After a decade of innovation, refinement and continual growth; the Festival of Speed has undoubtedly established itself as the foremost global celebration of motorsport on 2 and 4 wheels. With exhibits (both static and demonstration) from 34 of the world’s best known car collections and a further 36 cars flown from America; the full and exacting timetable of events over the three days was, as ever, superbly managed by Charles March and the Goodwood Estate.
With the added benefit of four hours live TV coverage by French provider “Motors TV” and “Goodwood Radio”, there was no excuse for missing any of the action whether you were there …or not! Additionally UK-based historic racer and former Le Mans competitor, Alain de Cadenet, was filming a documentary for the American “pay per view” Speed Channel.
This year's theme, “the First Decade”, drew together an unrivalled presence of motor manufacturers to celebrate our motorsport heritage over the last century; as well as welcoming back crowd favourites that have defined the diversity of the Festival. Featured manufacturer Ford, in its centenary year, provided the now traditional large scale sculpture in front of the house –using an alleged 6 miles of polypropylene guttering, on which was mounted a recreation of Ford’s famous 1-2-3 result at the 1966 Le Mans –complete with windscreen wipers on the models and lots of water! Jack Sears had been invited to run in the Ford Celebration class with his highly original Galaxie 500 and was fortunate to make best use of the copious water sprays to keep his car clean , being parked directly beneath it!! Demonstrating that Ford remains passionate about motorsport it was great to see both Edsel Ford II (Henry Ford’s grandson) and their lifelong sporting ambassador Sir Jackie Stewart present, and driving – the former in the last Model T built and the latter at the wheel of the Cologne Capri.
The two paddocks situated either side of the House were complemented by a display charting the 50 years of the Chevrolet Corvette and the entrants for the Cartier Style et Luxe, which yet again drew a confusing list of entrants. But there was no doubt about the overall winner, the freshly restored Alfa Romeo based, Bertone designed BAT 5. The adjacent supercar display included four of Ferraris' current models enhanced by the latest Pagani Zonda and the mindblowing 655 bhp,1170 kg , 325,000 euro Koenigsegg – which can best be described as Sweden’s answer to the Lamborghini Diablo (except a little more expensive). Demonstrating his enthusiasm for all things Ferrari was Jay Kay, lead singer of Jamiroquai with his recently collected, black 2003 spec Enzo and he’s the latest generation of “music men” who enjoy their motorsport….alongside Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and Steve O'Rourke, as well as Genesis’s manager Tony Smith.
Increasingly the emphasis of the weekend has become more about demonstration, rather than timed climbs of the 1.2 mile hill; and only approximately 20% of the entry “ran against the clock”…..fastest time of the weekend came from current British Hill Climb champion, Scotland's Graham Wight Jnr and the state of the art hillclimber –the Gould-Cosworth, just under 2 secs shy of Nick Heidfeld’s outright record. The top 6 were –
Of the above, Wight Jnr was very smooth and controlled with a terminal speed of 139 mph; New Zealander Rod Millen (aka King of Pikes Peak) proved that it is possible to brake, accelerate, change both gear and direction on grass……all at the same time in his 900bhp, twin turbocharged Tacoma based pickup!; David Franklin continued his successful season in Carlos Monteverde’s Ferrari 712; emerging “historic talent” Justin Law from Stoke on Trent was “mighty” at the wheel of the totally ill suited Jaguar XJR and first time visitor and former German Touring Car Champion Manuel Reuter showed excellent speed in the the Opel Calibra V6.
The Ferrari enthusiast was well catered for – aside from David Franklin and Sally Mason Styrron in her Competition Daytona; Tony Smith in the 246 Dino was a class winner; Peter Sachs (335S) and Robert Dusek (612) had cargo’d their cars from the ‘States; UK based collectors Paul Vestey and Clive Beecham provided historic 250GTO and SWB examples and Cornelius Tamboer made available his 312P which was shared by legends Jacky Ickx and Nino Vaccarella.
Seven of the current teams in Formula 1 provided examples of their present or past endeavours; Ferrari brought the F2002 for test driver Felipe Massa; Jordan had Ralph Firman demonstrating the same chassis he was due to compete in the British Grand Prix with; Toyota’s Olivier Panis and Christiano di Matta were both present and faced the same concern as Firman; Renault test driver Alan McNish didn’t spare the tyre smoke, nor did crowd favourite (which includes your scribe!) Juan Pablo Montoya in the Williams FW24; McLaren had a static display of its current car, but had test driver Anthony Davidson and Johnnie Herbert to share the late Ayrton Senna’s 1993 MP4 and BAR split the duties over the weekend between test driver Takuma Sato and Jenson Button.
The Drivers' Club adjacent to the F1 paddock was a haven for some of the sport's most successful and colourful drivers ……Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Jack Brabham, Nelson Piquet, Phil Hill, Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Al Unsers Snr and Jnr, NASCAR legend David Pearson, Johnny Herbert, Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx, Andy Wallace, Nino Vaccarella, Arturo Merzario, David Piper, Dickie Attwood, Jackie Oliver, Tony Marsh, Roy Lane, Marc Surer, Jean Ragnotti, David Brabham, Guy Smith, Malcolm Wilson, Hannu Mikkola, Petta Solberg….the list was diverse and endless
Bonhams offered three tipos in its Goodwood sale …all were sold….. £92k for a 2,500 mile from new Daytona, £28k for a selectively used and well maintained Testa Rossa and £33k for a Dino….in need of a cherished home!
It is difficult to do justice to the Festival of Speed; to enthusiasts it has become almost a pilgrimage to a forgotten land….where spectators can access and talk freely with their heroes of whatever era or discipline within sport.
Attached is a gallery of some of the most interesting, rare and exciting cars and personalities that made this year's Festival an unmissable event……oh and I haven’t even mentioned the wheel standing antics of Goodwood favourite - American drag racer Bob Riggle with his 1100 bhp, mid engined 1966 Plymouth Barracuda!!...well only once!
Click here to return to the Ferrari Happenings page.