The greatest motorsport event in the world. It’s a bold statement, but in my mind it’s 100% true. I knew coming into Goodwood I was going to be overwhelmed, but I wasn’t ready for just how overwhelming it actually was.
The trip started on Thursday renting a car and driving from London down to Goodwood in Chichester about an hour and a half away. The mood wasn’t too good starting off due to the rain.
I don’t know what it is about the English countryside, but I love it.
After getting lost a couple times we finally arrived. Usually the parking lot is jam packed with crazy cars, but the rain drove a lot of them away.
You don’t fully realize you’re at Goodwood until you see the central feature in front of the Goodwood House.
Goodwood was celebrating 100 years of BMW, so the sculpture was a tribute to their racing history. Made up of the BT25 open wheel car that finished 3rd in the 1983 Formula 1 championship and the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans winning V12 LMR.
And shooting overtop Goodwood House was a BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster.
Not really knowing what to do, we went to the paddock to check out what was on the schedule for this year.
It was pouring down rain by this point, so we took cover by a line of cars I never thought I’d see together in one place.
With Le Mans taking place just the week before, a few teams brought their cars straight to the English country side. Like the LMP2 class winning car.
Geneva, Detroit, and Tokyo all have huge debuts for some of the biggest and most exclusive car makers in the world. But Goodwood is the place where you see these cars actually pushed to their limits. McLaren brought out their P1 LM prototype to climb the hill with Kenny Bräck behind the wheel.
When the holy trinity of super cars first broke cover, the P1, 918 and LaFerrari, I was instantly drawn to the P1. But up until this time, I had never seen a P1 anywhere. And in one day I was able to check off the P1 LM and P1 GTR. But still no road going P1.
Goodwood has multiple paddocks. The main paddock, the F1 paddock, and the super car paddock. You know you’re in a special place when even a Koenignsegg One:1 is kind of off in a corner.
Bugatti brought out their new Chiron, you know, the car with an 8 liter, quad turbo W16 making around 1500 horsepower. But it wasn’t there for display. Neither was the One:1. These cars were brought out to run, which is what makes Goodwood so special.
Even the concours wasn’t fully stopped for rain. These cars have been painstakingly restored and detailed just for this event. The cars are there to be enjoyed. So if they get wet, so be it.
Some cars were covered, but I’ll let them slide since most of them don’t have fixed roofs and their inner bits are fully exposed.
While looking at the concours we kept hearing what sounded like gun shots. All we had to do was look for the crowd to find out what all the commotion was about.
Turned out to be none other than the famous Beast of Turin. It’s actually a Fiat S76 built in 1911 for a land speed attempt to beat the Blizten Benz, which of course was also at Goodwood. The reason it’s called the beast? A 28.5 liter engine.
After exploring the grounds the best we could, we decided to call it a day and head to our bed and breakfast. This mud right here? This is the mud we and 100,000+ other people had to put up with for all four days. It just made it all the more fun.
Day two, Friday, started off much better. Dry morning and sun meant some of the mud had dried up and allowed for some slightly more exciting stuff in the parking lot.
After exploring the paddock the day before, we decided to check out the other side of the track where all the manufacturers had displays. It was almost a small city filled with displays big and small. I still see photos from Goodwood of displays I didn’t even see.
In two days I saw every variation of the P1. I still can’t wrap my head around how incredible this event is.
I mean come on.
Then down a little path was the Porsche display. And the first car you see when you walk up is the 2015 Le Mans winning 919. There are cars just littered all over the place.
But it’s the hill climb that people really want to see.
We weren’t on the grounds for more than 20 minutes until we saw our first on track action. And it was probably the second best group of the weekend.
I don’t know how they organize the groups, but they do an awesome job.
Cars drive down half of the course to get to the start line. So you really get two chances to see the cars.
But the second time you see them they’re usually going a lot faster.
If I had to try and define Goodwood, I’d say it’s an assault on all of the senses. The things you see can only happen at Goodwood. The smells are a mix of modern and historic fuels, tires and patina. Then there’s the noise. McLaren F1s, to Corvettes, to Can Am cars to drag cars. It’s insane.
And if you’re not there for the cars, then you have an amazing view near the top of the hill. You can watch cars go by on he hill, then gaze out at the English Channel.
Oh yea, there’s GAS too. Goodwood Action Sports Arena. Ricky Carmichael was even on hand. This was the first and last time I saw the Action Arena unfortunately.
Off road rigs? Yep. They had their own course too.
It’s truly a celebration for everything automotive.
There was a spot where you could watch the hill climb, the off road trucks and the rally course without moving an inch.
This is Vieux Charles III, which still holds land speed records at the Brooklands race track in Surrey England. Check out that steering wheel!
You can’t do a story about Goodwood and not include the Flint Wall. Along with BMW’s 100 anniversary, there were also celebrations for Ford’s return to Le Mans with the GT and the 40th anniversary of James Hunt’s F1 World Championship.
Every class had two runs on Friday and Saturday, so we decided Friday would be a good time to hike up to the rally paddock and check out the rally course. And the rally course is just that, a proper course. It was designed by Hannu Mikkola, the 1983 WRC World Champion, to really push the cars to their limits. While not all the cars went full bore around the course…
Others were having a great time throwing their cars around.
And then you could peek out from the trees just in time to catch something going up or down the hill.
There was an infield to the rally course that I just never got set foot in, and there’s a jump somewhere on the course too. If needed, one more reason to go back.
After what felt like half a day hiking up, we finally got to the top of the hill and to the start of the rally course.
Another cool thing about Goodwood is how close you can get to the action. There are points where you feel like you could almost reach out and touch the cars when they go by. And in the rally course you can walk right up to the start line.
While the main hill climb was filled with big names, the rally course had their own superstar. Giniel De Villiers won the 2009 Dakar rally and he was here taking his Dakar Toyota through the rally course over the weekend.
Goodwood is also a place where you can meet your idols. I’ve been a massive Lancia fan since the first Colin McRae DiRT rally game came out in 2007. Ever since then I’ve only seen a few Lancia Deltas and maybe one Stratos kit car. And then here I am face to face with two Lancia 037s.
But the car that really got me was this. The Lancia Delta S4. The craziest and most over the top rally car to ever race. And not only was this a real Delta S4, but it actually raced in the 1986 Rally Monte Carlo. And it was for sale. New Life Blasters car? I think so.
After so many years with Rally America I kind of grew tired of Subarus. But seeing Ex Peter Solberg cars, Ex Richard Burns cars and ex McRae cars. That is pretty awesome.
Along with every major Group B car too. Audi Quattros, Ford RS200, Metro 6R4, Lancia Delta S4s and 037, Renault 5 Turbo and Peugeot 205s.
But then we made the biggest mistake of the weekend. We went to the top of the hill climb. I’ve seen videos from here from past events and it’s where the party really is. Burnouts, donuts and meet and greets. It’s where the drivers let loose while they wait for the return trip back down the hill.
We weren’t there for even 20 minutes and we got a first hand experience of the top and became hooked.
A Kamaz from the Dakar Rally doing a donut? I didn’t know it could whip so hard.
Earlier I said the P1 LM was in the second best group of the event. That’s because this group was the best, hands down. Kamaz semi, Auto Union six wheeler.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck.
And the crazy boys of the event. The drifters.
While all the drifters put on a good show, no one got the crowd more hyped than Mad Mike. Every time he’d get to the top you’d know you were in for a show.
James Deane wasn’t going to let Mike run away with the crowd though. Shout out to these poles by the way.
Remember that GTR that set the worlds fastest drift? It was here too.
Some liked to drift around the loop, and others, like British drifter Baggsy, preferred to just lay down as much rubber as possible.
It’s one of those events where the crowd and the drivers both got equal amounts of enjoyment.
Then a little Ford peeked around the corner.
Maybe I was a little hasty saying Mike stole the show. Every time a Monster sponsored car showed up, whether it be at the top of the hill or anywhere else on the course, kids would be asking if it was Ken Block. I’m a little bummed he didn’t have the Hoonicorn or his Escort, but it’s always a good time seeing Ken shred.
Then some responsible adults showed up.
A lot of the drivers seemed to just sit back and take it all in. To get this kind of variety this close together is almost a dream. But at Goodwood it’s normal to see a Delta S4 and Stratos come up the hill.
Then have Vaughn Gittin come up and broke up the silence with a massive burnout.
Jari Matti Latvala was there too. He patiently waited for Gittin to finish his burnout, so he could do a little drift too. But of course, it was so smooth and clean it almost seemed like nothing.
Rally Cross Lancia Stratos, WRC Polo, Gittin’s Mustang, the fastest drift record holder, Mad Mike’s RX8, the wing of the Isle of Man record holding Subaru and the roof from a BTCC car. All in one photo. I’m still in awe.
One of the marshals decided he’d try to fill the holes the Kamaz made.
All the way down to the bottom of the hill we watched the super cars go on their first run of the day. This is the first time the Bugatti Chiron has been seen running in England. And run it they did.
Ferrari FXX? Yeah.
599XX doing a burnout? Just Goodwood things.
Not to be outdone by the Italians, the Aston Martin Vulcan left a nice pair of marks too.
With the day running out of sunlight, we later caught the super cars on their second run.
On the way down the cars usually stop in front of the grand stands and let loose.
The event seemed so lax, but still ran almost perfectly.
Even some of the official cars joined in on the fun. Or at least tried their hardest.
And because I can’t help it, I always have to make some attempt to look over the parking lot. Just a Lancia Delta casually sitting there. I love Goodwood.
Friday also had an air show. The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, had a 20 minute display. My only complaint, the planes are too quiet. They use a Hawk T1A, which is an advanced trainer. So it’s not quite the noise the F18 and F16s make from the Blue Angles and Thunderbirds. But they still put on an awesome display.
Time for a quick airshow break.
I swear, if Goodwood was close to the water, they’d have boat racing too.
After walking who knows how many miles and trudging through lingering mud, Friday came to an end. The event was halfway over, and it felt like I had barely even scratched the surface.
Saturday started off awesome though!
Resisting the urge to go camp out at the top of the hill again, we made another pass through the paddock just in time to see a group getting ready to run up.
It’s almost as cool as the hill top because all of the cars are parked together, and they’re even crammed closer.
It seems like every car I’ve ever read about or watched an old grainy video of was right there in front of my eyes.
There’s the Beast of Turin, then there’s the Beast of Stuttgart. I saw another 917/30 earlier this year at the Indy Museum, but this time I was able to see the 1500 horsepower monster running.
I love the fact that some of these cars are priceless cars, but they’re just sitting in the stalls covered in racing mud.
Vauxhall had a family area set up and I guess they wanted their cars there on display instead of running. This is Baby Bertha. Based off a Firenza Droop Snoot, this beast has a 500 horsepower V8 under its skin. It’s a shame it wasn’t running, the stickers on the rear quarter window show that it’s run a few times up the hill.
And this is the car it was based on. It looks awesome in both set ups.
While we were wandering around, we yet a again missed the F1 cars running, but were able to catch them on the way down.
So we went back to the top. Sorry not sorry.
I was trying to get a photo of Emerson Fittipaldi, when John Surtees came scooting by. John is the only person to win the Formula One World Championship and four 500cc motorcycle World Championships. Not a bad photobomb.
The day started off dry, but being England the skies soon opened up again we had a massive downpour. It rained so hard even Mike could barely make any smoke.
He also had a special person riding along too. Lord March. Lord March is the one that manages the entire Goodwood estate, and is the reason for the Festival of Speed. On behalf of everyone at the Festival of Speed this year, I would like to thank him for letting us trample all over his property.
The theme this year was the Endless Pursuit of Power. Which might explain why there seemed to be a large number of NASCARs this year. A little bit of opposite lock on a NASCAR always looks good.
I think the crowd really liked them too. Mostly because they were loud and because they did good burnouts.
Behind the wheel of this Monster was Toto Wolff. Who owns 30% of the Mercedes Petronas F1 team and is the executive director. And next to him is his wife Susie Wolff, who used to race in DTM and was the developmental driver for the Williams F1 team.
I can’t get enough of this car. After every run, the mechanics would wipe everything down and return it to museum quality.
There’s only one part of the weekend where things get serious, and that’s the shootout on Sunday. The rest of the event is just a party. There’s no pressure and everyone is in good spirits.
And a little bit of smoke doesn’t hurt.
Pouring down rain and you have fans to excite?
Do a burnout.
A really big burnout.
Pikes Peak veteran Jeff Zwart brought his Porsche for a different kind of hill climb.
I love the old rallycross cars because they get rid of the normal lights and just put on little lights that look like they belong be on a trailer.
Jari was still having a good time.
I think Vaughn was trying to take everything in.
Even Jari seemed in awe.
But with a turnout like this, how could you not be.
After the rain fell the sun came out, because England, so the rain started to evaporate and that’s when things got awesome.
While the drift cars and NASCARs were the most entertaining, this group was by far the most mouthwatering.
Because it was wet and I guess he was feeling peppy, whoever was driving this Sauber C9 decided to dump the clutch and do a little donut for us. This is why I stayed at the top.
The fourth place Ford GT in the GT Pro class at Le Mans decided to try to do a little burnout too. Not much smoke, but you can tell by the water at the exhaust pipes he was trying.
Probably one of the most beautiful race cars ever made.
Brendon Hartley came up in a 919, but the ML63 with Russian arm was surprisingly more interesting.
Surtees was still making runs in his Lola T70 that he raced in Can Am.
I love the way the water gets thrown off the tires.
The 787B was in Italy or something for another car show, so we were given the 767B, the older brother of the 787B.
Lancia always looks good in Martini.
Ben Collins, the old Stig, was behind the wheel of a new Ford Raptor. So what does that mean? Burnouts.
I don’t know exactly why this Ford was here. No matter, it looked awesome.
I didn’t know Brendon was going to be at Goodwood, so I was surprised to see him giving an interview in-between his 919 and a 936/77.
It was cool just how many teams brought cars straight from Le Mans. They got bonus points from me for being dirty.
The new Renault RS.01 with a dab of countersteer? Nice.
As the cars kept coming, the day got closer and closer to ending. Before we called it a wrap on day three, it was time for one more look through the rally car paddock.
I feel bad that I just didn’t get to watch enough of the rally course.
There are two things I love about this photo. It looks like it could be during the 1986 RAC rally, and when I took this the car was sliding down the hill in the mud. That’s how muddy it was. An AWD Group B car was almost rendered useless.
Instead of hiking back down, we decided to take the easy way out and take the shuttle down.
Right next to the paddock was the super car parking, but with race cars from every imaginable series, it was almost bland.
Parking lot crawling again, and this was an awesome one. Not only because I don’t see too many Stageas, but I’ve never seen a Stagea with a GTR front end in person.
And maybe it’s because of the E30 above, but these rear fender flares really have a BMW feel to them.
Then the saddest day of them all. Sunday. It was the last day of the event and the first part of the day was miserable.
But that hardly deterred anyone. BMW had a huge display of cars, and all of them were there to race, even if it was raining. And everyone was there until the end not matter what.
Plus it was our last chance to take in all we could.
The next time I see a long tail McLaren F1? Probably Goodwood next year.
As the day went on the rain clouds went away and the sun slowly started to peek out. It seemed like Goodwood was going to end on a high note.
I was with Alex Wong for the day, so we wandered around mostly taking in the sights after three days of shooting.
We were down by the first turn when the exciting class got ready for their last run of the event. Mark Higgins, David’s brother, was really getting his tires up to temperature.
It was also cool to see Alex Zanardi behind the wheel of a car again. I remember watching CART before his crash, so it was cool to hear his name again.
Mike was always putting on a show. No wonder he gets invited back year after year.
After Zanardi went, it was back to the top for one last time.
I kept telling Alex how awesome it was at the top and how everyone was doing donuts and burnouts. We managed to get there just before the the F1 cars ran, so I was hoping for a good show.
Just before the cars came up, all the motorcycles came up. The biggest star was Keanu Reeves who was riding a bike from the company he co-founded. I wanted to tell him Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is my favorite movie.
But then another big star came up. Current F1 points leader Nico Rosberg. The last time I went to an F1 race was 2003, so I was pretty excited to see one of the current cars running.
And luckily, he was the only one to do a donut.
Then he came running over and jumped on the hay bales and started signing everything and anything people held up.
It started off with just a few people realizing that he was signing autographs.
But then in turned into mass hysteria with people holding up anything and everything. See that eye next to the Ferrari hat? That’s me. And yes, I pulled out my ticket and held it up. Worth it.
This is the championship winning Brawn F1 car. The car that basically broke F1 when Ross Brawn decided to buy up Honda and make his own team. He came in with Rubens Barrichello and the eventual champion, Jenson Button. This is the first time this car, BGP-001, has been seen or ran since it won the championship in 2009.
With a rush of people coming for Nico, I decided it was time to pull out, and head out.
Before all of this, there was the shootout. I missed it because we were in the paddock, but Roger Clark Motorsport’s Gobstopper II took his second win. The shootout is basically the fastest cars of the weekend all competing to be the fastest car up the hill. The damp track didn’t help with any records, but Clark still managed to take the win. Bräck was second in the P1 LM, and surprisingly Mike Skinner was third fastest in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck. I was pretty proud with that.
Along with the usual shootout, there was also the BTCC shootout. Seven of the top current drivers brought their cars out to see who was the quickest up the hill. Andrew Jorden won with this Focus ST.
The weather was far from ideal, and it rained three out of the four days, but that didn’t stop anyone from having an awesome time.
We trekked through some of the stickiest, slippiest and nasty mud I’ve ever seen. But it just added to the atmosphere. And ruined a lot of shoes.
Every car in the car park was partially caked or completely caked in mud. It was like a badge of honor. We could spot each other even when we weren’t at the track.
Alex said it best, this event will ruin any other event. Nothing will come close to this other then the next Festival of Speed. There’s also the Revival which I have to go to now, but I’m completely hooked on the Festival of Speed. It is a true festival and has an incredible line up. I’ve never been to an event that was so laid back, but yet ran so smoothly. The access to the cars was insane, and the drivers that showed up was like one of those paintings that’s filled with famous people. It is truly the best automotive event in the world.
And one last shout out. The rental cars rarely get any love, so here’s to you Skoda Fabia. Thanks!
Photos by Delaney & Wong