Member Log in

Gravity Racers Find Their New Home at The Hunt House

March, 14th 2024

These remarkable vehicles have now been faithfully restored to their former glory by the next generation of skilled artisans and craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce, ready for the next chapter in their fascinating history.

Before Spectre, Cullinan, Ghost or Phantom, there were the Rolls-Royce Close Coupled Drophead Gravity Racers. A teaser to the marque’s Goodwood resurgence, these four-wheeled, motorless vehicles – codenamed RR-0.01 and RR-0.02 – were true one-of-one commissions, built by the same skilled hands that would soon relaunch the brand in the West Sussex countryside. With ‘Project Rolls-Royce’ still in its infancy – planning permission for the new facility had only just been granted – the racers were commissioned to participate in the Soapbox Challenges at the 2001 and 2002 editions of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a gruelling downhill race for gravity powered vehicles.

“It has been a great privilege to reminisce on the first vehicles ever produced at the Home of Rolls-Royce. Not many will know that, before any of the first Phantoms were handed to clients, a pair of hand-built gravity racers took part in the Soapbox Challenge at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Having been retired from racing activities and subsequently displayed in our headquarters, we are delighted to announce that they have been refurbished by our Apprentices, who have worked tirelessly to restore them to their former glory. Over two decades on from their first outing, these priceless artifacts act as a pleasant reminder of how far we have come in the last 20 years at the Home of Rolls-Royce. We are confident that they will be cherished by our friends at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, where they will add to an already vast archive of Rolls-Royce’s rich and storied history.”
Andrew Ball, Head of Corporate Relations and Heritage, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The lines on RR-0.01 offered tantalising clues to the design of the first Goodwood Phantom. Built from carbon and glass fibre, composite honeycomb plates and precision aluminium components, its monocoque shell bore a striking resemblance to Phantom VII, winning the award for the best design at the 2001 Festival of Speed. It was adorned with a unique, ‘March Hare’ mascot on its bonnet; the redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy would not make its debut on Phantom until the newly built Goodwood site officially opened its doors in 2003. In the 2001 Soapbox Challenge, it was driven by Ian Cameron, Rolls-Royce’s first Design Director of the modern era, who was able to overhaul the Bentley racer on the final corner.

RR-0.02 was inspired by the Silver Ghost, winner of the 1911 London to Edinburgh Trial and the 1913 Alpine Trial, accomplishments which cemented Rolls-Royce’s position as creators of the ‘best car in the world’. Like its illustrious predecessor, RR-0.02 was built with speed in mind, with its formula racing-style steering racks combining with its slick, tubular tyres to minimise rolling resistance; in a fitting tribute, Ian Cameron led the team to victory in the speed challenge at the 2002 Soapbox race, lifting the Newton Apple award for the fastest racer. It was also bestowed with the Merit of Excellence by the ‘Wazir’ of Goodwood, a discretionary award for racers of particular distinction, earning the honorary title of Grand Soap Wazir. Made from aluminium and carbon fibre, with a painted wood aft deck and leather trim, it was emblazoned with a one-of-a-kind, double-question mark monogram above its pantheon grille, offering further hints to the marque’s Goodwood revival.

Following these triumphs, the racers were proudly displayed in the main reception area of the newly completed Home of Rolls-Royce, attracting attention and admiration from curious clients and visitors for many years. A testament to the Goodwood site’s formative years, they would have their racing swansong in the fifth and final Soapbox Challenge in 2013. Once again, they successfully completed the course, with RR-0.02 reaching a top speed of 72mph on its way to the finish line just outside Goodwood House.

These remarkable vehicles have now been faithfully restored to their former glory by the next generation of skilled artisans and craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce, ready for the next chapter in their fascinating history. The racers recently underwent a full-body and mechanical restoration, managed by a team of Rolls-Royce Apprentices. This included a complex repair to the front grille on RR-0.01, and a handmade replacement front-screen veneer on RR-0.02, both having been originally damaged during their racing exploits.

From Goodwood, the racers travelled to the headquarters of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club at Hunt House in Northamptonshire. Here, they take pride of place in the Club’s unrivalled collection of Rolls-Royce records and memorabilia, over 20 years since they kicked off a new dawn for the marque.

The Club would like to thank Rolls-Royce Motor Cars for generously allowing the Gravity Racers to be displayed at our HQ, The Hunt House. They are rightly taking pride of place in the Archive, for all our members to see.

Read Rolls-Royce Motor Cars' full press release on this news here.

By continuing to browse or by clicking “Accept All Cookies,” you agree to the storing of first and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation and analyse site usage. Find out more about our cookie policy.

By continuing to browse or by clicking “Accept All Cookies,” you agree to the storing of first and third-party cookies on your device. View our Cookie Policy.

> Cookie Settings

Cookie Preference Settings


Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences, your device or used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually identify you directly, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. You can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, you should know that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on the site and the services we are able to offer.

Always Active

Essential Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site may not work then.

Cookies Used

  • Cookie Preferences: ccSitePreference
  • Website CMS Identifier: xxx_username
  • Website CMS Authenticator: xxx_identity
  • Website Session Identifier: CraftSessionID
  • Website Session Authenticator: CRAFT_CSRF_TOKEN
  • Stripe Payment Authenticator: __stripe_mid
  • Forum Session Identifier: phpbb3_oaxjc_sid
  • Forum Identifier: phpbb3_oaxjc_k

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies, we will not know when you have visited our site.

Cookies Used

  • Google Analytics Cookie: _ga