…the weather and the cars at the 20th anniversary Goodwood Festival of Speed.
We had several days at the wonderful Goodwood Festival of Speed. Unfortunately there isn’t much point leaving ‘Mario’ parked in a dusty field so he stays at home. Starting on the Thursday which is the ‘Moving Motorshow’ day, this is much quieter and a good opportunity to have a look around without so many people, most of the displays seemed to be in position but it was only modern manufacturers using the hill for test drives.
This years central sculpture was celebrating 50 years of the Porsche 911, taller than ever the minimalist structure soared into the air over the house displaying three 911’s at the top.
Our favourite areas as usual were the Cathedral Paddock and the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe Lawn’ where some absolutely beautiful cars were on display. The fifty years of McLaren feature was also well designed and layed out using quotes and footage of the companies history and the late Bruce McLarens own experiences, the new road cars looked impressive.
The Bonham’s auction on Friday attracted a great deal of attention, especially when the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 Single-Seater became the most valuable motor car ever sold at auction. The car that took five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio to the second of his Formula 1 world titles achieved a record-breaking figure of £19,601,500 (US$29,650,095, €22,701,864). Although a very famous car with lots of history and the only one not owned by Mercedes it didn’t really look that impressive, it would be difficult to know what to do with it as if it was restored to be raced it would lose all the knocks and scrapes which are it’s history and value.
The F1 teams were in attendance as usual with a good smattering of regular and test drivers, the F1 paddock is always so busy and nowhere near as open as in the early days of the FoS when you could chat (and cuddle!) current drivers of the time such as Eddie Irving, these days the drivers have their own minders and are whisked away from the crowds, still it’s closer than you’ll get to them anywhere else. On Thursday I took my Dad for his 80th birthday, he has been a lifelong McLaren fan and the team very kindly let him into their area to take some pictures with the cars, this is what makes Goodwood special.
The cricket pitch had been transformed to a strip of desert with some of the greatest land speed cars, the great scene setting was helped by the blazing sun.On Friday afternoon we made it up to the top of the hill to the rally stage, although rather dusty it was brilliant to see old and new rally cars being driven in anger.
We had a day at home on Saturday but popped down in the evening to see the Ball Fireworks. Always spectacular, they fill the sky and following an amazing show with acrobats, water fountains, motorbikes and this year a McLaren car to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event.
There are loads of stalls, food and major car manufacturers there but I have to praise Ford for a fantastic stand. A ‘scaffold’ tower displaying their new cars with a roof complete with deckchairs for viewing and complimentary photographs and most welcome in the heat, an endless supply of orange lollies, we managed to be at the top for both the Red Arrows Display on Friday and the Eurofighter Typhoon on Sunday as well as watching the twenty years parade go up the hill. In all it was a relaxed and social weekend, meeting up with lots of friends while being surrounded by some of the world’s most extraordinary vehicles. The weekend finished with the prize giving when Lord March was joined on stage by some of motorsports greats – Sir Stirling Moss, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, Jackie Ickx, Damon Hill, John Surtees, Emerson Fittipaldi, Kevin Schwantz, Emanuele Pirro, Dougie Lampkin and Peter Fonda. Afterwards we were treated to a set played by the Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder who had performed at the ball the previous night, a great end to a fabulous weekend – sipping champagne in the evening sunshine listening to Hotel California!