Right after WW-II the name Porsche became synonymous for success on the race track soon after it lost the
stigma of being a tuned up Beetle. After numerous race victories and class wins at the famous 24h of Le
Mans it was in 1969 when Porsche finally set the goal to go for the overall victory at La Sarthe with
the all new Porsche 917. Although it did not work out in the first year when Ickx / Oliver took another win for
the Ford GT40 in 1970 finally the 917 gave Porsche the first of countless titles. So right next to the 1968/69
winning Gulf livered Ford (being reunited with its two drivers on the weekend) there was a fleet of almost a
dozen 917 lined-up in the paddocks. Taking into consideration that the factory museum only sent over a
single 917 in Gulf colors (having two of them in the collection) due to the still ongoing 917-exhibition in
Zuffenhausen this was certainly a great appearance. Due to the tough life of some of the racers some might
complain about the different quality of some of the cars ranging from the genius 1970 Le Mans winner to
replicas built out of spares. Highlights included the mentioned Porsche Salzburg racer that won Le Mans in
the hands of Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood who was present in Goodwood, the long tail Martini livered
car from the Le Mans Museum and the road going car of Count Rossi. Rossi bought the car in 1975 after its
racing career and being test bed to convert it into a road legal car including leather interior and registered it in
Alabama. Furthermore no less than 4 short tail versions with the famous Gulf livery were standing next to
Double the age is the brand that celebrates its centenary this year as Bentley Motors turned 100. In 1919 W.
O. Bentley founded the original Bentley Motor company that should become a main player both in the luxury
car sales but also in long distance racing. After the first attempts under private hands in Le Mans with the 3
Litre model W.O. was back throughout the 1920s achieving no less than 5 victories at La Sarthe despite the
fact that the cars were not designed as pure race cars. The last victories in 1929/30 were even achieved with
the Speed Six, a car in production for several years but never intended to race but to carry heavy luxury
coachwork as been seen on the infield display with the gorgeous Weyman Coupe once owned by Glen
After racing the four-cylinder 3 and 4.5 Litre cars finally the 6-cylinder model arrived at Le Mans. As W.O.
never was a fan of supercharging this technology was brought to the Cricklewood cars by one of the Bentley
Boys, Henry Birkin with the financial help of Dorothy Paget. Two of the famous Birkin Blowers were seen in
Goodwood this weekend with the single seater and the one owned by Bentley Motors themselves in addition
to two of the works Speed Six, Old No.2 and Old No.3 with just the heavily modified Old No.1 missing to
complete the Le Mans line-up.
Bentleys were always driven and the club scene in England saw a lot of racing since the Drivers Club was
founded early on. Many car were modified putting the huge 8-litre engine in the smallest 3-litre chassis but
few of them were as radical as the Jumbo Goddard special that features twin-turbocharger to get 550 HP out
of the huge straight-6.
Decades later Bentley Motors, now in the possession of the Volkswagen Group was back in Le Mans and the
Speed 8 achieved the sixth and final victory, the winning car driven by one of its original pilots Guy Smith that
Not few thought that Bentley would be the central display in front of Goodwood house but obviously the
marketing department of Aston Martin had other plans as 70 years of Aston Martin in Goodwood and the 60th
anniversary of the sole Le Mans victory of the British marque was celebrated this weekend. On the sculpture
of Gerry Judah a single Aston DBR1 was high in the sky above Goodwood house. On all days during lunch
time in between the batches the participating Astons were lined-up under the sculpture and a firework brought
the “Aston Martin Moment”.
Aston Martin started as a very small company with its name coming from the Aston Hill Climb were Lionel
Martin participated early in his life with modified cars before founding Aston Martin in 1913. Very early models
included the oldest surviving Aston 11hp A3 belonging to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust, “Green Pea” and
the very narrow “Razo Blade”. In the late 1920s finally the 1.5-Litre engined International was introduced that
put the small company on the map as the later Le Mans and Ulster models of this range gave them numerous
class wins. During the time of the Ulster Models the company was owned by Italian born Bertelli and so some
of the Ulsters as seen in Goodwood started in Italian Red rather than British Racing Green after the BRG was
believed to be an unlucky color after some fails in LM. Certainly Aston Martin would have shared the same
fate of many other pre-war manufacturer disappearing after the war but fortunately tractor magnate David
Brown was keen on winning Le Mans with a car carrying his own name and so Brown bought both Aston
Martin and Lagonda resulting in the DB-Series that should become world famous with the DB5 of James
Bond. But to some the earlier DB4 models are the pure Touring design with the famous Superleggera badge
on the side. And the DB4 was also used in racing in the shortened DB4 GT version and later even with the
lightweight Zagato body. Not only one Zagato could be seen this weekend but two as beside the one running
up the hill another one was on display at the Cartier Style et Luxe Concours.
Unfortunately the actual Le Mans winning DBR1 did not make it to Goodwood but still one could be seen as
Chassis 5 was going up the hill all days. Finally all three Project cars, 212, 214 and the recently sold 215
were lined-up in Goodwood.
But not only car and brands were celebrated but Goodwood is also about the drivers. It was Sir Jackie
Stewart celebrating his 80th birthday last month and it was 50 years ago he won his first WDC title. Together
with his two sons he was running up the hill with his three championship winning cars.
Another legend was celebrated with the most successful F1 driver to the present day, Michael Schumacher.
For known reasons Michael could not be present celebrating his 50th birthday and the 25th anniversary of his
first title but apart from him the main players of his successful career could be seen in Goodwood on Sunday.
Be it Damon Hill who fought with Schumacher for his first WDC and driving the championship winning
Benetton very much to the delight of Ross Brawn, Schumacher’s closest partner in the success both at
Benetton and Ferrari. Not few joked about Damon still looking for the ominous traction control button in
Schumacher’s Benetton. The celebration in front of Goodwood house featured an example of every
championship winning Benetton and Ferrari as well as the Van-Diemen Ford that started Michael’s single
Corinna Schumacher was seen alongside Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Luca di Montezemolo bringing back
great memories to all those following his career. Mika Hakkinen also payed tribute as the already mentioned
Damon Hill. Rubens Barichello was there as well driving his Brawn GP that would become the Mercedes
Works team Michael ended his career after the comeback to complete the circle after being in Mercedes
junior program racing alongside Jochen Mass and Karl Wendlinger with the Sauber.
Last but not least one has to mention that on Saturday the spectators witnessed the fastest ever clocked
time up the hill. 20 years after a young Nick Heidfeld was driving up the hill in the McLaren F1 car of the time
it was the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R in the hands of Romain Dumas who was the very first to go up the hill
in less than 40 seconds. Unfortunately the official record is only the one done on Sunday at the shootout but
the rainy weather with a drying road prevented further improvement so at least on paper the 20 year old record
is still intact. But after competing last year in the Pikes Peak configuration the VW was prepared with a
lighter battery and less wings for the shorter and straighter hill in Goodwood compared to the long run through
endless corners into the clouds of Pikes Peak. The question will be whether this sub-40 sec run is enough for
VW or whether they will be back for the official record in the years to come. As the current F1 cars are not
chasing the record anymore for safety reasons but going for the show with donuts and burnouts there might
be not much competition for the purpose built electric vehicle.
Electric is also the future at Goodwood as several fully electric cars took the hill including another run of the
autonomous Roboracer that was again pretty quick.
So after the second major Goodwood weekend after the Members Meeting in April there will be another big
event coming up in September with the annual Revival on the nearby Goodwood Race Track. Together with
the British F1 GP coming up these events are clearly the most popular motorsport events in the UK and it is
breathtaking what the Goodwood team built up in the last 26 years. Some will always complain that it is more
and more about the sponsors and the commercial partners but one first have to get in the position to get them
all on board. On some occasions it might not be to the delight of the spectators but certainly these sponsors
make this event possible that is unequalled worldwide. We are looking forward to the next editions in July to
discover some new and old things like the small Ferrari 166 MM that apparently never missed a single edition
after being the first car up the hill in 1993.
Report & images … Peter Singhof