Since the dust settled the other week, I’ve been trying to put the Goodwood Festival of Speed in to context with some other events I’ve worked at.
It’s this truly magical concoction of car, driver, and crowd. And an amazing venue. Cars that won concours are taken away from their stands and are taken to the start line, marked with original bricks from Indianapolis, and then cajoled up the hill by some absolute legends. Not every car makes it to the finish line. Case in point – the 1989 Le Mans GTP winning 767b found its demise at the end of some hay bales. But that’s no big deal at Goodwood, just tidy it up and send the next legendary car.
It’s this spirit that makes the Festival great. It’s not the suits and ties, the tuxedos, the designer watches; it’s the love and fascination with the machines that move us. The ones that made history on the ribbons of tarmac that we revere. The brave souls who piloted unimaginably fast cars for their time.
The fire, the fuel, the grit. It’s a celebration and a monument in its own right. And I’ll be back next year for sure.
Thanks for looking!
I was a little surprised by this gorgeous car the other day when I went to a quick morning meet.
It’s a replica, sure. Built by Ricardo right here in the UK, but you wouldn’t know it. It’s definitely the most accurate one I’ve seen, right down to the big cast iron Ford V8 in the rear. It has the same presence as the real thing.
The seat position is bananas. Maybe not helped by my very short stature, but I was practically lying down. I can’t even imagine the feeling of driving one of these at speed.
One of the things that’s great about the car is that it actually gets used. Right now it’s being driven from northern England all the way to Le Mans. Crazy stuff.
The most striking thing about Rockingham this weekend wasn’t the rare May heat and sunshine, or even the great racing – it was the echo of the engines bouncing off the grandstands as the GT machinery tore around the circuit.
See, Rockingham is the only oval speedway circuit in the UK; one of only two in Europe. It’s special. From the main grandstand, you can see across the entire circuit. I can’t think of any other track in the UK that gives you such a good view of the racing.
Which was, as usual for the British GT, fantastic.
This was my first time at Rockingham, and I came to the event expecting the infield to be relatively unchallenging for the GT machinery. Boy, was I wrong. The mixture of low speed, technical corners, often had the cars sliding on the exits. It really separated the men from the boys.
The high kerbs on the final chicane had the cars skipping around on the track.
The infield also had a lot more elevation change than I was expecting, with a few crests here and there.
Also, luckily, the fire came out of the right holes this time!
Watch out for Part 2, where I bring details from the pits and paddock.
Here are a few more images from the event:
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