The traditional Goodwood media day took place outside the house and on the estate’s famous hillclimb on Wednesday morning, as the Earl of March set out what we should expect at the two events that dominate the British motoring summer.
The Festival of Speed takes place on July 12-14 this year, and being a special anniversary year for the event, the main theme will be ‘best of the first 20 years’. Expect some of the most spectacular and noisy highlights of festivals past.
“I really can’t believe that we’ve been staging the Festival of Speed for 20 years already, the time has simply flown by!” said Lord March. “I wasn’t too certain if anyone would be interested in coming along to our very first event back in 1993. We expected around 5000 people, and over 25,000 turned up!
“Today the Festival attracts over 185,000 enthusiastic and knowledgeable spectators, which I just could not have imagined way back in 1993.”
As usual, a raft of anniversaries will be marked. Porsche’s 911 will provide the inspiration this year for the giant sculpture in front of Goodwood House, as the 50th birthday of the world’s most familiar sports car is celebrated.
McLaren’s golden anniversary is another theme, along with 90 years of Le Mans, 60 years of the sports car world championship (even if it’s hardly been a continuous history) and 40 years of the World Rally Championship. The place to revel in the latter will be on the tight and twisty forest stage at the top of the hill.
Already, many great names from racing’s past and present have said yes to Lord March’s invitation, including Alain Prost who only made his Festival debut last year. He must have enjoyed it if he’s agreed to return.
No current F1 drivers have yet confirmed their attendance, but seven of the 11 teams have pledged to be there. McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Lotus, Caterham and Marussia will all send cars to run on the hill.
The day before the Festival, the Moving Motor Show will once again showcase the world’s car marques and their latest models. This event has essentially become the British Motor Show and it’s clear that most manufacturers have bought into the unique concept that allows potential customers to experience the cars in motion rather than just on a static stand in a hall. Skoda, Lexus, Peugeot and Porsche are all planning world debuts for new models on July 11, which says much for the event’s worth to the car giants of the world.
At the Revival on September 13-15, the Whitsun Trophy will be run as 45-minute two-driver one-make Ford GT40 race, to celebrate another golden anniversary. Following the AC Cobra thrash last year, it’s a concept that has clearly caught on.
Ferrari’s 250LM has also hit the half-century this year, and for the first time in 13 years a number of these great cars will line up on the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration race. Can they challenge the Jaguar E-type hordes? On period performance, most certainly they should.
The 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s first F1 World Championship will be the theme for this year’s circuit parade, while the 100th birthday of the Tour de France (the car event, obviously!) will also be marked.
To get us in the mood for another year at Goodwood, an incredible selection of racing cars, motorcycles and supercars were wheeled out for the media day. Highlights included an 1894 Peugeot, Brooklands’ grand Napier Railton, Jochen Mass in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut coupé’, a Ferrari 512S and Gulf Porsche 917, a couple of glorious BMW CSL ‘Batmobiles’ and racing Jaguars of the 1980s in the form of the TWR XJS and XJR-8.
Just a taste of what’s to come at the 20th anniversary Festival of Speed.