So the ever generous Lord March opened his doors (read vastly expansive estate) to the public for the 20th incarnation of the annual Festival Of Speed over the past weekend, and what a festival it was. A celebration of all sorts of huge anniversaries in the world of the motor car including 100 years of beauty from Aston Martin, 50 years of engineering brilliance at Mclaren, and of course 50 years of “the best sports car in the world” the Porsche 911. This is not to mention the rather understated anniversary of the event itself.
I spent a blisteringly hot Sunday hiking around the grounds of the estate, jaw dragging along the dusty grass, in sheer amazement of it all. The event has grown consistently year upon year, and aside from a few years where the famous “British summertime” weather has threatened to ruin spirits, the crowd gets larger and larger. Each year the huge sculpture on the front lawn of Goodwood House never fails to amaze, and this year was no different.
Of course, the main attraction is the cars. Boy is there a few of them. Ranging from the sublime classical beauties, like Mr. Nick Mason’s Ferrari 250 GTO to the advanced carbon fibre monocoques of the ultra modern Hypercars, it’s all here to see, admire and breath in.
One of the showpiece events is the Hillclimb, where both historical race cars and selected modern vehicles battle it out for the weekend’s top time up the twisty straw bail lined tarmac.
Having even managed to talk my way into the F1 paddock, I got to sample some of the tech, and also take some opportunistic wristshots.
A number of famous “star cars” were in attendance this year, including
Rowan Atkinson Mr.Bean’s Mclaren F1, back after a full rebuild, the previously mentioned 250 GTO, a Ferrari 330 GT once owned by John Lennon, a bespoke custom built Ferrari for Eric Clapton and Radio DJ Chris Evans’ prized collection of classic Ferraris, not to mention the one-off Aston Martin DB4GT Bertone Jet recently auctioned by Bonhams for a record close to $5m.
See the gallery below for some shots taken by me over the weekend, and if you haven’t already, consider a visit to next year’s event. Trust me, it’s motoring nirvana.