It was once again tantalisingly close disappointment for the Bill Shepherd Automotive team for the 2021 Goodwood RAC TT. Having finished on the second step of the podium in previous years, Bill and Romain had their firm sights on a blue-ribbon victory following a convincing pole position in qualifying.
The race, starting under damp and greasy conditions, saw Darren Turner’s GPG 4C Cobra get the best start from the front row taking an initial lead. Bill went with him, maintaining a consistent gap to the red and gold car, holding off the rapid advances of Jenson Button’s Cobra until the pit stop window.
Bill stopped after 21 minutes to hand over to Romain, while Turner stopped simultaneously to swap seats with Ollie Bryant, Button assuming the lead before pitting 24 minutes in to hand over to his co-driver, Alex Buncombe.
Following a safety car for the stricken 39PH Cobra, which had picked up a puncture following contact with a backmarker, racing got back underway, Romain getting a jump on Bryant who had fallen behind COB 289 in the pit-stop. The third place Emanuelle Pirro trailed the lead duo, who battled royally in the closing stages. However, the complexion of the race changed with four minutes left to run after Bill and Romain were given a 21-second penalty for a driver change infringement.
Romain crossed the line first on the road, but he and Bill were demoted to a soul-crushing fourth once the penalty was taken into account. The long-deserved fairytale win went to Bryant and GPG 4C, the first win for the car at Goodwood since the 1960s, and the first time the Cobra had finished higher than Bill’s second place in the car in 2004.