I’ve just had time to sit down and enjoy Channel 4’s ‘Speed with Guy Martin Classic F1 Special’, which centres around everyone’s favourite truck mechanic, part-time Isle of Man TT rider and reluctant celebrity Guy Martin rebuilding a 1982 Williams FW08 and then ‘racing’ Jenson Button in an FW08B around Silverstone on Grand Prix weekend.
I have to admit to being a bit of a fan of Guy Martin (who isn’t??), and so I find most things that he does for TV top telly.
If you’ve ever read his books you’ll know that he’s more than happy being a full-time truck mechanic, and picks and chooses his tv jobs based on whether or not they interest him, and this usually centres around the mechanical elements of the ‘job’ much more than it does racing.
This being the case, the show balances the ‘engineering behind the FW08 and the Cosworth DFV and its building and rebuilding’ with the ‘Guy learning to race cars’ elements of the project nicely, allowing Guy to get his fix and the audience to get the finale they want to see. It also means they can bring in all-round nice guy Jenson Button for Guy to race against, making the show even more appealing to the modern-day F1 watcher.
Guy’s down-to-earth salt of the earth approach to everything he does including his TV work really brings the show to life: There’s none of the gloss that often distances the viewer from the experience.
It’s about the journey, not the destination, this programme, and after an hour or so glorious footage of the FW08, often on a racetrack, sometimes stripped-down in the garage with Dickie Stanford and his team at Williams Heritage, the finale Guy had been building up to was more parade between the two cars than it was a race. But a fabulous sight it was.
One niggle that’s perhaps a reflection on the position of the Williams Team in 2018 and also the martyrdom of Ayrton Senna was that it was suggested at one point that the FW08’s ‘claim-to-fame’ was that Senna once drove it. Err, how about that World Drivers Championship Guy??
All in all a thoroughly entertaining 68 minutes.
Check it out here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/speed-with-guy-martin-classic-f1-special