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2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed
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Click here to open the slideshowIntroduction
When Lord March started the Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) fifteen years ago his prime objective was to bring motorsport closer to the fans. Especially in Formula 1, the pundits could get no closer to their favourite machines and drivers than watching a race from the grandstands. It was not at all like at the FoS, where the spectators have access to the paddock to admire the collection of the past and present racing cars and their drivers. The reason for the cars to come together was a hillclimb held on the vast grounds of the Goodwood estate, where the current Lord March’s grandfather held a race up the hill for the first time in 1936. It was exactly what the enthusiasts and drivers were waiting for as within a few years the Festival had grown out to be the finest of its kind. The basic setup has not changed, which means the current racing stars and their cars are joined by an impressive line-up of historic racing cars, often reunited with original drivers. In addition to the track action, there is a wide variety of displays and activities to keep the visitors busy throughout the three day weekend. Despite the typical English weather the visitors came in great force again and to quote the event speaker ‘the enthusiasm was not washed away’.
Our photographers ventured out in the rain and shine and have returned from Goodwood with this full report and an exclusive 230-shot slideshow.

Bonham's Auction
Founding sponsor Bonham’s held their traditional auction on the Friday. At first glance the assembled lots did not look very impressive, but a closer look revealed many gems. This was further underlined by the staggering results with a sales total of £6,158,731, making it the most successful of the fifteen FoS auctions and the fourth most valuable motoring auction in the United Kingdom. The absolute top seller was the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza with Scuderia Ferrari racing pedigree. It found a new owner for £1.4 million. In addition to the Alfa Romeo there were thirteen other lots that sold over £100,000 and a total of 96.2% of the lots were sold. A surprise success was the Leyland transporter used by the Vanwall team fifty years ago. It was estimated to sell for £12,000 and eventually was hammered down at a staggering £62,000.

Spark of Genius

Breaking Records
The theme of this year’s Festival was ‘Spark of Genius – Breaking Records, Pushing Boundaries’ and enclosed a wide variety of sub themes and celebrations. There was a major focus on record-breaking machines and in particular those that raced at the Brooklands track. Just a few weeks earlier this first purpose built racing circuit in the world celebrated its 100th anniversary, although it has not been in active use for over sixty years. Since then the absolute record has been held by the W12 engined Napier Railton, which has survived and is currently the star of the Brooklands museum collection. Apart from holding the lap record, the 24-litre behemoth has broken dozens of other records and once drove for 24 hours at an average of 150 mph including fuel stops and driver changes at Bonneville. At Goodwood it was driven up the hill in very damp conditions by actor/comedian Rowan Atkinson, who is better known for driving a Mini in his Mr Bean shows. There was more to Brooklands than just the banked circuit and on the road course many great cars were raced as well. Among them were the Bentleys with their legendary drivers; the Bentley Boys. Gathered this year were the three Works Speed Sixes, which have two Le Mans and several Brooklands wins between them. The record breakers of the past and present years were further celebrated by a display on the estate’s cricket pitch with a variety of land speed record breakers including the JCB Rocket driven to a diesel world record last year. Its driver and the fastest man on four wheels Andy Green was also present to pilot an Aston Martin DBR2 up the hill.

Pushing Boundaries
Pushing boundaries was the other main sub-theme and was embodied by a group of rather unusual racing cars and all of them had a pretty short or non existent racing career. The most successful of the group was the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34, which was driven to a 1-2 victory at the Swedish Grand Prix in 1976. After that the team struggled to get the braking balance right and when the supply of front tyres ran out, the project was abandoned. Also looking set to take the world by force was the Chaparral 2J ‘Sucker Car’, driven up the hill by designer Jim Hall and its original driver Vic Elford. The snowmobile engine powering fan was not working last time we saw the car in action, but fortunately a spare was traced down on Ebay so the Goodwood crowd could enjoy the unique mix of the rumbling V8 and the buzzing two cylinder motor. In one of several drives, Sir Stirling Moss took to the track in the four wheel drive Ferguson F1 car, which he drove to victory in the Oulton Gold Cup in 1961; the only 4WD F1 win ever. A regular visitor to the Festival is the Milliken MX1 Camber Car. It was constructed by aircraft engineer and vehicle dynamics expert William Milliken as a research vehicle and has a fully adaptable suspension system through the many Meccano-like holes in the mounting plates. The ‘standard’ setup has the wheels cambered at 45 degrees. Despite his impressive age of 96, Milliken was on hand to drive the outboard engined machine.

Fifty years of Toyota racing
Taking centre stage among the many other anniversaries was Toyota with a celebration of their fifty years in motor racing. Five of the token Toyota racers were displayed high up in the air in front of the Goodwood house. Under the massive construction there was space for another six racers including a replica of the Toyopet that completed the very first race for Toyota. One of Toyota’s most successful racers, the Toyota Eagle IMSA car, was also on display, alongside the 1990 Safari Rally winning Celica. It has not been touched since and still sports the dents and ad-hoc duct repairs. Out on the hillclimb and rally stage there was also a strong Toyota presence.

Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’
Offering a haven of peace and quite amidst the roaring engines was the Cartier sponsored ‘Style et Luxe’ concours d’elegance. The 44-car field was headlined by no fewer than five of the six Bugatti Type 41 Royales. Considered the most expensive cars in the world, the five of them were insured for $60 million. That we feel is still a conservative figure. One car was shipped from the Henry Ford Museum and its caretaker was asked if it was driven often. The question was answered with a no and he went on to explain that the insurance company recently wanted $12,000 to insure the car for a 20 km ride to a local concours. Considering this, it is amazing to see the five cars lined-up without being roped off; in the great Festival tradition, the visitors could touch any of these valuable machines. Complementing these Bugattis was a very diverse field of cars ranging from a fabulous 1911 Delage Coupe de l’Auto, to the very rare Squire Sports of 1936, to the enormous Mega Track supercar built in 1995. At the end of the day the celebrity judges awarded the ‘best of show’ to the Atalanta Roadster of 1938. Only twenty of these highly advanced roadsters were built. The project was backed by racing driver Peter Whitehead, AC Bertelli of Aston Martin fame and designer Albert Gough, who would later work for Frazer Nash.

Supercar Run
A more recent addition to the FoS is the Sunday Times Supercar Run and it has quickly grabbed a very prominent status. It is so highly regarded by high-end manufacturers that they use the Run to debut and this year even preview new models. The latter was the case with all new and highly anticipated Nissan Skyline to be launched later this year. With its nose and tail covered in camouflage tape, it drove up and down the hill during three of the supercar runs up the hill and then disappeared each time. It must be the first time a camouflaged car was ever shown in public. Among the many debuts the Concept Climax caught our eye. Designed by two Coventry trained engineers, it was a box of parts less than two months before its debut. The minimalistic roadster is designed to take a small V8 engine. Another highlight among the new cars was the blisteringly fast Caparo T1, which quite literally is an F1 car for the road.

Stars and their cars
For many of the British visitors the best moment of the weekend was the drive up the hill by F1 racer Lewis Hamilton. It was his first appearance in the McLaren in England since he had taken the world of Formula 1 by force. He was joined by Britain’s other three F1 drivers and McLaren was one of six F1 teams present. Allan McNish and David Brabham were out in the Le Mans winning Audi and Aston Martin and Timo Bernhard drove the Porsche RS Spyder for the first time outside of the United States. Apart from the modern stars, there were many drivers reunited with their old cars. Among them was Sir Jackie Stewart, who drove the very Lola he almost won the Indy 500 with in 1967 for the first time in forty years. He had a comfortable two-lap lead with eight laps to go when his engine failed. Derek Bell was given the ‘keys’ to the Mirage GR7 he covered over 15,000 racing miles in. Unfortunately he clipped some mud in the wettest of the runs, destroying parts of the front right bodywork. It does add some extra history to the Gulf liveried machine. 1972 and 1974 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi was given the opportunity to drive the very Lotus 49B that he used in his first F1 race. Other big name drivers from the past included Arie Luyendyk, Al Unser Sr, Jochen Mass, Ricardo Patrese, John Surtees, Jackie Oliver and many others. Pink Floyd drummer and classic car collector Nick Mason was handed Audi’s impressive Auto Union Type C, fitted with the twin-rear tires just like Hans Stuck when he won the European Hillclimb championship in the 1930s.

Speed isn’t everything
Although the principle of a hillclimb is to drive up the hill in the shortest time, many of the cars entered in the Festival of Speed did not have their runs timed. Most of them because they were too valuable to risk and some because they were not intended to go fast in the first place. The ‘Hemi Under Glass’ Plymouth Barracuda and the ‘High-Risk Wheelie Car’ Corvette fitted in that second category. Both custom built machines have quite a trick up their sleeves as they could perform spectacular wheelies usually reserved for motorcycles. Of the cars that were timed on the very wet Sunday, the Nissan 350Z GT500 recorded the fastest time. It must be noted that Rod Millen’s fastest run was ruined when he was slowed down by the car that started ahead of his Toyota Tacuma Pikes Peak racer. In the previous days’ sessions he had set the fastest time. Another impressive and spectacular time was set by Julian Majzub in his Bentley ‘Pacey Hassan Special’.

Conclusion
The previous 1800 words are but a brief summary of the many things that made the 2007 Festival of Speed great. Some of the regular visitor might complain that they have seen that same Porsche 917 every year, but they have been spoiled and have forgotten that most enthusiasts would revel at the thought of ever getting close to any one of the 350 cars assembled at Goodwood. For a very lively drill course in motor racing history, there is nothing close to the Festival of Speed. It really is a must visit event and well worth the trip from anywhere in the world.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Pieter Melissen and Wouter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.