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2012 Goodwood Preview
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Hosted each year by Lord March on his fabulous Goodwood estate, the Festival of Speed and the Revival meeting combined offer a complete package for the motoring enthusiast. The 'Festival' brings together the best modern and classic machinery, most of which is driven up the hill in front of Goodwood House or driven in anger on the purpose-built rally stage on top of the hill. Since 2010, the event has also taken on the role of British Motor Show with visitors not only offered a closer look at the latest models but also the opportunity to drive the cars. Hosted by the nearby Motor Circuit, the Revival turns the time back to 1966, when the last contemporary race was held on the airport perimeter road. The time-warp experience provides the backdrop for on the edge racing from machinery ranging from 1930s Grand Prix cars to big bore sports and GT racers from the 1960s.
While the basic format of the two events is set in stone, there are many details and small changes that distinguish one year from the next. To introduce the 2012 Festival of Speed and Revival, Lord March invited the press to Goodwood. Although intended as a preview this 'warm up' provided more than enough treats to make even the most seasoned enthusiast's mouth water as can be seen in this exclusive 140-shot gallery.

Festival of Speed (June 28th - July 1st)
Taking centre stage at the Festival of Speed in 2012 are Lotus and the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, Lotus is also looking ahead, returning to Formula 1 this year and due to launch a complete range of new cars. With more cars expected from a single manufacturer at the Festival than ever before, Lotus will also star on the 'central feature' installation in front of the House. To mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the annual Cartier Style et Luxe will be dedicated exclusively to a selection of vehicles that were all owned or used by Her Majesty during her life. These will be supplied by the Her personal collection but also by various private collectors. As a preview, Bentley Heritage brought an exceptionally rare Rolls-Royce Phantom IV to Goodwood. One of just 18 built, this car was commissioned by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1949. Additionally, the 2012 'Festival' will mark the 30th anniversary of Group C racing as well as the 1972 Can-Am season, which saw some of the most powerful sports cars ever go head to head. The aforementioned are set to be joined by a traditionally colourful mix ranging from the first horseless carriages to the very latest super-cars.

Bonhams at Festival of Speed (June 29th)
A founding sponsor, auctioneer Bonhams has held a sale during the Festival of Speed since 1993. This year's edition promises to be particularly interesting due to the consignment of two very interesting private collections. The first is the collection of master watchmaker George Daniels, which is highlighted by the first of the Blower Bentleys. Built by one of the fabled 'Bentley Boys', Henry 'Tim' Birkin, it was raced at Le Mans and later in its current 'monoposto' guise at Brooklands, where it celebrated its greatest successes. Also part of the collection is an ex-Birkin Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans and an Itala that competed in the 1908 French Grand Prix. At the press preview, Bonhams announced it had also secured the Lotus collection from Dutch textile industrialist Olav Glasius. The 24 cars, ranging from early sports racers to various prototypes from the 1980s should spark quite an interest, not in the least because Lotus is the event's feature marque. Further highlights already revealed include the Bugatti Type 57 C originally gifted to Ettore Bugatti for his birthday by his workers.

Revival (September 14th - 16th)
One of motor sport's greatest rivalries was between the Ferrari 250 GTO and the AC Shelby Cobra. In many ways each other's complete opposites, the elegant and refined GTO, and the raw and powerful Cobra were both introduced fifty years ago. The Goodwood Motor Circuit was a site of some of the original battles and in the TT celebration race the two rivals still go head-to-head during the Revival. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the two great cars, this year will be a little different as there will be a dedicated Cobra race and a parade of 250 GTOs. Among the top contenders in the 'Shelby Cup' will no doubt be the 'Daytona Coupe' that won last year's TT race outright and was driven up the hill during the press preview by Lord March himself. The driver celebrated at this year's Revival will be Dan Gurney, who more than made his mark on motor sport both behind the wheel and subsequently as a manufacturer. Also set to be an absolute highlight is a demonstration race for 1930s 'Silver Arrows', which represents the first time these machines are driven in 'anger' since their heyday. Marking the 60th anniversary of the original Goodwood Nine-Hour races, this year's Freddie March Memorial Trophy will be a 90-minute, two-driver race into the twilight for cars that competed in the original event between 1952 and 1955.

Press Preview
In addition to getting a first look at things to come later in the year, journalists also get the chance to get rides in many of the cars present. This year we had the chance to not so much ride in but on Ben Collings' beautifully restored 1903 Mercedes 60hp. An engineering piece of art, this car was the first to use an 'H-gate' for the gearshift. Its massive 9.3 litre four cylinder provided more than enough power and especially torque for an exhilarating ride. Also always exhilarating is Julian Mazjub, who always drives right on the edge regardless of what he is piloting. At the press preview, he brought one of his latest acquisitions; a Sadler Mk5. Originally built in 1960, it is one of the very first sports racers to feature a mid-mounted V8. With complete disregard to his tyres, Mazjub launched off the start line at each of his runs, leaving big clouds of white smoke behind. His objective was no doubt to win the 'Most Spirited Getaway' award; a stopwatch provided by Tag Heuer. Mazjub missed out as the prize was ultimately won by Alex Buncombe in one of the TWR-prepared Jaguar XJS touring cars of the 1980s.

Final thoughts
If you can visit one or both of the Goodwood events, we strongly encourage you to do so. We will certainly be at Goodwood for both, so if you can not visit in person, we will make sure you won't miss out on any of the action. As always, 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), [email protected] or www.goodwood.com.

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