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2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed
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Flat-Out and Fearless
The theme for the 23rd annual Goodwood Festival of Speed was 'Flat-Out and Fearless'. Few contemporary racers embody this spirit more than Valentino Rossi, who made his debut at the Festival of Speed. The welcome he received underlined that the motorcycle ace is universally loved. Fearless was even more a requirement for a driver or rider in the past when safety features were non-existent. One of the bravest of all was Stirling Moss, who managed to win the 1955 Mille Miglia at an average of close to 100 mph on open roads. This phenomenal achievement was celebrated by bringing together seven of the eight surviving Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs, including the very car used by Moss. Also 60 years old this year is French sports car manufacturer Alpine and the proceedings were appropriately by event host Charles Lord March, who made the very first run of the weekend in the latest Alpine Celebration Coupe. In addition to the activities on the hill, the Festival of Speed also featured the annual Bonhams auction and a concours d'elegance.
We were at Lord March's fabulous estate throughout the weekend and have captured all the action, with this class-by-class 340-shot gallery as the result.

Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale
A founding partner, Bonhams is the official auctioneer at the Festival of Speed and usually pulls out all the stops for this sale. The last two years saw a mixed bag of results with a world record in 2013 for a Mercedes-Benz W196 and a controversial Ferrari in 2014. There were no such issues with the headlining Aston Martin Ulster and Porsche 718 RS61. The former is most likely the most original of all Ulster Team Cars and sold for a startling GBP 2.9 million, which far exceeded the top estimate. Consigned by Sir Stirling Moss himself, the Porsche sports racer also did well to sell for GBP 1.9 million. Another top seller was the rare Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR Roadster with less than 10 km on the odometer, which found a new owner for a whisker over GBP 1.5 million. Owned for over 30 years by the 'father of pop art' Richard Hamilton, a beautifully presented Porsche 911 S 2.4 also broke all expectations with a final price of GBP 393,500. Selling 80% of the automobile lots, the sale had a total turn-over of GBP 17 million. The Bonhams marquee also starred two fresh consignments; the original Scarab F1 car for the Goodwood Revival and the two-millionth Defender for the December Sale in London.

Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d'Elegance
Introduced to universal acclaim at the 1955 Paris Auto Salon, the Citroen DS is one of the most iconic cars ever built. To mark the 60th anniversary of the 'Goddess', the Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d'Elegance included a special class for the venerable Citroen. The entries included a wide variety of versions including rare Cabriolets and the 'Le Paris' Coupe. There was also a class dedicated to Joseph Figoni's designs, each of which was brought by American collector Peter Mullin from his fabulous museum in Oxnard, California. Among them was Figoni's most famous of all, the Talbot Lago Teardrop Coupe, which was not surprisingly awarded 'Best of Show' by the judges. These included Apple chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive and musician Roger Taylor of Queen fame, who also owns a sizeable collection of classic cars. The Cartier Style et Luxe also included a class for modern interpretations of legendary designs. A class for 1990s supercars boasted a rare Jaguar XJ220 Prototype with a proper V12 fitted in place of the twin-turbo V6 used for the production model. It was also interesting to see a Triumph Dolomite lined up alongside the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 it was 'inspired' by.

Anniversary Celebrations
Undoubtedly one of the most impressive sights at the 2015 Festival of Speed was the line-up of seven Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs, joined at one end by a pair of the similar W196 Grand Prix cars the sports racer was based on. All but one of the existing chassis were represented to celebrate the 1955 World Championship winning effort, highlighted by Moss' aforementioned Mille Miglia win. A decade later, Derek Bennett founded Chevron and the very first B1 was one of the Festival of Speed entries. It was brought by former Chevron mechanic Vin Malkie, who is today one of the brand's foremost experts. Forty years ago this year, Derek Bell scored the first of his five outright victories at Le Mans. Born locally, Bell started his racing career at the nearby Goodwood Motor Circuit, so it was very fitting that to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his first Le Mans win, the Festival of Speed boasted a special class. In addition to several of his Le Mans winning Porsches, the entries also included the Surtees he scored his only F1 point in, the Porsche 924 Carrera GTS he was given by Porsche and still uses to this day, and the McLaren F1 GTR he placed on the podium at Le Mans together with his son Justin on father's day in 1995. Throughout the weekend, Bell drove a different car in each of his six runs.

Formula 1
Formula 1 cars are always prominently featured at the Festival of Speed and this year was no exception. Five current F1 teams were present and while three brought older cars finished in the 2015 livery, both Williams and McLaren brought out earlier cars from their respective collections. Among the current drivers that were out on track were Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa. One of the most poignant displays in the paddock was a tribute to the epic fight between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux at Dijon in 1979 with a Ferrari 312 T4 and Renault RS10 lined up side-by-side in front of a large picture of the race. This year Goodwood also paid special attention to lesser known machines by inviting the likes of the Kojima KE007 and the one-off Matra-engined Shadow. Following last year's appearance of a single LEC, we were treated to the first public appearance of both cars built in period. Also included in the same class was one of the very first Minardis, which was reunited with its original driver Pierluigi Martini.

Further highlights
Literally taking centre stage this year was featured marque Mazda. In front of Goodwood House a rotary engine inspired structure was installed following the design of British artist Gerry Judah. Mounted at the very top was one of the Le Mans-winning Mazda 787Bs and the more recent LM55 Gran Turismo Concept. The entry list also featured a variety of Mazda and Mazda-engined machines, including the Chevron B16, which introduced Mazda to Le Mans, the RX-7 that won the 1981 Spa 24 Hours and the even more extreme RX-7 that dominated the 1991 IMSA GTO Championship. These were, of course, all upstaged by the actual Le Mans winning 787B that was brought from Japan especially for the occasion. Among the drivers of the howling machine over the weekend was Valentino Rossi. He really made the most of his one-day appearance as he also gunned the ex-Henri Toivonen Lancia Delta S4 up the hill. Certainly having not gone by unnoticed were the fire-belching runs up the hill of the massive Fiat S.76. Asked whether the mighty 28-litre engine would run more cleanly at full throttle, owner Duncan Pittaway admitted he had not dared to try yet. It was also great to see the mighty ex-David Hepworth BRM P167 run for the first time since 1973.

Shoot-out
In essence, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is a hill-climb event, and while most runs are not timed, the prestige of setting the fastest time of the day still encourages a wide variety of machines to try. On Saturday afternoon, the current supercars had their day in the sun with a special shout-out as part of the Michelin Supercar Run. Of the timed cars, the fastest was Goodwood specialist Anthony Reid in his Noble M600. Also setting a very impressive time was Jann Mardenborough in the 2.0 version of the Nissan Juke R. Reid also competed in the shoot-out for the (classic) competition cars on Sunday afternoon. The Toyota Camry NASCAR he was driving was however not very suited to this purpose, particularly because of the very hard oval tyres still fitted. In the end the fight for overall honours was between unlikely rivals; a 1970s Hesketh Formula 1 racer and a pair of contemporary Pikes Peak style rally cars. Eventually the shoot-out was won by Olly Clark in his very special Subaru Impreza, known as the Gobstopper II, which features a 780 bhp engine and very large wings.

Final thoughts
The previous 1,400 words describe but a handful of the many highlights of that made the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed very memorable. What we will remember in particular is the appearance of the true enthusiast Valentino Rossi and the one-in-a-lifetime 300 SLR line-up, while the howl of the Mazda rotary engines will be stuck in our ears for some time to come. All this and much, much more can be found in this action-packed 340-shot gallery.

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