The 27th Goodwood Festival of Speed took place between 4th – 7th July at the spacious Goodwood House, located in West Sussex in the south of Great Britain, under the auspices of former Lord March, the current Duke of Richmond.
A place inseparably linked to the history of English motorsport became the venue of the traditional hill climb combined with a rich accompanying program, of which the main theme this year was called “Speed Kings – Motorsport Record Breakers”. Each of the four days almost 100,000 fans from all over the world, including the Czech Republic, visited this important event of world motoring organised on an area of more than 48 square kilometres. With a total exhibits’ value in excess of £1.8 billion, it was a truly valuable show.
All events were divided into several concurrent parts, which, apart from the central “Hill climb” held on a 1.86 kilometre long track with 9 corners (after a couple of serious accidents in the past, formula cars and motorcycles are not measured here) form a rally stretch called “Forest Rally Stage”, a super-sport car ride called “Supercar run” or a static show called “Cartier Style et Deluxe”. These are also freely complemented by the “Moving Motor Show”, consisting of demonstration and test drives for potential buyers of new luxury and sports cars.
In practice, however, the program is much more comprehensive. It includes, for example, presentations by manufacturers who are often presenting their latest innovations in the world premiere. Thereafter, a chapter of its own is a display for various historic anniversaries, as well as regular participation of significant personalities from around the world, not to mention the annual auction of the Bonhams auction company.
The most prestigious theme every year is one, to which the “Central Feature” has been dedicated since 1997. This year, this large art sculpture designed by Gerry Judah commemorated the 70th anniversary of Aston Martin’s first victory at the Goodwood track (1949) concurrently with the 60th anniversary of local victory at the Tourist Trophy race (1959) for the DBR1 car and its crew Carroll Shelby / Stirling Moss / Tony Brooks / Jack Fairman.
The British Bentley certainly did not stay aside and celebrated its 100th anniversary with 30 exhibits. These included, for example, the 4¼-liter ‘Embiricos’ Special 8-liter module (1930) owned by Walter O. Bentley, the Speed Six designed by the coachbuilders Gurney Nutting, and also the Pininfarina Mark VI or Continental GT Zagato. In addition, the “Hill climb” race was attended by the EXP2, the first ever model of the brand (1921) or the legendary Blower No. 2 carved by Birkin.
This year’s 100th anniversary was also remembered by the French brand Citroën, which, in addition to its extensive exhibition, presented cars of its successful racing program in the “Forest Rally Stage”. Also interesting was the varied parade of the British Mini cars, and for which it has been 60 years this year since the launch of their first Mini car. The stars of this event were the original crew Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon, who set off on the track in an original racing special, with which, in 1964, they won the first place at the Monte Carlo rally. Then, for its 70th anniversary the Italian brand Abarth was represented by the special Abarth 750 Sperimentali ‘Goccia’ Vignale (1957).
Another significant event worth its attention was the 50th anniversary of the legendary Porsche 917, represented by 12 different specimens. Virtually all evolutionary stages, from the original 1969 model through the highly successful 917K model to the 917/30 model dominating the Can-Am races, were represented. And of course, other known designs, such as the 917LH or 917 P / A were not missing.
The organisers also paid a compliment to the 24-hour Le Mans race in 1969, which was last won by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver in the Ford GT40 of the private British garage JW Automotive Engineering. The whole trio met again this year on the track in Goodwood. In connection with the blue oval, the fourth of the five made prototypes of the GT40 X Roadster, one considered to have been lost for 40 years, was also interesting.
Very moving was the reunion of Emerson Fittipaldi with the single-seater Lotus 72, serial number 5, with which he won the 1972 World Championship title (and also had a serious car crash), as well as a show of former racing cars (Matra-Cosworth MS80-02), Tyrrell-Cosworth 006, BRM P261) of Sir Jackie Stewart, a longstanding supporter of “Festival of Speed”. Under the personal auspices of Corinna Schumacher, her husband and seven times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher was honoured on his 50th birthday, which he celebrates this year.
The “who can’t stand the heat should get out of the kitchen” applied on the 2.5 kilometre long track “Forest Rally Stage”, where former, current and future champions presented themselves at the wheels of historical and modern specials, from iconic machines of the 1960’s and 1970’s (Sunbeam Talbot Alpine, Mini Cooper, Toyota Celica, Renault-Alpine A110, Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0, Lancia Stratos HF, Ford Escort Mk I) through the dreaded group B monsters of the 1980’s (Peugeot 205 T16, Renault R5 Turbo, Lancia Delta S4, MG Metro 6R4), the heroes of the 1990’s (Toyota Celica GT-Four, Subaru Legacy) to the present (Citroën DS3 WRC).
The visitors were attracted by the static exhibition “Cartier Style et Deluxe”. A say-it-all is a random selection, including the Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato (1961), the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Tickford (1979), the Bentley R-Type Continental RJ Mulliner (1955), the Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio Gangloff (1938), Bristol 406 GT Zagato (1960) or Avions Voisin C7 Lumineuse (1927).
Finally, the world premieres definitely deserve a mention, including the new De Tomaso, their first car after many years. A breath-taking super-sport called the P72 was designed by Peter Brock (Shelby Daytona Coupe, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray) and Joe Wong. The car visually celebrating racing prototypes of the 1960’s uses the mechanics of the German company Apollo. Only a limited edition of 72 of these cars will be going into production. For the first time ever, the British brand Land Rover, currently owned by the Indian enterprise Ratana Tata, presented a development prototype of the new generation of the iconic Defender, which was driven during the opening ride of the event by The Duke of Richmond himself.
The track at Goodwood has the same elevation of 92.7 meters (4.9%) between start and finish, but the imaginary bar set between them gets higher every year. For a few days this year the hill has once again become the peak of the motoring world and the view from it was truly spectacular.