The Goodwood Festival of Speed

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Goodwood excels itself every June and this year’s Festival of Speed was another triumph as a host of anniversary celebrations wowed race fans and competitors alike in a wonderful mix

Stunning cars, spine-tingling sounds, former world champions, sunshine, a few light showers and every sort of competition machinery from 1894 through to the present day were all part of the Festival of Speed in June.

With a theme of Young Chargers, Old Masters, this 12th annual treat in the grounds of Goodwood House brought some truly evocative moments, such as the sight of Damon Hill driving his late father Graham’s BRM P57. To many, though, this was eclipsed by the sight of Jacques Villeneuve pressing on up the hill in his father Gilles’ 1978 Ferrari 312 T3, especially as he wore Gilles’ helmet, crouching low in the cockpit as his father had done. Likewise, David Donohue entertained in the Sunoco Special Lola T153 Indycar with which his father Mark came second in the 1970 Indy 500.

The time-warp element that makes the Festival so special was added to by the appearance of yet another former world champion — one of six present — Emerson Fittipaldi in the Lotus 72 with which he claimed his first world title. Delighted as he was by this run, he was beside himself after a blast up the hill in a Ferrari F2001, taking to the paddle gear controls controls with ease. A selection of Lotus and McLaren cars were regular visitors to the course over the weekend, highlighting Ayrton Senna’s glorious 10 years in Formula One.

For John Surtees, Goodwood was even more special than normal as it reunited him with the Ferrari 158, the car he took to the world crown in 1964. It was saved from Enzo’s regular order of being crushed by being transformed in the mid-1960s for John to drive as part of his convalescence from the back injuries he sustained when he crashed his Can-Am car at Mosport in 1965. He still reckons that Ferrari should have given the V8 more of a go… He also enjoyed driving the RA272 that Honda had campaigned before he joined it in 1967. Alan Jones, world champion in 1980, came away with new respect for his father, having tried the Maybach that Stan raced to win the 1954 New Zealand GP.

Renault had a major presence at Goodwood, bringing along some mouth-watering machinery, including its RS01 and RE3OB for Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux as well as the 1978 Le Mans-winning Alpine-Renault A442B for JeanPierre Jaussaud and a Maxi Turbo for Jean Ragnotti.

As ever, the cars were often on equal footing with the drivers, Mercedes entertaining with three of its greatest Silver Arrows — W154, W196 and W196 Streamliner — with Surtees, Jochen Mass and Sir Stirling Moss as their enthusiastic pedallers. However, it wasn’t just thoroughbreds that went out to play, with Steve Sheers’ ‘Junkyard Dog’ Echidna-Chevrolet and Ernie Nagamatsu’s Old Yeller II typical of the American sportscars that were built to counter the European invasion of their circuits in the 1950s.

Goodwood always throws up rarities. This year the Kojima KE007 that set fastest lap in the 1976 Japanese GP paid a visit (see page 24). A Toyota 2000GT racer from the USA also turned heads.

For overall impact, though, Gerry Judah did it again with his stunning structure in front of Goodwood House. This year it celebrated 100 years of Rolls-Royce, with record breakers Bluebird, the S6B Schneider Trophy plane and the K4 water record boat, all of which had Rolls-Royce engines.

In addition to all this, Motor Sport editor Paul Feamley tackled the hill in an Alfa Romeo 159 Alfetta and a Tipo B — full story next month.

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