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2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed
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One of the highlights on our calendar every year is the Goodwood Festival of Speed. What started as a relatively modest event with a few dozen racing cars running up the drive on an English country estate has grown out to a massive event that, frankly, takes more than the allotted four days to experience fully. Choices have to made and this year we focused on the hill-climb, while also taking the time to take a closer look at the cars in the Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d'Elegance. The jam-packed program featured anniversary celebrations galore, which included 125 years of road racing, Bentley's centenary, Michael Schumacher's 50th birthday and 50 years of the all-conquering Porsche 917, while Aston Martin was the featured marque
We kept our eyes and our cameras focused to create this class-by-class, 280-shot gallery of the 27th annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Cartier Style et Luxe
Away from the noise of the hill-climb and the drift arena across the road, the Cartier Style et Luxe provides a relative oasis of peace and quiet during the Festival of Speed. The field of cars on display is spread in classes that change every year. In keeping with some of the main event's themes, there were separate classes for Aston Martins and Abarths. In particular the line-up of the latter was interesting with several fabulous competition cars brought by the Möll Collection. Also presented by this Swiss collection was Carlo Abarth's personal Fiat-Abarth 2400 Coupe road car. An international panel of judges picked the very early Abarth 205 as the 'Best of Show'. There was also a special class for Bugattis clothed by Jean Bugatti and further French flair was provided by a fine selection of Voisins. Among the great examples on display was the futuristic and hugely sophisticated C28 Aerosport that was brought over especially from the West Coast of the United States.

Bentley Centenary
Just a few days after the Festival of Speed ended, Bentley Motors officially turned 100 years old. This occasion was marked at Goodwood with a special class that focused on the company's successful racing exploits. A vast majority of these results were scored with W.O. Bentley himself still at the helm (1919 - 1931). Well stocked, the class featured the second Bentley built, which would later become the first raced by the works team. Other team cars included later 3-Litres, a 4½-Litre and two of the three Speed Six tourers raced by the legendary Bentley Boys. Although not particularly liked by Bentley himself but among the most famous of all, the Blower Bentley was also well represented with Birkin's own single seater example and the one Vanden Plas tourer that actually managed to win a major, international race. There were also several of the Bentley-based specials present, which were usually built to race at Brooklands. To represent the British manufacturer's more recent racing efforts, the 2003 Le Mans winning Speed 8 and the current Continental GT3 were also out on the hill.

Speed Kings, Motorsport Record Breakers
The theme for this year's Festival of Speed was Speed Kings, Motorsport Record Breakers. This turned out to be very well chosen, as for the first time since 1999, the overall hill record was under threat. Until this year' edition the absolute best time was 41.6 seconds set by Nick Heidfeld using the 1998 World Championship winning McLaren MP4/13 that was shod with pre-heated tyres. Since then, no one came close but Volkswagen and driver Romain Dumas made it their mission to wipe Heidfeld's time from the records. Their weapon of choice was the all-electric ID.R that had already set an outright record at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb last year and earlier this year had broken the lap record for electric cars at the Nordschleiffe. Dumas wasted no time and only in his second run of the weekend set a 41.16s. With the pressure off and rain expected for Sunday, the Frenchman pulled out all the stops on Saturday afternoon to record a mind boggling 39.9s run. That was one record comprehensively broken.

Aston Martin
Starring on the traditional central feature in front of Goodwood House was an Aston Martin DBR1. Designed as always by Gerry Judah, the massive sculpture represented a large circle in reference to Aston Martin's ongoing success in endurance racing. If there really was a reason needed to highlight Aston Martin, the event organisers decided to do so this year as it was 70 years ago that an Aston Martin first raced at Goodwood and 60 years ago than a DBR1 scored the company's first and to date only outright victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Aston Martin owners and enthusiasts certainly did not waste this opportunity and brought a superb selection of Aston Martin competition and road cars. Among them was the earliest Aston Martin in existence, mid-1930s Ulsters and the full range of 1950s sports racers. It was also great to see all three of the surviving 'Project' Aston Martins side-by-side. The company's current racing efforts were also well represented with the latest generation GTE and GT3 cars also making runs up the hill.

Further highlights
To list al the highlights of this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, we would almost have to write a book. So for brevity's sake, here is a brief list of things that also caught our eye. Certainly very poignant was the celebration of Michael Schumacher's 50th birthday, which saw many of his racing cars brought together in front of the house. Also in attendance were his wife Corinna Schumacher and many important people from his time at Ferrari like Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Luca de Montezemolo. It was particularly interesting to see Damon Hill drive a Benetton of the type that Schumacher used to run him off the road in Australia, which cost the Englishman the World Championship. There were also many 'winning' cars entered like the 1929 Mille Miglia winning Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, the 1968 and 1969 Le Mans winning Ford GT40, the Porsche 917 that was driven to the company's first outrifght win at Le Mans, in 1970, and the 1979 Indy 500 winning Lola T500. It was also a good year for the Michelin Supercar Run, which saw many world debuts like the Porsche Taycan and DeTomaso P72, and also a fine selection of Ferrari's one-off bespoke cars.

A vintage year
Having covered the Goodwood Festival of Speed for over a decade, we have regularly been spoiled but this year has been a particularly good one. The array of cars and drivers on the hill that we either had not seen before at all or in action was quite stunning. That combined with the breathtaking runs of Dumas in his mighty Volkswagen certainly made this a vintage year. All this, and much, much more can be found in our 280-shot gallery.

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