Goodwood Festival of Speed

HOME » Magazine » » » Goodwood Festival of Speed

Every meeting seems to celebrate an anniversary or two these days, but Goodwood being Goodwood, its events recall more and on a grander scale than others.  At this year’s Festival of Speed, held on 13-16 July (minus the loss of Saturday due high wind warnings), the spotlight fell on 100 years of Le Mans 24 hours, 75 years of Porsche, Lotus, NASCAR and the Goodwood circuit, plus 60 years of McLaren and an unbelievable 30 years of the Festival of Speed itself.   John Whiteman reports…

Also starting in 1948 was Lotus under the inspirational leadership of Colin Chapman. There were sadly no early cars present and the story began at Goodwood with the ex-Rob Walker/Stirling Moss Lotus 18 and continued through Lotus-Climax 21 and Cosworth-engined 49, 72, 77 and 79.

The Le Mans parade was led by a 1923 Bentley 3 litre that started off that marque’s illustrious participation at the Sarthe and progressed through Alfa Romeo and Lagonda representing the 1930s before the war intervened.  Starting the post-war era and making a welcome re-appearance at the Festival was the Collier Collection’s 1950 Cadillac Series 61, dubbed ‘Le Monstre’ by the French, with Jaguar D-type and Ferrari 250 TR further representing the ‘50s and Ford GT40 and Ferrari 512S the ‘60s. 

Porsche produced its first car from the famous saw mill in Gmund, Austria in 1948 and their time line started with a representation of the 356 SL Coupe that won its class at Le Mans in 1951 through to the 550s and 718/8 from the ‘50s, 904, 906 and 908 from the ‘60s to their ultimate prize in 1970 with the 24 hour winning 917 piloted on Sunday by one of its original drivers, Richard Attwood. Further links to the great 24 hour race came with the 1977 winning 936/77, the double winner from 1984 and ‘85 the Joest entered 956, and numerous other 956/962s. The marque continued winning, of course, into the modern hybrid era and no doubt will find victory again in the future.

Throughout the 1970s Matra-Simca and Alpine-Renault still vied with privateers driving the likes of the Lola De Cadenet, with its original pilot Desire Wilson, and Ferrari 512 BB LM to the ultimate prize for the French, a win for local Le Mans resident Jean Rondeau driving a car of his own creation, the Rondeau-Cosworth M379B. 

One of the joys of the Festival of Speed is to see a vehicle that one has never heard of, let alone seen, and this has been true many times over in 30 years. This year was no exception, and just one example was the 1969 Pronello-Ford Huayra from Argentina. Designed by Heriberto Pronello for the official Ford Sports-Prototype team and powered by a modified Ford Y-block V8 reduced in size to 4 litres, its main claim to fame is probably as the mount of Carlos Reutemann, just before he came to Europe, together with Carlos Pascualini when it proved fast but not very reliable in Argentinian Turismo Carretera races. The car, the second of two built, was discovered in 2005 by Ricardo Zeziola, its driver at Goodwood, who restored it with help from its creator Heriberto Pronello. A fascinating glimpse into what was happening on the other side of the world over 50 years ago. Photos Eric Sawyer

By the 1980s the race was becoming more and more professional led by the dominant Porsche 956/962 followed by Jaguar with the XJR-9LM, Sauber-Mercedes C9 and Mazda 787B and BMW V12 LMR into the new millennium.  The 2000s were dominated by Audi in various forms and later by Toyota into the present day, with all being represented in an incredible slice of history. 

McLaren Formula One was represented by, amongst others, an M7C with fore and aft high wings

The crew of this year’s winning Ferrari 499P made one of many ‘moments’ when James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi together with Miguel Molina from the fifth-placed sister car were presented to the crowd on Sunday from the balcony of Goodwood house…….

Sebastian Vettel ran two of his own Formula One cars, an ex-Ayrton Senna McLaren MP4/8 and an ex-Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault FW14B, explaining in another ‘moment’ from the house balcony that they were both running on renewable fuel as part of a ‘Race without Trace’ project with which he is involved.

Read more in the September 2023 issue of Historic Motor Racing News

These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News.  Some have been abbreviated for this web site.  If you'd like to receive the full version, please visit our subscription page where you will find postal subscriptions available.  A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.