Goodwood Festival: It’s a family affair
With a central theme of ‘Young Chargers, Old Masters’, the greatest racing dynasties in the history of the sport will be celebrated during the 2004 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Every summer, Lord March and his team transform the grounds of Goodwood House into a glorious commemoration of everything that is wonderful about motorsport. Star names, star cars, the unique and the remarkable all gather in the Sussex countryside to run up the 1.16-mile strip of asphalt. In the paddock, the atmosphere is pure garden party.
Once again the event has drawn together an amazing entry of cars covering more than 100 years of the sport Aside from the racing dynasties theme, the Festival will also celebrate 75 years of the Monaco Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna’s dominant decade in Formula One, 100 years of American road racing and 25 years of the Paris-Dakar Rally.
But centre stage goes to the racing families that have shaped the sport. Damon Hill will drive the BRM P578 that his father Graham took to the 1962 world championship; Emerson Fittipaldi, to be joined by his nephew Christian for the event, will climb back into a Lotus 72; Alan Jones will drive his tide-winning Williams FW07B and the Maybach Special raced by his father Stan in Australia in the 1950s.
Other notable families on parade include Jack Brabham and his son David, Jacky Ickx and his daughter Vanina, Derek Bell and his son Justin, while brothers Bobby and Donnie Allison will represent NASCAR, and David Donohue will drive the Lola T153 ‘Sunoco Special’ Indycar made famous by his late father Mark.
Elsewhere Juan Manuel Fangio II will drive a Maserati 250F in honour of his uncle; Robbie Walker will drive the Delahaye 135S that his father Rob raced at Le Mans in 1939; and Gary Bettenhausen will drive the 1951 Indy 500-winning Belanger with which his father Tony won the 1951 USAC drivers’ championship. Other racing families, including Ascari, Bugatti, Piquet, Rosberg and Taruffi, will be remembered by competition cars from their histories.
For other fans the highlight of the weekend will again be the sensory overload of current-generation F1 cars being driven hard through the Sussex countryside. The ‘unofficial’ target, as it has been for four years now, is the outright hill record claimed back in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren MP4-13 at a mind-blowing 41.6sec.
Ferrari, McLaren, BAR, Renault, Toyota and Williams will send recent F1 cars, with Jenson Button, Takuma Sato, Olivier Panis, Cristiano da Matta and Luca Badoer all expected to be on driving duty. Like all classes at Goodwood, the F1 cars will attack the hill twice each day.
However, many fans will relish the chance to see cars that are rare visitors to these shores. The inclusion of dragsters into the Goodwood mix, while at first seemingly incongruous, has become a real crowd favourite. This year, for the first time, dragsters from the infamous AA class of the 1960s will shake the ground. Banned in the 1970s for being too outrageous, these supercharged V8 cars can hit 200mph in 7sec! Leon Fitzgerald’s Pure Heaven and Don Green’s Rat Trap will rate high on the ‘must see’ list.
Cars from manufacturer museums will be present. Sure to gather the crowds is the 1924 Alfa Romeo P2, making its UK debut after a lengthy restoration. Jaguar’s museum will be represented by cars that include the 1953 Le Mans-winning C-type with current F1 ace Mark Webber aboard, while Mercedes-Benz will bring a W196 for Jochen Mass and a streamliner for Sir Stirling Moss.
Away from the racers, Malcolm Wilson will oversee his teenage son Matthew in a Fond Focus WRC, while a gaggle of Paris-Dakar vehicles will include crowd-pleaser An Vatanen in a Nissan Navara and Jacky Ickx in a Porsche 959.
The event remains a truly amazing experience, but its visitors need to remember that the 2004 Festival is an advance ticket-only event. So don’t miss out on one of the greatest events on the motorsport calendar!
Lunch with Stéphane Ratel
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