Trying to condense the highlights of last weekend’s annual Goodwood Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show into one news release is like trying to get dozen of top motor racing heroes to stop wondering off in the paddocks to stare at the fascinating cars and motorcycles on display; a real challenge!
However, the record 185,000 spectators at this year’s Goodwood event were treated to many exceptional sights and moments.
The very first Festival of Speed attendance of two of the greatest names in Formula 1 racing – reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel and previous champion Alain Prost – was worth the trip to Goodwood alone for many motor sport enthusiasts. Adding in over 120 other motor racing heroes; from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, to Emerson Fittipaldi and Kenny Roberts, made the event all the more memorable.
Goodwood’s homage to Lotus, in the form of a 28-metre high sculpture outside Goodwood House, also saw over 40 significant racing examples of the marque taking to the Festival hillclimb. The Festival’s founder Lord March was generously offered the rare privilege of driving the ex-Jochen Rindt 1970 Lotus 72 Gold Leaf, and he is still grinning from ear-to-ear after this unique experience.
Goodwood also paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the 2012 Festival of Speed with a special Diamond Jubilee display honouring her 60-year reign. For the first time ever, the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ concours d’elegance had just one subject, with royal vehicles ranging from stately saloons to an airplane, via a train carriage walked though by over 10,000 visitors from 24 countries, a caravan and even a half-scale American Midget Racer starring on the Cartier lawn.
The judging committee consisted of the likes of the Queen’s nephew Lord Linley, AC/DC front man and racer Brian Johnson, fashion accessories magnate Anya Hindmarch and actor Rupert Penry-Jones. This year, the overall winner was HRH The Prince of Wales’ Aston Martin DB6 MkII Volante, while the sublime Chapron-bodied Citroen SM Cabriolet emerged on top in the Overseas’ Engagements class. The Duke of Edinburgh’s 1961 Alvis TD21 DHC SII claimed the Regal Runabouts category.
A hectic Festival culminated in the Timed Shootout on Sunday afternoon. Former British Touring Car Championship ace Anthony Reid brought the house down at the 2012 Festival after recording the fastest time of the day. In a change from previous Festivals, this year’s running saw more than 45 cars vie to take part in the top 20 ‘shoot-out’ finale. David Tetley’s fearsome ‘Stars ’n’ Stripes’ Opel Manta V8 kicked things off, recording a time of 57.34sec, the times tumbling until Rod Millen’s Pikes Peak Toyota had an ‘off’ following a grassy moment exiting Molecomb. The Kiwi emerged unscathed, and even managed a smile, but his ‘truck’ had bent front suspension.
Following the restart, a psyched-up Reid blasted his Chevron GT3 racer up the hillclimb course in a staggering 46.46sec, the Scot reaching 131mph on his run. He narrowly edged out the favourite Gary Ward, who streaked up the hill in 46.80sec aboard his Leyton House-Judd CG901B Grand Prix car. However, fastest man in terms of outright speed was Group C Jaguar XJR8/9 driver Justin Law who recorded a belief-beggaring 142mph across the line. It was a suitably dramatic conclusion to a thrilling event.
For those eagerly awaiting their next fix of motor sport at Goodwood, the annual Goodwood Revival (14-16 September) is only ten weeks away, with many exciting plans in place, many of which will be revealed over the coming days and weeks. Dates for the big, 20th anniversary 2013 Festival of Speed will be announced in the autumn.