Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb
|Location|| West Sussex, England,United Kingdom|
| Major events|| Goodwood Festival of Speed|
| Circuit length|| 1.86 kilometres (1.16 miles)|
| Turns|| 9|
| Lap record|| 41.6 seconds (Nick Heidfeld, McLaren, 1999)|
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual hill climb featuring historic motor racing vehicles that is held in the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex, UK. It was started in 1993 by the present Earl of March in order to bring motor racing back to the Goodwood estate - a location steeped in British motor racing history. Since the early days of several tens of thousands of visitors over the weekend it has grown to attracting daily crowds of around 100,000 visitors of the three days it is held. The record was in 2003, when a crowd of 158,000 attended before the advanced ticket policy came in to force, but in 2005 attendance has crept back to 150,000.
Typically held in late June or early July, the event is always scheduled to fit into the motor racing calendar, enabling not just fans but many teams involved in current motor racing championships to attend. Visitors can expect to see cars and motorbikes from over 100 years of worldwide motor racing history climb the hill, including the several of the latest Formula One machines. Aside from the machines, the event attracts a host of names from the past and present of motor racing, offering a rare chance to see world famous names driving a wide range of machines.
Between 2000 and 2004, one of the unique features of the event was the Soapbox Challenge, a downhill race for gravity powered cars, as accident became frequent, costs of cars became higher and safety rules became tighter it did not return in 2005. The specially built forest stage course for rally cars would be introduced for that year. The other unique feature from 1997 until 2005, was the Gerry Judah sculpture in front of the house with rare racecars tied on the structure.
One of the other most popular attractions is the Supercar Run for road-going supercars which has been running since 2000 and is now common for speciality car manufacturers for show off their latest sports model, though it is not uncommon for this by major manufacturers or newly released mass produced sports models (i.e. the Nissan 350Z) and working concept models. The other popular attractions at the event are the real life replicas of the Wacky Races cars, which serves to provide lunchtime entertainment for the crowds and the airshows which usually includes the RAF Tornado, Red Arrows and the low flying Boeing 747.
One of the other popular attractions for the event is the Cartier Style de Luxe, an auto show takes place close to the track, similar to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, which has been running since the mid nineties is held at the lawn close , like the aforementioned event, entries is usually by invitation, but there has a leeway to which type of vehicle can enter to allow for a more varied event and each year the show unlike most concour shows which is judged by professional judges, is judged by a panel of selected judges consisting of celebrities from all around the world to car designers.
1970 Porsche 917 going up the hill at the 2006 Festival of Speed
This however is not the limit as to what makes The Festival of Speed completely unique as a motor sport event in the minds of most commentators. Thanks to the event's classification as a hill climb, its stunning location and desire to reflect the style and history of motor sport, visitors are afforded unparalleled views of the action - separated only by a few metres and reinforced straw bales from the track. In addition, visitors are free to walk around several paddocks where the cars and drivers can be viewed at close quarters. The atmosphere of the Festival of Speed, when compared to the separation of fan from driver and machine common to most top end motor sport events, encourages participation by the fan and is another feature unique to this event.
The record time for the hillclimb was set in 1999 when Nick Heidfeld drove a McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car up the hill in 41.6 seconds. For safety reasons Formula One cars are no longer allowed to do official timed runs, and will often focus on demonstrations that are spectacular rather than fast. In 2006 Heikki Kovalainen completed the course in a Renault R25 F1 car and was unoffically timed below 40 seconds. ( fos_live_release_1.asp?ID=1645)
The Goodwood Festival of Speed has a sister event, the Goodwood Revival Meeting. This event, normally held in early September, relives the glory days of the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit and is viewed by many enthusiasts as the perfect complement to the Festival of Speed.
Honoured Car Manufacturer
- 1997 - Ferrari
- 1998 - Porsche
- 1999 - Audi
- 2000 - Jaguar
- 2001 - Mercedes-Benz
- 2002 - Renault
- 2003 - Ford
- 2004 - Rolls-Royce
- 2005 - Honda
- 2006 - Renault