The legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed – the biggest motoring event in the world? The most talked about? The most important? Whatever status this event brings with it, if you’re a car enthusiast, please tell me you’ve been before!
I must admit that my first appearance at the event was only in 2009, but I like to think I’ve redeemed myself somewhat by having attended three out of the last four years.
The annual Festival of Speed is labelled by the hosts as “the largest motoring garden party in the world”. That right there pretty much nails it in my book.
The immaculate setting of Goodwood House creates a fairly slow paced, relaxed feel to proceedings, despite the presence of some 200,000 people trudging through the venue over its four days. The piercing revs of Formula 1 cars, superbikes and highly tuned race cars showcasing their abilities up the hill climb imply a more energetic tone to the event.
The tired old saying of “there’s something for everyone” really does ring true for this occasion. For many of us who were too young to have witnessed Formula 1 in the 70s, 80s or 90s, Group C or Le Mans racers from a more vintage generation, here is a chance to smell and hear those glorious shapes tearing past. A chance to tap in to the history and aura surrounding Emerson Fittipaldi’s Lotus 72 or the Group C Jaguar XJR9 is, for use of a better word, a privilege. If that’s your thing, and for me it most certainly is, then this is your environment.
Of course, with such regard and interest surrounding the weekend at Goodwood, many manufacturers use this event as their window to showcase their latest productions. This year saw Jaguar handing us a much disguised glimpse of their much-anticipated F-Type, while Lotus (the centrepiece for Goodwood 2012) paraded their entire model line-up for the public to pine after.
With a forest rally, timed hill run, modern and vintage superbikes, hyper cars, fighter jet fly-bys, off-road experiences, prototypes, trial bikes, and every imaginable static stand of motoring-related products dotted across the site, there is a very good reason why the Goodwood Festival of Speed has become the benchmark motoring event for every petrolhead.
Author – Oliver Pohlmann
Photography – Oliver Pohlmann & Stuart Tree