Jubilees and jet packs: 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed preview

Car Culture

Looking ahead to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which takes place on July 12-15

Jenson Button at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed

For the first time ever, a fully-autonomous car will attempt this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb as Roborace takes to the 1.16-mile track, and that sums the spirit of the festival up completely.

This is not a case of ‘out with the old, in with the new,’ rather, the Duke of Richmond has always been one to make room for the future classics next to the most covetable and seminal historic racing cars. This year’s event fills that brief and then some.

The list of drivers signed up for the festival’s silver jubilee makes, expectedly, for a stellar line-up in an equally magnetic cavalcade of cars and motorcycles. There’s not enough space here to list them all, so, instead, here are just a few picks.

Richard Attwood, 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours winner, will drive a Porsche 804 – one of which took the marque to the top step of the Formula 1 podium – while five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell is set to take the helm of the Porsche 917K, Porsche 962 and McLaren M10B. Arithmetic goes awry when trying to count the sheer number of Le Mans wins represented here: David Brabham, Martin Brundle, Neel Jani, Marc Gene, Klaus Ludwig, Brendon Hartley and Hurley Haywood are just a few of the drivers with La Sarthe glory on their CV.

As for the cars they’ll be driving, Haywood will be at the helm of Porsche #057 and Jani will be joining the fray in a Porsche 919. Tom Kristensen returns to the festival to drive an Audi R8 and Ford Escort Twin-Cam, Ludwig will drive three Mercedes including the W196.

And of Le Mans-winning cars, the BMW V12 LMR will be piloted by Pierluigi Martini. The list goes on…

If F1 is what you want to see, then look no further than Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes prodigy George Russell taking turns in the 2016 Mercedes W07. Karun Chandhok will drive the cult-hero Williams FW26 – the Walrus-nose – and Stoffel Vandoorne pedals a McLaren M23.

Sir Jackie Stewart returns, this time in a quartet of cars – a Matra MS80, Lola T90 Seal Fast Special, Tyrrel 003 and 006 – while Jackie Oliver takes to the hill in a BRM P153.

If that somehow doesn’t get the crowds on their feet, Robert Kubica’s return should – he’s down to drive a Lancia 037.

Land Rover celebrates 70th anniversary at Goodwood

Leading the pack of motorcyclists will be 15-time Grand Prix world champion Giacomo Agostini on an MV Agusta, Maria Costello in an LCR F2 Sidecar and three-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea taking the ‘bars of a Kawasaki.

Sixty years of the British Touring Car Championship will be celebrated, with six BTCC squads taking part in a special shootout for supremacy up the hill. The diamond jubilee festivities continue with tin-top stars such as the Alfa Romeo 155, Mini Cooper S, Volvo 850 Estate and the Austin A105 paying homage to the series’ history.

Sideways action will be guaranteed, if not by the BTCC drivers, as the drifters will also return for those craving a few doughnuts (ahem).

McRaes Jimmy and Alastair represent the rally contingency sharing driving duties in a Subaru Legacy, Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans will show off their WRC M-Sport Fiesta, and Walter Röhrl drives a Paris-Dakar Porsche 911 SC.

No stranger to hillclimbs himself, five-time Pikes Peak winner Rod Millen stars too, and his son Rhys hands his Pikes Peak SUV record-breaking Bentley Bentayga its Goodwood debut. The Volkswagen I.D. R, which set a new overall record this year, will attempt to do the same up the hill.

That record came at the expense of Land Rover, but the iconic marque and its fans have their own celebration: 70 years of. And so, 70 Land Rovers, Discoveries and Defenders included, will take part in a parade.

Old and new: that’s what the Festival of Speed has always been able to meld seamlessly. Roborace and Richard Petty, Jenson Button and the JB11 JetPack (making its European debut), drifters and drag racers, Land Rovers and Le Mans.

There isn’t an event this year that covers such a staggering amount of ground.

View the full timetable here

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