Saluting the youth at Goodwood

This year’s theme will bring together a rich variety of machinery in celebration of young talent

Unless you have been living in a cave these past few years, you will be aware that every Goodwood Festival of Speed has a theme, a device to unite this diverse event under a meaningful banner. It works.

This summer the Earl of March and his team have chosen a theme that will appeal to a great many fans and will allow them to bring together cars, drivers, bikes and riders that illustrate the story. So, for the 20th Festival, on June 28–July 1, we have ‘Young Guns – Born to Win’ as the narrative of the weekend.

When we think of ‘Young Guns’ we tend to think of drivers. Goodwood will celebrate the careers of men such as Bernd Rosemeyer, Mike Hawthorn, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mike Hailwood and Colin McRae to name just a few. Beyond that, a number of related themes will trace the history of young engineers and competitors in the sport.

60 years of Lotus
Colin Chapman was just 23 years old when he established Lotus in 1952, putting him fairly and squarely in the ‘Young Guns’ as well as the ‘Born to Win’ categories of the 2012 Festival. Lotus will celebrate its 60th birthday at Goodwood with a truly spectacular display of both racing cars and road cars, from Elan to Evora, and the central ‘sculpture’ in front of Goodwood House. Lord March has described the display as ‘‘sensational’’ although all will not be revealed until the structure is in place.

50 years of Brabham
Another legendary name from the history of our sport to be celebrated in July. Jack Brabham famously won the World Championship driving his own Brabham-Repco in 1966, and cars bearing his name were still winning titles as recently as 1983 when Nelson Piquet used Gordon Murray’s BT52 to claim the drivers’ title. The team’s illustrious history will be on display in the paddock and on the track, a celebration that will bring back some great memories of Sir Jack and his cars.

Alain Prost
Another ‘Young Gun’ who was born to win – and went on to score four World Championships – makes his irst appearance at Goodwood. In a glittering career he raced for Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams before establishing his own Prost Grand Prix team. An exhibition of 100 photographs will be on show at the Festival alongside some of the cars raced by Le Professeur, who will drive on the hillclimb the Friday and Saturday of the event.

Cartier Style et Luxe
Now firmly established as one of the most respected design competitions in the world of motoring, the Cartier Style et Luxe for 2012 promises to be truly exceptional. For the first time ever Cartier will focus on just one set of vehicles. To celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, all the vehicles will be personally owned, or used, by the Queen. Many of these will come straight from her private collections at Sandringham and the Royal Mews and will include limousines, working cars, personal family cars, royal household toy cars and horse-drawn vehicles. None of these have ever been seen together as a collection in public. Not to be missed.

Forest Rally Stage
The rallying element of the Festival has been a hugely popular addition to this event. This year there is no clash of dates with either the WRC or IRC, so we can expect a great gathering of rally cars from across the decades. Skoda will bring its Fabia works team cars while other manufacturer s ar e expected to take this opportunity to perform in front of the fans on the tight and tricky stage through the Goodwood forest. The chance to see some of the world’s top drivers sliding between the trees is well worth the trek up the hill from Goodwood Park.

Group C Anniversary
The competitive element of the Festival moves up a gear in 2012 with some of the spectacular Group C sports cars joining the timed ‘shoot-out’ on the Sunday afternoon. Expect to see the 1990 Le Mans pole-winning Nissan R90CK, last year’s winner Justin Law in his Jaguar XJR8/9 Le Mans car, a Sauber-Mercedes C9, a Peugeot 905 and the Spice SE90C, all of which bring back memories of the great Group C era. Bag your space trackside for what should be a highlight of the Festival.

Festival of Speed founder Lord March told Motor Sport: “It always gives me a big thrill to see so many fantastic cars and bikes going up the hill past Goodwood House. This year looks like being one of the best ever, with so many great machines, and so many of the legendary drivers and riders, some of whom have never been to the Festival before. I’m already excited.”

Rob Widdows