It's in the details
Both Goodwood events, the Festival of Speed and the Revival Meeting, have long since been labelled 'must visit'. Host Lord March and his organising team nevertheless make detail changes every year to further improve the show. As has become a tradition as well these are announced to the gathered media by Lord March at the Goodwood Motorsport Launch. This once low-key and exclusive event now attracts more cars than the original Festival of Speed back in 1993. These range from the latest road and racing cars to historic machinery, which are expected to star at the Festival and/or Revival. The journalists and guests in attendance are given the opportunity to join the drivers on runs up the hill in front of the Goodwood House and also on the rally stage up top. This year there even was an actual world debut as the all-new Aston Martin AMR-One Le Mans racer completed its first miles in public.
Among the announcements made by Lord March at this year's Motorsport Launch were the theme of the Festival of Speed; 'Racing Revolutions – Quantum leaps that shaped motor sport' and the Revival features; 50 years of the Jaguar E-Type and a celebration of the 100th birtday of Juan Manuel Fangio. The E-Type's 50th anniversary will also be celebrated at the Festival of Speed as the subject of the 'sculpture' on the front lawn of the Goodwood House.
Our photographers were at the Goodwood Motorsport Launch and have resisted the urge to jump aboard the likes of a Lancia D24 or McLaren MP4-12C. The result is this 120-shot gallery
Festival of Speed (July 1st - 3rd)
As mentioned above the main theme for this year's 'Festival' is 'Racing Revolutions – Quantum leaps that shaped motor sport'. This should attract some of racing's most interesting designs, whose influence went far beyond motor sport. At the Motorsport Launch two exponents of the theme already present were the Benz 'Blitzen' and a McLaren MP4/1. The former was based on the 1908 Benz Grand Prix car and set a new land-speed record in 1911 (228.1 km/h / 141.7 mph). This was achieved in part by the cutting-edge aerodynamic body and earned it the 'Blitzen' nickname, which is German for lightning. Seventy years later McLaren introduced the full carbon-fibre chassis in Formula 1 with the MP4/1. Designed by John Barnard, it returned McLaren to its winning ways and showcased the full capabilities of the carbon-fibre composites. The example present was one of the last produced and raced by Niki Lauda in 1983 in anticipation of the TAG-Porsche engined and all-conquering MP4/2. Another revolutionary machine on display was one of the Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix cars. It pioneered direct-injection and desmodromic valves in Formula 1.
Lord March has a particular love for the typical American forms of motor sport and accordingly the Festival of Speed will serve as the European location for the Indy 500 centenary celebrations. At the time of writing over 30 significant Indy cars have already been confirmed, among them nine outright winning chassis. Invited to drive them are many former drivers including twelve Indy 500 winners. At the Motorsport Launch Indy was represented by a line-up of machines, ranging from a Sunbeam that competed in the 1915 edition to the Lotus liveried Dallara-Honda raced at the 'Brickyard' by Takuma Sato in 2010.
Last year the Festival of Speed was kicked off for the first time by the 'Moving Motor Show' where prospective buyers could sample a variety of machinery on the hill on Thursday. It proved a hugely popular addition to the event and will make a return in 2011 with 23 manufacturers already signed up.
Revival (September 16th - 18th)
Breaking a tradition, the Goodwood Revival will this year celebrate the career of a driver that is no longer with us; Juan Manuel Fangio. The Argentinian racing legend would have been 100 in 2011 and dominated Grand Prix racing in the period that the Goodwood Motor Circuit was in full service. Between 1951 and 1957, Fangio won five of the seven drivers' World Championships. He concluded his Formula 1 career in great style with a victory in the German Grand Prix that still stands as one of the greatest ever. Behind the wheel of a Maserati 250F, he closed a one-minute gap to Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins in Ferraris, breaking the lap record ten times in just 22 laps. That very car was exercised at the Motorsport Launch by Swiss broker Lukas Huni and will certainly also star at the Revival. Mercedes-Benz will also bring along two of the W196s raced by Fangio in 1954 and 1955.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type, the Revival will feature a dedicated 45-minute, two-driver E-Type race. Two of the 'Lightweight' E-Types expected to compete in the special race were present.
Goodwood Motorsport Launch
One of the big surprises at the Motorsport Launch was the brief appearance of the first Aston Martin AMR-One. This is the first prototype racer designed from the ground up by Prodrive subsidiary Aston Martin Racing. It will race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP1 class against the likes of Audi and Peugeot. In accordance with the new regulations, the car features a two-litre turbocharged straight six engine. The aerodynamic package is far from conventional and it will very interesting to see how it will fare against the seasoned rivals. Making its public debut, it was driven up the hill once by long-time AMR racer Darren Turner.
McLaren were not only represented by the MP4/1C Formula racer but also by two of the company's road cars. Chief test-driver Chris Goodwin was busy on the hill with one of the new MP4-12C production prototypes. The first customer deliveries are expected in June. The other road car was the McLaren F1 (XP5) used by Andy Wallace to set the production car top speed record back in 1998. Cherished by McLaren, this most important machine is only rarely seen in public.
The Goodwoood Motorsport Launch have only confirmed our idea that the 2011 Festival of Speed and Revival can once again not be missed. 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