The Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrated its 15th anniversary, between June 22–24, with another spectacular event, attended by an estimated 150,000 people. Even frequent, heavy rain showers failed to dampen the enthusiasm of both the crowd and the competitors.
This year’s theme was “Spark of Genius—Breaking Records, Pushing Boundaries—celebrating the glory of the individual racers and engineering visionaries who took risks and made sacrifices in their quest for victory.” This brought together a sampling of Brooklands and Indianapolis racers, Land Speed Record–holders, Pikes Peak legends and revolutionary vehicles including Jim Hall with the Chaparral-Chevrolet 2J “Sucker Car” for Vic Elford, and Chuck Haines with the Howmet TX, gas-turbine sports prototype. Sixty years of Ferrari was marked with both a static display and demonstrations on the 1.16-mile hill, which at other times of the year serves as Lord March’s front drive.
It is 50 years since Eric Broadley founded Lola and current Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane was on hand with his 1967 Lola-Ford T90 “Bowes Seal Fast Special” for him and Sir Jackie Stewart to run. John Darlington entered his Offenhauser-powered T90 for Al Unser Sr. Stewart recalled that he drove for the John Mecom team at Indy in 1966 before teaming up with Al Unser, and he was leading by two laps when something broke, with eight laps to go. “I guess you just got tired,” quiped Unser. “Trust me, Al, a Scotsman that close to so much prize money isn’t going to get tired!” replied Sir Jackie. The Lola theme continued with the ex-Dan Gurney Bridgehampton-winning 1966 Lola-Ford T70 Spyder of Johan Woerheide, driven on the first day of the Festival by VR’s Ed McDonough and later by the owner. Lola stalwart and first Can-Am champion, John Surtees, was also present, this time at the wheel of the 1968 Honda RA301.
Toyota took the central display in front of Goodwood House with a spectacular construction inspired by a Shrine in Kyoto. Strung by tension rods from the six gates, the highest of which was 147 feet above the ground, were five Toyota competition cars from recent years. On the hill, Hiroshi Fushida drove the mighty twin-turbo Toyota 7 Can-Am car which took victory in a one-off Can-Am race at Fuji in 1969. Successful rally cars from Toyota’s heritage could also be found in action on the increasingly popular Rally Stage at the top of the hill.
Goodwood patron and avid supporter, Sir Stirling Moss, was as popular as ever in the Ferguson-Climax Project 99 and a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Sir Stirling opined that Mercedes is preparing its cars even better now than it did in 1955 and better than 10 years ago, demonstrating how much the company values its history. Brian Redman had a run in Carol Flack’s 1957 BRM Type-25 and an Aston Martin DBR2. Riccardo Patrese enjoyed both the Lancia Beta Monte Carlo and LC1, together with outings in a re-created 1960 Ferrari 246 Dino. Emerson Fittipaldi arrived on the Saturday afternoon to run the Classic Team Lotus Gold Leaf 49, in which he made his debut at the British Grand Prix in 1970. However, not every driver listed to appear showed up on all three days, and some spectators were disappointed that their favorite was not present on the day they were.
The busiest drivers of the weekend were Derek Bell and Jochen Mass who seemed to be forever jumping out of one car and into the next. Mass could be found in a Mercedes-Benz W125 and W196 and a Sauber-Mercedes C11 and, by way of contrast, a 2005 Dodge Charger. Bell piloted a Porsche 917/30, Henry Pearman’s Porsche 956 and Marc Devis’s Mirage-Ford GR7. Proving that the tricky conditions can “catch out” even the most experienced, Bell had a brief moment in the Mirage from which he emerged covered in mud, much to the amusement of Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart, who ribbed him mercilessly!
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was the lucky man in the Audi Tradition, Auto Union D type re-creation, while his wife Annette was at the wheel of the family’s 1979 Ferrari 512BB/LM, claiming the “Fastest Lady Driver” award. Among the other notable Ferraris were the 1950 125 owned by Egon Zweimuller, 1955 121LM of Peter Sachs, Jean Sage’s 375MM Berlinetta, and Paul Knapfield’s 712 Can-Am. About 10 percent of entrants opt to be timed and, of those, the Tyrrells of Marco Payne (P34 6-wheeler) and John Delane (006) made some spirited runs. The quickest over the weekend were Rod Millen’s Toyota Tacoma “Pikes Peak” and Anthony Reid’s Nissan 350Z GT500. Making a welcome first appearance was the Serenissima M1AF owned by Nicholas Schonieber. This was the brainchild of Venetian, Count Volpi, who had supplied his Serenissima engine to Bruce McLaren for one race only, the 1966 British Grand Prix in which McLaren scored his marque’s very first point. During 1967, Count Volpi engaged Alf Francis to design and build Serenissima’s own car, but it never raced. Now the car was here running at Goodwood and it drew much attention as did the radical, and almost undrivable, twin-supercharged, aero-engined Monaco-Trossi built in 1935 and the 1948 Tarf-Gilera, twin boom record breaker—these two on static display only.
Contemporary Formula One has been a Festival attraction for many years and this time the star was super-rookie Lewis Hamilton, the current World Championship leader with the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/21. His last visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed was as a spectator aged 12, and it is hoped that he may be tempted to drive a vintage racer on a future visit, just like a number of his fellow F1 drivers. The Festival continues to provide something for everyone interested in the history of motorsport. The unrestricted paddock access and garden party atmosphere continue to make it a photographer’s and autograph hunter’s dream.
by Keith Booker