Young guns, born to win
The theme for the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed was 'Young guns, born to win', honouring drivers that came to the fore at a very early age. As with seemingly any celebration at Goodwood, Sir Stirling Moss ticks all the boxes for this theme and he was on hand to drive the Jaguar XK120 he raced to his first major international victory when he was just 20 years old. Fittingly this year Sebastien Vettel, the youngest ever double World Champion, also made his first 'Festival' appearance. Further celebrations included the 60th anniversary of Lotus, 30 years of Group C and a tribute to karting legend Martin Hines, who was responsible for launching many careers, including that of another 'young gun' in attendance, Lewis Hamilton. On Friday, founding sponsor Bonhams held their annual and this time highly anticipated auction, while the Cartier Style & Luxe Concours d'Elegance marked the 'Diamond Jubilee' of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Typical British weather that changed remarkably from clear blue skies to heavy showers and back again, did not deter us from capturing the event in its entirety with the following concise report and a 350-shot gallery
as the result.
Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale
After several difficult sales, Bonhams had very high hopes for their annual flagship auction at the Festival of Speed. Considering both the breadth and depth of the lots the anticipation was certainly justified. Leading the way was the magnificent collection of Master Watchmaker George Daniels and the unique Glasius Lotus Collection. With a sale total of GBP 22 million, it was a Friday to remember for Bonhams. The ex-Tim Birkin Bentley Blower topped the sale, changing hands for just over GBP 5 million. This makes it the most expensive British car ever sold auction. One of the most famous Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts of all time courtesy of a Corgi toy, the 'Double Pullman Limousine' was a close second at GBP 4.7 million. Another world record was smashed when the hammer went down on a Ferrari 275 GTS at GBP 560,000. There was more of a mixed result for the Lotus Collection with the racing cars selling well but some of the unique prototypes failing to reach the reserve. Also on display in the Bonhams marquee were a barn-find Mercedes-Benz S Type and one of just two genuine Le Mans type Lagonda V12s, which should attract plenty of attention for the Goodwood Revival Sale in September.
Cartier Style & Luxe Concours d'Elegance
Celebrating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 'Diamond Jubilee', the 'Style & Luxe' concours d'elegance was dedicated exclusively to vehicles used and/or commissioned by royals or heads of state. A large number of these often unique machines were entered by the Queen herself, while other entrants also included the French presidential office. The unusual line-up ranged from a train wagon to specifically modified Land Rover-based 'Royal Review Vehicles'. Judged by a very diverse panel that included legendary athlete Edwin Moses as well as AC/DC front man Brian Johnson, the 'best of show' picked from the 'Jubilee ensemble' was Prince Charles' Aston Martin DB6 Volante famously used during the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. On Saturday and Sunday, the Queen's Jubilee was further celebrated with a parade of the cars, culminating in a fireworks display behind the Goodwood House.
Event host, Lord March is a self-professed fan of American motorsport, which was further underlined by a special 'Americana' class in the entry. This featured a broad selection of cars that raced in the United States from current NASCARs to Group 44 Jaguars. Due to be honoured at the Goodwood Revival, many of the 'Americana' entries had links to Dan Gurney. Although not part of this class, the entry list also included the very Eagle Mk1 Weslake he famously drove to victory in the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix. In immaculate condition, this particularly beautiful Grand Prix car was demonstrated throughout the weekend by Brian Redman. An American influence was also found in the 'Ferocity & Finesse' group, dedicated to 1972 vintage big-bore machines that were campaigned in Can-Am (Ferocity) and the three-litre sports racers used in the World Championship. Among them was a rare Shadow Mk III that is powered by a massive 9-litre V8, which according to the driver is good for a staggering 1,080 bhp on a cold day. At the opposite end of that spectrum was the Matra MS670B, which was driven by Damon and Josh Hill in honour of their father and grandfather's 1972 Le Mans win in a similar car, and also by current sports car ace Nic Minassian. He enjoyed the V12's howl so much that he preferred being deafened over wearing earplugs.
30 Years of Group C
Introduced in 1982, Group C ranks among the favourite classes for many sports car enthusiasts. Effectively limited primarily by a set fuel supply for the race, the cars built to these regulations are still among the fastest ever. The 30th anniversary of Group C was celebrated this year with a dedicated class that featured the complete range of machines from the early Porsche 956 through to the Peugeot 905, which was the last Group C car to win Le Mans, in 1993. Modern endurance racers also featured strongly with the current Le Mans rivals Toyota and Audi both bringing their machines fresh from Le Mans. Slightly earlier machines in action were a freshly restored McLaren F1 GTR, a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR and one of the works Maserati MC12s. Making its dynamic debut at the Festival of Speed was Lord Drayson's all-electric Lola B12/69 EV. Powered no fewer than four motors, it deliveres a combined 850 bhp to the road.
Lotus' 60th Anniversary
The 2012 featured marque was Lotus, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. This occasion was marked by bringing together over 40 important Lotus competition cars, four of which were suspended on the Gerry Judah sculpture in front of the house, which fittingly boasted a monocoque construction. Among the many important Lotus cars in attendance were the Climax engined 18 driven to the manufacturer's first Grand Prix victory by Stirling Moss, and also the world championship winning machines of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti. Fittipaldi himself was in attendance to drive both a Lotus 49 and a Lotus 72 both in the iconic Gold Leaf colours. In addition to the Grand Prix machinery, a full range of GT, sports and rally cars was also brought out. Among the rarest of these was the Supercar Championship winning Esprit X180R, which was reunited with its original driver Doc Bundy. Sitting quietly in the paddock were one of Lotus-founder Colin Chapman's earliest creations as well as the Elan driven to the airport by Jim Clark for his flight to Germany ahead of his fatal crash on the Hockenheimring.
Michelin Supercar Run
An ever popular element of the Festival of Speed, is the Supercar Run, which was backed by Michelin for the first time this year. It always brings out a wide array of exotic machinery, ranging from the 'familiar' Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis to the truly unusual, which this year included the Korean-built de Macross Epique GT1 and the Savage Rivale GTR from The Netherlands. Some manufacturers also use the event to debut brand new machinery, some still even in camouflage. The trend started by Nissan with the GT-R back in 2007, was followed this year by the likes of Renault, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar. The latter showcasing the highly anticipated F-Type sports car. Building on the popularity of the Supercar Run, the Festival of Speed once again featured the 'Moving Motorshow' on Thursday, which allowed the public to sample the various manufacturers' latest releases. A stellar success, this has added further incentive for manufacturers to participate and also attracted a remarkably large crowd.
Festival of Speed
While most cars are merely demonstrated on the hill, there is also still an element of competition included in the Festival of Speed. Holder of the all-time record since 1999 is Nick Heidfeld, who was a McLaren test driver at the time. He was reunited with a similar MP4/13 Mercedes this weekend but he did not attempt any timed runs in this ex-Mika Hakkinen world championship winning machine. Always featuring among the top runners are Justin Law, Gary Ward and Anthony Reid. This year the shout-out on Sunday afternoon ended in the latter's favour with a fastest time of 46.46s in a brand new Chevron GT3 machine. This was barely 3/10s faster that Ward in 'his' Leyton House CG901B Formula 1 racer. The shout-out did not end so well for veteran hill-climber and longtime Goodwood record holder Rod Millen as he crashed his outrageous Pikes Peak Toyota Tacoma. Fortunately the driver was unhurt and the damage to the car limited to a bent front suspension and dinged bodywork. Fastest lady of the day was Holly Mason-Franchitti in the Lola T297 her father Nick had drive to 3rd in class at Le Mans in 1980.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is without equal and accordingly attracts entrants and spectators from all over the world. A most fitting example this year was Michael Bennett, who brought his ex-Monaco Grand Prix Lotus 12 Climax all the way from Australia to Goodwood, where it was reunited with original mechanic Merv Therriault, who had travelled all the way from Vancouver, Canada. They, like the ever impressively large number of spectators undoubtedly left the, at times muddy, Goodwood estate thoroughly satisfied. We can not wait until the 2013 edition, which marks the 20th anniversary of Festival of Speed. Until then, we trust you will enjoy this 350-shot
overview of the 2012 Festival of Speed.