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Chichester, 11th - 14th of July

This year's Festival of Speed was held on the second weekend in July celebrating its 20th anniversary. What started in 1993 as an idea of some enthusiasts as a meeting for all things motorsport at the hill in front of Goodwood house became an institution over the following years. People who might have missed a few of the last editions were surprised by the size of the event both in the spectator numbers and the area. What was always important for the classic car fans became a substitute for the British Motor Show as all the manufacturers are present to show their latest products. This resulted in the introduction of the Moving Motor Show on Thursday before the actual Festival attracting thousands of visitors to the grounds of Goodwood house to visit the multi- level buildings set up in the infield. Beside the presentation of the new cars the show field entertained with several show acts like the GAS arena where the best free riders both on BMX and Motorbike showed their tricks. In perfect sunshine families enjoyed a typical British picnic on the grass whereas on the other side of the track the cars arrived in the paddocks for the main event on the weekend. Thursday was also the preview day of the much awaited Bonhams auction behind Goodwood House with the sale of the only Mercedes-Benz W196 in private hands and everybody was curious what the result would be as no less than a new auction record was expected.

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Walking through the paddocks made clear that this year's edition again included some of the most exciting machinery from an entire century of Motorsports, all the factory museums opened their treasury to bring the most successful and interesting cars, current racing teams brought their latest racers to Goodwood to present them to the public.

Every year special features are presented amongst the 25 classes divided in 5 batches (plus a supercar run for modern supercars) on their way up the hill, most of them based on a jubilee of a marque or a car.

This year's main feature including the sculpture in front of Goodwood house was reserved to Porsche celebrating the 50th anniversary of their main model, the 911. But not just 911 derivates were present as no less than 3 Porsche 917K were lined up joined by a the 917/30, a 962C and the smallest and the latest of the 935 programme, Moby Dick and “Baby”, the 2 Litre version of the 935.

The later models were also part of the Martini racing livery display that was celebrated in style with some exciting entries from the last decades. The Italian spirits manufacturer celebrates his 150th anniversary and in the last 50 years Martini livery could be seen both on the long distance racing circuits with Porsche and Lancia but also on the rally course with the Lancia Rally, Stratos and Integrale.

Another very popular feature this year was the group of Land Speed record holders. Several of the fastest cars from the last hundred years could be seen both in static display (as most of the later record cars are not suitable to drive up the hill) but also running up the hill including the famous Napier-Railton, record holder at Brooklands in the hands of John Cobb.

Whereas the last years tended to be a little bit more modern this year's line-up included some very interesting pre-war cars like one of the Bentley 4.5 Litre Team cars driven in Le Mans, the unique Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Le Mans Coupe and a Bugatti T59 but stars were once more a pair of Silver arrows brought from Mercedes- Benz (W154) and from Audi (Type C). When arriving early at the grounds of Goodwood house to avoid traffic (delays of 90 minutes on the surrounding streets were reported during the day) the day started with the warming up procedure of these two cars giving a phenomenal orchestra in two-tone.

But Mercedes-Benz did not just bring the pre-war Silver Arrow but no less than three of the later W196, one in grand prix specification like the one at Bonhams and the two sports derivatives, the 300 SLR as roadster and Coupé. Both the grand prix but also the SLR were driven by Sir Stirling Moss joined by Jochen Mass, Jackie Stewart and current F1 star Nico Rosberg.
Audi on the other side led the very popular group of endurance racer including the famous Group C with this year's Le Mans winning Audi R18 E-Tron, still dirty just as it came of the track a few weeks ago. The E-Tron was joined by it latest rival, the Toyota TS030 together with its predecessor GT-One and some of the earlier Le Mans winners like the Porsche GT1, the BMW V12 LMR or a duo of Bentley Speed 8.

But Goodwood is also known for its numerous Formula 1 cars including some newer models from the current F1 teams but also a great selection of classic F1 cars. This year featured 50 years of McLaren ranging from the older Can-Am series cars to the latest F1. Many of these cars were driven by their former drivers as the density of star drivers at Goodwood is unsurpassed.
But not only former world champions on four wheels could be seen here but also a large number of motorbike champions led by the great Giacomo Agostini or John Surtees.

After six runs up the hill on the three days of the event a small group of top timed cars took the challenge to chase the track record of Nick Heidfeld in the McLaren MP4/13 from 1999 when the F1 cars were running fully race prepared including tyre warming. Heidfeld was back again with the very same car in the 20th anniversary parade but he finally set the fastest time in a current Rebellion joined by the latest Pikes Peak winning Peugeot who was driven up the hill at exactly the same time. The “shoot out” was finally won again by Justin Law on the Jaguar XJR8/9.

At the end of the weekend most of the stars came together in front of Goodwood house on the winners ceremony cheered by those who stayed to the final curtain on a wonderful weekend.
Some might say that the Festival became too big and to commercial in the past but those should be aware that an event like this could just exist when done properly including raising enough money to realize all these highlights. Thanks to Lord March and his connections to all the major manufacturers, collectors and race teams the Festival of Speed looks into a very bright future and next year again more than 100000 fans will be at the hill to see new attractions.

For now we have selected a few images to preview the upcoming galleries and give an impression what this year's event looked like.

More images and a full report will follow the next days.
Report & images ... Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de