The ”WOW” Factor
Smoke and Sparks
Ferraris of Note in Attendance
The ”WOW” Factor
Each year you think that the Goodwood Festival of Speed can’t get any better, but
somehow each event seems to surpass the preceding one. Lord March with his
event committee and enthusiastic band of helpers, produce a stunning array of
machinery of all descriptions, to delight the enormous crowds who make the annual
pilgrimage to his estate near Chichester in West Sussex. This year attendance
figures broke all previous records, with around 123,000 people attending over the
three days. Almost every corner that you turned there was some delight to feast your
eyes upon, such that you were constantly uttering or thinking ”Wow”, the diversity and
quality of the cars and motorcycles presented almost defied belief.
The theme of this ninth festival was ”The Will To Win”, a reflection on some of the
greatest names in motor sport history, including a number of anniversaries that
formed the core of the 2001 gathering. These included the centenaries of Mercedes-
Benz and Ford in racing, 90 Years of the Monte Carlo Rally and Indianapolis, 75
years of Maserati and Ducati, 40 years of Brabham, and the fiftieth anniversary of
Ferrari’s first F1 World Championship victory.
To celebrate these events there were themed displays, the largest being that of
Mercedes-Benz in front of Goodwood House. Here, around the main circular
carriage drive were an incredible array of the company’s racing heritage, whilst in
the centre was an enormous conical structure reaching skyward, atop which was
perched a 300 SL ”Gullwing” coupe.
The area which has formed the main paddock in previous years, was exclusively for
the use of Formula One, Indy and current Le Mans cars. Apart from the display of
historic F1 Ferraris and Grand Prix Maseratis along the top boundary of the paddock,
there was a wide selection of other historic F1 cars, including an ex-Rob Walker
Lotus 49B, a Renault RE 60 from the mid-eighties turbo era, a wide variety of
Brabham’ s including the first public appearance since 1979 of the BT 46B ”fan car”.
This car won the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix driven by Niki Lauda, but was
immediately outlawed by the governing body, and never raced again.
In addition to the historic element, no less than seven current F1 teams appeared
with their attendant transporters and back-up staff. Williams-BMW had a a FW22 for
Juan Pablo Montoya, Ferrari an F1-2000 for Luca Badoer, BAR-Honda a 002 for
Darren Manning, McLaren-Mercedes a MP4/15 for Alexander Wurz,, Jaguar-Ford a R”
for Eddie Irvine, Benetton had a static B 201 on display, and Minardi had their 2
seater taking competition winners up the hill, driven by team boss Paul Stodart. In
the vendor area on the opposite side of the track could be found an Arrows on the
Orange Communications stand, plus further examples of Jaguar and Williams-BMW
in the respective manufacturer’s displays.
One of the nicest aspects of the current F1 teams attendance, apart from the
spectacle that their drivers put on, was the ability of the public to see the cars and
personnel at close quarters. Special mention should be given to the Ferrari
mechanics, as they showed that there is a human side to Formula One, lifting young
children into the car at the end of Saturday afternoon, so that their parents could take
a photograph. The delight and surprise evident on both the children and parents
faces, that a Formula One team would provide this opportunity, was a joy to witness.
Another gesture worthy of note was that Steve Tarrant, the track marshal who lost a
leg in last year's fatal accident that claimed the life of a colleague and driver John
Dawson-Damer, was given a ride up the course in a mid-engined Renault Clio
Sport by Jenson Button.
Smoke and Sparks
Many of the stars that were in attendance put on great displays for the appreciative
crowds thronging the barriers. The current F1 drivers were doing untimed
demonstration runs, so apart from torturing their tyres off the line, leaving the start
line marshals in a pall of acrid rubber smoke, they then frequently came to a halt
along the main stretch in front of the house, and performed the same act again. The
sound of V10 F1 engines at x thousand rpm, as they accelerated like rocket ships,
must have been heard for miles around. On two wheels Carl Fogarty and Wayne
Gardner, on Ducati and Honda respectively, were great crowd pleasers as they
pulled lengthy ”wheelies”.
However, the ”wheelie” king was American drag racer Bob Riggle in his 1966 mid-
engined ”Hemi Under Glass” Plymouth Barracuda. He surprised everybody with his
spectacular display, blasting off the line with the front wheels rising skyward, until
the rear skid plates touched the track when he was at an angle of about 60 degrees
from the horizontal. As the front wheels clawed the air, the skid plates emitted a
shower of sparks in the car’s wake, a great spectacle that was repeated three times
on each run.
Apart from the phenomenal collection of rare and desirable cars and motorcycles to
drool over, the personality aspect of Goodwood is another of its major attractions.
This is one of the few places that the general public can get access to current F1
drivers without the need for a special pass, as witnessed by the previously
mentioned names. Motoring stars from all aspects and eras of the many facets of
the sport were there in abundance, F1 World Champions like Phil Hill, John Surtees,
Niki Lauda and Damon Hill. Then there were rally stars like Sandro Munari, Walter
Rohrl, and Timo Makinen, plus the evergreen Sir Stirling Moss, current F1 drivers
Jean Alesi and David Coulthard, and the list goes on, a veritable galaxy of stars.
Bonhams & Brooks held their regular auction for automobilia and cars on Thursday
5 July and Friday 6 July. This started with a specific one on Thursday afternoon for
the Uno Ranch Collection of Bugatti and other Spares, followed on Friday by three
separate auctions for Automobilia, Art and Literature, Toys and Models, finishing up
with the car sale in the afternoon.
At the end of the day over 90% of the automobilia lots found new homes and over
60% of the cars. In the former a pair of Bugatti Type 59 wheels provided the surprise
result, achieving £23,000, which was more than ten times the estimate. In the car
section, the highest figure achieved was £265,500 for 1904 Mercedes-Simplex
Tourer, whilst a 1939 Lagonda V12 Le Mans Rapide sold for £188.500, and a 1931
Aston Martin sports racer, chassis number LM5, went for £184,100.