Goodwood Festival of Speed

Posted: August 31, 2011 in News
Tags: , , ,

Think rock festival but with the most gorgeous, rare and incredible cars on Earth and you’re getting close to what the Goodwood Festival of Speed is all about.

Held each year on the grounds of Lord March’s rural estate in Southern England the FOS attracts top-line drivers and vehicles from around the world for what is the ultimate celebration of the car.

The 2011 instalment lived up to all expectations with F1 drivers Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell and Lewis Hamilton – among others – wringing out road exotica and race cars up Lord March’s driveway.

Further adding to this atmosphere of the slightly unreal were a plethora of race, road, concept and classic cars and bikes – with unbelievable levels of public access, ‘go on touch the Bugatti EB110’ –  so mightily impressive it was impossible not to be awestruck at every turn.

Basically if it’s fast and made within the last 100 years it has a place at Goodwood.

The main theme this year was the 50th birthday of the Jaguar E-type with a 90-foot tall, 150-ton steel sculpture of an E-type outside Goodwood house to mark the celebrations along with some of the rarest Jaguars known to man including the one-off XJ13, C-type, D-type, XJR9LM and XJR12 Le Mans racers as well as priceless E-type ‘low drag’ lightweight racers and the 1985 Bathurst-winning XJS.

Another milestone celebrated at the FOS was 100 years of the Indy 500 with the largest ever gathering of Indy cars outside the US spanning a century of racing at the legendary ‘brickyard’.

Standouts included the Duesenberg Cummins diesel which qualified in last place for the 1931 race but finished 13th after not needing to stop, the 1994 Penske-Mercedes in full Marlboro war paint and in full flight up the hill with legend Emerson Fittipaldi at the controls and Kiwi Scott Dixon in his 2008-winning Dallara-Honda.

Other Indy legends old and new piloting cars at the FOS included Bobby Rahal, Bobby Unser, Dario Franchitti, Gil de Ferran and Dan Wheldon.

Off the tarmac, the rally stage played host to some of the greatest dirt road maulers of Group B including the Audi Quattro, Lancia 037 and Peugeot 205 T16 which shared the 2.7km stage with iconic Mini, gorgeous Lancia Stratos and more recent stars including Ken Block and his 600hp Ford Fiesta.

With most necks craned to catch a glimpse of local F1 drivers and celebs like Rowan Atkinson, it was cool to see heroes like Horatio Pagani slipping unnoticed through the swarming crowds, though his company’s latest offering – the Huayra – was far more conspicuous parked at the Goodwood golf club entrance with only a Bugatti Veyron for company.

Three days isn’t enough to indulge in all the Festival of Speed has to offer – you could spend a whole day just on the Cartier lawn cars – as the presence of every supercar from Aston Martin One-77 to Lamborghini Miura S to McLaren F1 to Ferrari F40, F50 and Enzo, demand more attention than time permits.

Lord March’s sensibilities would probably exclude it, but the FOS should really be renamed the OMFG as it’s more than just a fast car festival, it’s revhead heaven.

Words and Photos © Dillon Media 2011

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