The Festival of Speed is far more than just a hillclimb: it can justifiably claim to be the world’s biggest and most diverse celebration of the history of motor sport and car culture. It is the only occasion where you will see the greatest competition cars and star drivers from all eras in action: everything from 19th century steam carriages to current Formula One; fabulous racing motorcycles; classic rally cars to 3000bhp dragsters; plus motor sport legends like Moss, Surtees, Fittipaldi and Andretti rubbing shoulders with today's hottest properties such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Petter Solberg.
Motor racing first came to Goodwood in 1936 when the 9th Duke of Richmond held a private hillclimb through the park. Five years earlier he had won the Brooklands Double 12, and then in 1948 he went on to open the famous Goodwood Motor Circuit. These early events inspired his grandson, the present Earl of March, to bring motor sport back to Goodwood. This resulted in the first Festival of Speed, held in 1993 in the picturesque parkland surrounding Goodwood House.
Since the inaugural meeting, the Festival has become established as a key event in the motor sport social calendar. But it is not all about action on the hill. A 2.5-kilometre loose-surface rally stage – cut into the wooded area close to the hillclimb finish line – has around 30 cars from the history of rallying providing a thrilling demonstration of sideways driving throughout all three days of the event. Unrestricted access to the paddocks means that spectators and autograph hunters can get closer to the cars and drivers than at almost any other meeting.
Away from the bustle of competition, you can relax with a picnic on the lawns of the House among some of the most beautiful and innovative automotive creations, which are judged in the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ design competition. You can explore the exciting displays of our many exhibitors, or visit the Goodwood Technology Pavilion (FOSTech), that showcases a variety of exciting new technologies from the motor manufacturers, design specialists and other motor industry suppliers with a strong emphasis on future environmentally-considerate motoring and personal mobility.
You can seek an adrenaline rush from the Festival's interactive entertainment, including driving simulators and 4x4 driving, children will delight in the special amusements to be found at the Junior Festival of Speed and the Supercar Paddock will delight visitors of all ages with a mouth-watering display of the very latest exotica for the road.
The Festival is motor racing's equivalent of Ascot or Wimbledon: an extravaganza of sound and colour that has been described as 'the garden party of the Gods'. In combination with the rich period theatre of the Goodwood Revival, the Festival of Speed ensures that Goodwood is unrivalled throughout the world.
The annual Festival of Speed is now over for another year, but what a fabulous weekend it was. The Festival attracted a credit crunch-defying 152,000+ motor sport fans, the second highest Festival attendance ever, as well as over 120 star racing drivers and riders.
Lord March is delighted to announce that this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is scheduled to be shown on ITV 4 at 8pm tonight, Tuesday 14 July. The programme will have a slightly different look and feel to it this year and showcase Goodwood and the Festival of Speed in a very appealing way. See all the thrills that took place over the weekend, on and off the hill, and we’re sure you will enjoy one of the most exciting and entertaining weekends at the Festival so far.
Formula 1 Stars Do Donuts
The F1 drivers and teams put on a great show for the Festival spectators with spectacular demonstrations of car control and lurid donuts. Lewis Hamilton said “It’s a shame we’re not allowed to do donuts at races”, but he more than made up for this at Goodwood, as did Timo Glock in his Toyota and Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber.
The 2009 F1 World Champion elect Jenson Button drove a mighty 1934 Mercedes-Benz W25, saying “I thought I’d give it a go, although the brake and throttle are ‘round the other way to what I’m used to!”
Loeb flings his Citroen
Five-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb was on stellar form in his Citroen C4 WRC. Despite never having seen the Goodwood course prior to his maiden run, he flung his C4 around with abandon and instantly established a benchmark time considerably faster than the next man.
His team mate Dani Sordo also put in a blistering performance on the stage on Sunday.
Stars And Stripes
American entertainment legends Jay Leno and Peter Fonda were a big hit with the Festival crowds, with Fonda riding his famous ‘Captain America’ chopper from the influential movie Easy Rider up the Goodwood Hill throughout the Festival weekend.
Cult US television presenter Jesse James also delighted the fans with his crazy exploits on his menacing 950bhp Baja-style ‘Trophy Truck.
Audi Wows the Crowds
Audi celebrated its 100th anniversary in great style at the Festival, with a jaw-dropping ‘central feature’ display on the lawn of Goodwood House. The centenary of both Bugatti and Morgan were marked by Goodwood too with some truly desirable cars.
The 75th anniversary of the German Silver Arrow racers saw a record gathering of 14 examples from Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz, and fifty years of the Mini was honoured with various examples of the Issigonis classic at the Festival.
Hispano-Suiza Takes the Honours
Judging was frantic in the annual Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’, an automotive design concours, with Will Young, Jasmin Le Bon, James Martin and many other star judges finally declaring the stunning 1934 Hispano-Suiza H6C Xenia the Best of Show against some very stiff competition.
On Festival Sunday, the Cartier Lawn had the added attraction of ‘The Magnificent Seven’, a collection of desirable Ferraris owned by presenter Chris Evans to help raise funds for the BBC Children In Need charity.
Timed Run Shoot Out
For the first time in many years, Sunday afternoon saw the fastest timed cars up the 1.16-mile Goodwood hillclimb shoot it out against the clock in an exciting timed run. Festival stalwart Justin Law aced the course to take the Fastest Time of the Day award aboard a Jaguar XJR-12 in an astonishing 44.40-seconds.
Winner of the driver of the weekend award, though, was 2008 NASCAR Rookie of the Year Landon Cassill for his crowd-pleasing burnouts.
The Next Big Event
All-in-all, the competitors and spectators agreed, the 2009 Festival of Speed was a truly wonderful weekend of entertainment.
Lord March and the rest of the team are already busy planning the 2010 Festival, but before that we are now looking forward to the next big event on the Goodwood Motor Sport Calendar, Goodwood Revival Meeting 2009. The event takes place at the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit on 18-20 September.
For more information or to order advance tickets please contact the Ticket Hotline on 01243 755055 or buy online.
Festival of Speed
Goodwood Road Racing Company, Goodwood Motor Circuit,
Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0PH
T: +44 (0)1243 755055 • F: +44 (0)1243 755058