think.

That is a lovely car. It's like asking me that question, it's kind of a cruel question, it takes days, what about that one and that one. That is the beauty though, there are so many amazing cars in the history of motorsport that it sounds corny to say there is something for everyone, but legitimately there is, and not just cars, but ways to use the cars. When I was growing up there was vintage racing and historic racing, and the odd meet you at a pub on the first Sunday of a month type of thing, and that was it, there was one or two rallies maybe, but now there's, you could do something every weekend twice over, race meetings, rallies, concours, cars and coffees, across Europe and America, all around the world, and that's so much better of an era in a way, although we look and go oh, that was the golden age, in a way in terms of celebrating the cars, very much like there's a thing in my kids' bedroom that I put up, it's kind of true, it's a saying that says something like, these are the good old days, and it's kind of true in that way, because you've got so many more ways to celebrate car culture than you did back then, because the internet didn't exist, it was car magazines and a handful of them and that was it. I am happy to have grown up across eras.

I think that is a lovely note to end on, these are the golden days. That is fantastic, well it's been an absolute pleasure to chat to you Jarrah and spend some time with you.


Where can people follow you and find you?

Instagram mostly, it tends to be a platform I love because I love photos. I would say those two, ERL, and my company has its own separate account, and we try and be as active as we can, finding the time, we have a really good social media guy, shout out to him because he does an amazing job, whereas I would never have the time to do a good job, but yes, that's the best way to find us.

I will leave all the links down in the description. If you want to find out more about Custodian as well, history files, insurance, you can find us at We are also on the App store, and yes, if you could drop a like on this video, subscribe to the channel, it really helps, and if you are listening on Spotify, please do give us a rating as well. Thank you very much for listening and see you in the next episode.


The Apex Team

The Apex Team

The Apex Editorial Team @Custodian: Archie Hill - Interviewer & Editor, Archie Hill Jeremy Hindle Charles Clegg - Editors, Archie Hill - Production, David Marcus - Transcription.