Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010

It’s one of the great events of the year,” said Sir Jackie Stewart after driving Jim Clark’s Indy 500-winning Lotus 38 up Goodwood’s hill. “Lord March and his team put together such an incredible event and, most importantly, the public love it. When you see cars like the 38 you just have to hold your breath.” If JYS has to hold his breath for a car, you know you’re witnessing something special.

The 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed was certainly special. Every year it affords people the chance to see some of the world’s most exciting road and race cars – and get close enough to touch them. Too often nowadays the public is pushed further and further away from the action, but not so at Goodwood, where fans lining the hillclimb often had to shield their faces as another rally car whipped up dust in front of them.

Fastest time of the day honours went to Roger Wills aboard the Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05 who completed the course in 47.15 seconds, while regular chaser Anthony Reid lost out after spinning the 1972 Lola-Cosworth T290 at the first corner. But perhaps the most exciting timed run was achieved by a Ford Transit van in 61sec. This was no ordinary van - Don Law Racing had fitted Jaguar XJ220 running gear and chassis and put Justin Law (who had set best time of the weekend for the previous two years) behind the wheel.

A white XJ220 van might be exciting to watch on a timed run, but most competitors know the way to the crowd’s heart is through burnouts and donuts – and lots of them. There were too many spectacular tyre-exhausting stunts to list here, but Jean Ragnotti deserves special mention for managing as many as four ‘360’s on his way up the hill in a 1985 Renault 5 Maxi Turbo. We have no idea how he managed it at that speed and in the confines of the narrow road, but it was certainly appreciated.

‘Viva Veloce – the passion for speed’ was a Festival theme, as was ‘Cars, Stars and Guitars’, which saw ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck and Jimmie Vaughan playing to the crowd at various points over the weekend. These guitar heroes were even more impressed with the cars than some of the fans who had paid to get in. “I’m like a kid in a candy store here,” said Vaughan. “You walk around thinking, ‘I want that one, and that one’. It’s brilliant.”

It’s no surprise that multiple Grammy Award-winning Vaughan liked what he saw. On the hill there was everything from modern F1 cars, with the likes of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton driving, to historic racing bikes and some wonderful early racers such as the 1910 Lancia Tipo 55 Corsa and the 1923 Delage V12 that set the Land Speed Record in 1924 at 143.31mph.

If anyone was still wondering why Button moved to McLaren this year, they got their answer after he drove the 1986 McLaren-TAG MP4/2C up the hill. “It’s great that I got to experience Alain Prost’s 1986 championship-winning car,” he said. “I was asking the [McLaren] guys, ‘When does the turbo kick in because it just doesn’t feel very powerful?’ And, well, I found it on the way up the hill – it was unbelievable. The amount of power that thing’s got… It’s got 1000bhp and it all comes at once. So yeah, around Monaco those guys were brave. I’ve got a lot of respect for them.”

Away from the hillclimb, Franco Lombardi’s Maserati A6GCS won the Cartier Style et Luxe concours, just beating Heather Fattorini’s Fiat 600 Multipla Marinella. George Lucas of Star Wars fame was reportedly pressing for the Italdesign Nazca C2 to win, but this had to settle – perhaps appropriately – for success in the ‘Far-fetched Fantasies’ category.

The 2010 Festival of Speed was another riot of great cars and bikes, as well as famous faces from the past and present. The fact that it was completely sold out gives some indication as to how much the public appreciates it, something we doubt will change in the future.

SIX OF THE BEST

For Motor Sport, the Festival of Speed is all about the cars. The incredible paddocks always feature gems, rarities and obscurities, and this year was no exception. We delved into the nooks and crannies to pick out six that stood out for us – all for very different reasons.

Huffaker-Offenhauser Special

Bobby Unser drove this Indycar with a difference in its first FoS appearance since 2006 (when it was crashed). The ‘difference’ is a pair of small red barrels behind the engine: Alex Moulton’s hydrolastic suspension, as seen on the Mini. The car ran at Indy in 1964 as the ‘MG Liquid Suspension Special’ when it was used to promote US sales of MG’s 1100 Sports Sedan. Walter Hansgen ran as high as second but mechanical issues (not suspension) intervened. Unser raced the car, renamed the Vita Fresh Special, to second in ’65 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Mercedes-Benz C111-11D

Yes, the D is for diesel. This experimental design, with plastic body and gullwing doors, made its debut at the 1969 Frankfurt Motorshow. Initially the C111 used a three-rotor Wankel engine that never went into production. By ’76 it had a five-cylinder diesel and was used by Mercedes for oil-burner development. The FoS car was a record-breaker. Merc took it to the Nardo circuit in southern Italy in June 1976 where it broke 16 records over a 64-hour run. It also formed the basis of a classic Matchbox and Corgi toy that any right-minded child of the ’70s would want in his collection!

Alfa Romeo SE 048-SP

We have an admission to make. We didn’t know Alfa built a Group C car until we saw it in the programme (although MS contributor and marque fanatic Richard Heseltine did – typical!). But there it was, looking glorious on display in the Cathedral Paddock. Based on a Lancia LC2 chassis, it is fitted with a 3.5-litre V12, although the V10 used in the similarly stillborn Procar 164 (also on show at Goodwood for the first time) had been earmarked. But the car never even tested, thanks to internal politics. It was rediscovered in a corner of the basement in Alfa’s incredible museum.

Ford Falcon XC GS500

Think of Jacky Ickx and it’s unlikely that this will be the first car that springs to mind. But in 1977 the Belgian maestro won the Bathurst 1000 in this monster, paired with Allan Moffat. Never before seen outside Australia, the 5.8-litre (nearly) 500hp V8 Falcon rumbled up the hill in the hands of Norm Rutherford. “It blasts along in a straight line, but it doesn’t stop very well or steer much either,” he said with a smile. We couldn’t help noticing Moffat’s signature on the dash. “Yeah, Allan grizzled when he signed it,” said Norm. “‘Bloody thing. It shouldn’t have raced then, and it shouldn’t race now.’”

Pupulidy-Porsche Special

Emil Pupulidy was building temporary bridges over the Rhine during WWII when he fell in love with European cars. Back home in the US, he built two Porsche-styled monopostos in 1954, called Pup 1 and Pup 2. This is Pup 1 – its sister was destroyed in a crash. Owner Bob Howard brought it to the FoS for the first time and told us how Pupulidy used the flat-four-powered sportster to regularly beat locals in ‘pukka’ 550 spyders. It was also a winner in the popular Nassau Speed Week. “He sold this car and went back to racing Porsches,” said Bob. “I don’t know why. This was faster.” Cute, too.

Marcos Mantis XP

Despite its outrageous lines, the XP was a Gp6 racer with pedigree running gear. A showpiece for Marcos’s wooden monocoques, the sharply faceted shape was in fashion in 1968. “It was my idea to do a wedge,” said Marcos founder Jem Marsh, “and Dennis Adams drew a fantastic shape. We borrowed Cooper F1 suspension, and I met Jack Brabham in a Chinese restaurant and persuaded him to supply a Repco V8.” In its only race, the Spa 6 Hours, it retired. Marsh then fitted a Buick V8 and drove it on the road. “I planned to build four, but couldn’t get the finance.” What a shame.

THE PARTY

Guitar Heroes

Guests of Lord March at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed Ball were treated to a spectacular night set in his garden at Goodwood House. Over 1000 guests attended, and I was invited by Formula 1 driver Karun Chandok. Other racing driver guests included Tom Kristensen, Jenson Button, Kris Meeke and Marc Gené, who was on my table.

The evening raised money for the Richard Burns Foundation to support Headway in honour of the late Henry Surtees. After dinner, guests were ushered outside to watch a breathtaking display by the Red Bull X-Fighters who performed stunts on their motocross bikes set to fireworks and music.

The star act for the night was Jimmie Vaughan with his blues band, with special guest guitarist Jeff Beck bringing the evening to a thundering close. Louisa Skipper

THE F1 STAR

Karun Chandhok

Is this your first Festival of Speed?

Yes it is, it’s an amazing event and it’s great to see so many cars because I’m a real fan of the history of the sport. Some drivers think I’m a bit of a geek because I’m like a walking encyclopaedia. I can’t tell the difference between a BMW 3-series and a 5-series, but ask me about the front wing on a 1986 McLaren and I’ll tell you. It’s an event that’s made for people like me.

So are you keeping your knowledge up to date looking round the paddock?

Absolutely, some of the fans were doing a double take because there I was on my hands and knees crawling around, looking at the brake ducts and suspension on the McLarens and Lotuses. There are some lovely bits of kit here. The 1987 Mansell car and the ’86 Prost car that Jenson’s driving are both fantastic machines. I had a sit in one just before the first run. The one I’m driving, the ’82 championship-winning Rosberg car, is also really nice. It’s bloody quick! I’m surprised how much grunt it’s got for a non-turbo car.

Have you got your eye on something for next year?

I said to Johnny [Williams, F1 team owner Frank’s son] that I’d love to have a go in the 1993 Prost car, but it’s the active suspension car so I don’t think they can run that. Maybe the ’86 or the ’87 Williams would be quite nice… I’d love to have a go in one of the McLarens - the late ’80s cars. That would be really cool.

How is HRT's first season in Formula 1 progressing?

We do the best job we can with what we’ve got, but it’s not easy. We’re lacking downforce, basically. We need a lot of development on downforce and aero, because that’s the only way we’ll be able to compete with Lotus and Virgin – forget the others. So we’ll see…

THE BIKE STAR

James Toseland

Is this your first time here?

No, it’s my second. I came to the Festival in 2006 and it was great because I was with my band and we played, so I really enjoyed it. This year my band isn’t here, but I’ve got a chance to ride an old 500 Yamaha GP bike (1992 Yamaha ROC) and I’ve never ridden one of those before. It’s always a good do, seeing the famous riders and things. I was sat next to Kevin Schwantz who was my hero when I first watched racing, so it’s nice.

Have you had a chance to walk around the paddock?

A little bit, but it’s quite difficult with the public, you can’t just wander around! Obviously in the holding bay all the cars and bikes wait before going out onto the hill, so I’ve had a good look at things there. The weather’s lovely as well, isn’t it?

You said Kevin was someone you looked up to when you first started watching the sport, so I take it you wouldn't mind a spin on his 1993 Suzuki RGV500?

When I was a kid I did idolise him and he’s always been really nice to me over the years. It still looks like a cool bike now, but I shouldn’t really say that riding for Yamaha…

Are you happier now your back in World Superbikes?

Yep, I’ve got a competitive bike that’s capable of winning races and I didn’t really have that in MotoGP, so it was tough to go racing without the opportunity to win.

THE RALLY STAR

Kris Meeke

Things haven't been going according to plan in this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge, but are you hopeful of a change in fortune soon?

People always say it’s tougher to defend a title and that’s proving to be the case. Skoda, our main championship rival, is coming on very, very strong and it’s a big battle up front. Unfortunately I’ve made a couple of mistakes trying too hard to keep up with the pace, so we’re going to have to dig deep until the end of the year. Anything’s still possible.

Is this weekend a nice break from it all?

It’s fantastic to be here. Last year was my first Festival and it was one of the best things I’ve ever been to. It’s incredible to get so close to all these old Formula 1 cars, the motorbikes, the touring cars, the rally cars... and every member of the public can touch, breathe and smell it all. There’s no other place in the world where you can get this type of atmosphere.

Is there a particular car you'd like to get behind the wheel of?

I would have to say a Formula 1 car; my ultimate ambition is to drive an F1 machine some day. Rallying is still in my blood, that’s what I do, but you always want to try something different and circuit racing is certainly one of those things.

You're trading best times up on the forest rally stage - are you determined to post the best time?

Yeah, I believe we’re quickest at the moment so hopefully it’ll stay that way. Some people may have seen the television advert I did this year with Peugeot UK. We filmed this thing with a pretty young lady and she’s here as a guest of Peugeot, so she sat in with me when we set the fastest time. Maybe it tells me something for the rally championship – we have to get a better-looking co-driver!