A Nissan dealer and accomplished racing driver is preparing for an exciting challenge at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Andy Middlehurst, who runs Middlehurst Nissan in St Helens, Merseyside, will be tackling the famous Hillclimb course at the event – billed as the world’s greatest celebration of motorsport and car culture.
He’ll be behind the wheel of an incredible Nissan Skyline GT-R R32, an example of the famous performance car designed to achieve racetrack success in Japan in the late 1980s and nicknamed ‘Godzilla’.
Equipped with four-wheel drive and a 2.6-litre twin-turbo engine capable of being tuned to produce 1,000bhp, the car is said to be able to reach a top speed of 156mph with a 0-62mph time of about three seconds.
‘‘It’s certainly a quick thing,’’ said Andy, 59. ‘‘Flames come out of the exhaust and it makes an incredible noise. It should prove to be quite a spectacle.’’
Andy’s business is an authorised repairer that has been connected to Nissan since 1980 and can boast an incredible pedigree selling and maintaining GT-Rs over the years. A GT-R performance centre remains a key part of the business.
He has enjoyed a long and distinguished motor-racing career too, coming, as he says, from a family with a love of all things petrol.
After starting in motorbikes, Andy moved to single-seater cars. First racing Formula Ford, his early adventures included encounters with competitors who would go on to become legendary in Formula One such as Ayrton Senna.
In 1992, Andy was a works factory Nissan driver in the British Touring Car Championship and in 1993 he started competing in the National Saloon Championship. He won four back-to-back titles during a hugely successful period of his career.
He now competes in Historic Touring Car Championship, regularly racing for Classic Team Lotus in the famous Lotus 25 driven by Jim Clark in his 1963 F1 Championship-winning season.
Andy describes himself as ‘‘Nissan through and through’’ and is certainly looking forward to his participation in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which runs from June 23rd-26th at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex.
He will be tackling the Hillclimb on behalf of Ric Wood Motorsport, a specialist in the design, development and construction of race-winning cars, engines and components.
After a chance to practise his ascent of the mile-long course, he’ll be hoping to qualify for the ultra-competitive ‘Sunday Shootout’ where he is confident his car will be able to hold its own in the company of far more modern machinery.
As well as appearing at the Festival of Speed, he’s enjoyed considerable success at its sister event, Goodwood Revival, where he has won the Glover Trophy an incredible seven times.
‘‘Motorsport has been a big part of my life for decades. I have been lucky to have some wonderful experiences and can’t wait for the Festival of Speed to come round,’’ said Andy.