From Strength to Strength
Motorsport returned to the Goodwood estate in 1993 for the first time since the circuit hosted its last contemporary race in 1966. The inaugural Festival of Speed was a rather low key affair but thanks to the interesting cars that lined for the run up the hill, the event soon managed to draw very big crowds. The key ingredient to the success has been Goodwood's Lord March's ability to convince collectors and manufacturers to bring out their finest machines. In recent years the Festival of Speed even became the de facto British Motor Show with an increasing number of those same manufacturers showing their new wares for the first time at Goodwood. In 2010 this aspect of the Festival will get a more official character by the addition of a new 'Preview Day' on the Thursday (July 1st) ahead of the three-day event. During this 'Moving Motor Show' prospected customers will be able to drive many of the latest model on a special route that includes the same run up the hill that will be used for the Festival of Speed the following three days.
In 1998 the Goodwood motorsport roster was expanded with the Revival Meeting. This was held at the circuit, which was completely restored to look like it did when cars last raced in anger. Visitors were kindly requested to dress up accordingly to complete the time-warp experience. Each year an exceptional array of classic racing cars and motorcycles line up for the dozen or so races, often piloted by famous drivers of the past and present. Little has changed to the very successful setup of the event over the years. For 2010 a larger grandstand will be placed at Woodcote corner and slightly less tickets will be available to give the spectators a little more room to enjoy all the action.
Festival of Speed (July 2-4)
Honouring Alfa Romeo's centenary, the main theme of the 2010 Festival will be 'Viva Veloce! - The Passion for Speed.' The Italian marque will be featured on the 'sculpture' that is placed outside the Goodwood House and over 50 of the brand's road and racing cars are expected to be entered. Among them will be many familiar examples but also very rarely seen machines like the never-raced Group C prototype and hopefully the Alfa-engined Brabham BT46B fan car. In addition to Alfa Romeo, the 'Viva Veloce' theme also covers Italy's great passion for and profound influence on motorsport.
Further celebrations include the 60th anniversaries of the Formula 1 World Championship and the Carrera Panamericana, and the 50th anniversary of the Forest Stages on the RAC Rally and the Great Race at Bathurst. Formula 1 has always been a key ingredient of the Festival of Speed and at least six of the current teams have already confirmed their attendance. Many of the current drivers, including reigning World Champion Jenson Button, are set to display their machinery on the hill. Another World Champion that will star at the Festival is Sebastian Loeb, who set the fastest time on the rally stage in 2009 on only his first visit to the event. A former World Champion to make his debut this year is 1993 500cc motorcycle champion Kevin Schwantz. He will be joined by many other legends of the sport like Giacamo Agostini.
One of the main attractions off the hill will be the 'Cars, Stars and Guitars' exhibition, featuring a collection of cars owned by famous musicians along with their signature guitars. It is hoped that the likes of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck will take up their instruments and play alongside their cars. On the 'Cricket Pitch' 20 cars will be lined up that have starred in famous songs like Wilson Picket's Mustang Sally and Prince's Little Red Corvette. Live bands will perform the 20 songs throughout the event.
Revival (September 17-19)
The 2010 edition of the Revival will celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Surtees' first car race and the 60th anniversary of BRM's first victory, both of which were at Goodwood. A multiple world champion on two wheels, John Surtees had not even so much as attended a car race before he lined up for a Formula Junior race at Goodwood. He finished a close second to one Jim Clark and within months managed to claim a pole position in a Formula 1 race. In April of 1961, he scored his first F1 win at Goodwood, in the non-championship Glover Trophy. As a Ferrari works driver, Surtees was crowned F1 World Champion. In doing so he became the first and to this date only World Champion on two and four wheels. He would go on to become the inaugural Can-Am Challenge Cup winner and ran his own F1 team for most of the 1970s. Surtees' fabulous career on four wheels will be celebrated with a parade on all three days of the finest cars he raced and built.
British Racing Motors (BRM) competed in Formula 1 from the very first race World Championship race at Silverstone until the demise of the team in 1977. This period was marked by several highs and very deep lows. The three letters still make many enthusiasts' hearts beat faster, not only because of the 1962 World Championship winning effort, but even more so because of the glorious failures. In that light the team started well with the beautifully complex V16 and reached new heights in 1966 with the unique H16. Despite its difficult debut, the V16 did provide BRM its first victory when Reg Parnell crossed the line first in the Woodcote Trophy at Goodwood in the September of 1950. This event will be marked almost 60 years on with what promises to be the largest ever gathering of BRM cars.
The packed schedule features all the popular races like the one-hour Tourist Trophy, the Whitsun Trophy for big-banger sports cars and the Glover Trophy for 1961-1965 Formula 1 cars. New for this year is a second race for 1950s Formula 1 machinery with an emphasis on the switch from the front to mid-engine layout. As always the skies above the former air force base will be filled with exciting planes throughout the weekend.
All of the above was announced by Lord March in front of the Goodwood House during a press preview day. He was surrounded by a selection of the cars that are expected to star at one or both of the Goodwood events. Confirming its newfound status as the British Motor Show replacement, even this press preview day featured two debuts; the British introduction of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the first public outing of McLaren's MP4-12C. Although we had already taken a closer look at the new McLaren back in November, this was the first time we saw it under natural light and more importantly amidst other cars, in particular the original McLaren F1. Although the latest McLaren is noticeably bigger than its predecessor, it is still relatively small compared to its direct rivals. The company's official test driver Chris Goodwin was on hand to drive the rather crude prototype up the hill. He explained us that it was quite a change from the Formula 1 cars he usually drives for McLaren at Goodwood. The MP4-12C is almost as quick but far more comfortable and easy to drive.
Earlier in the day McLaren Automotive had been officially launched at the company's headquarters some 40 miles north of Goodwood, so the MP4-12C's presence was hardly a surprise. That certainly was the case when Dean Lanzante appeared in a Jaguar XJR-14. Only three of these were built and one was converted into the two-time Le Mans winning Porsche WSC95 prototype. We believe that no XJR-14 in its original guise was driven at speed in public since the end of the 1992 season. Lanzante brought the car out for its American owner and we strongly hope it will make more appearances in the future.
As part of the preview, the assembled journalists were invited to take rides in the available cars up the hill and also on the rally stage at the top of the hill. Having shot the morning sessions for our 110-photo gallery
, your author found himself strapped in the passenger seat of a Lancia 037 after lunch. Piloted by owner David Kedward, the last 2WD World Rally Champion shot up the hill at a rapid pace. The Martini liveried car really came into its own on the rally stage. The level of grip of the rear-wheel drive car on the loose surface was quite amazing as was the soft landing after the jump.
If the preview and the previous editions are anything to go by the 2010 Festival of Speed and Revival will once again be hard to miss. Tickets are only available ahead of the two events and in recent years they have sold out well in advance. To order the tickets, Goodwood can be reached at +44 1243 755055 (telephone), +44 1243 755058 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org