Like the song by Rancid goes, “I’m back, I’m back, I’m back where I belong. I’ve been gone way too long and I’m back where I belong.”
And that would be the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The greatest automotive event in the world. That may be just my opinion, but where else could you possibly see all of these cars, motorcycles, planes and drivers in one place?
My last time at the Festival was in 2016, and it rained almost all four days. Luckily this year the weather was much kinder and much warmer.
England was in the middle of a fairly long rainless streak, this was a perfect saying for the whole weekend.
The reason I love Goodwood is because of the cars, obviously. I tell people you can go from seeing a car from 1910, then a few minutes later you’ll see a McLaren F1 or some brand new super car.
The Festival is four days, Thursday to Sunday. We of course had our four-day tickets, and Thursday was mostly for the street cars to show off and have their time to shine.
It’s the time when you can see your idols up close, or at least on the other side of a hay bale.
But the cool thing is, the only time you’re far away from the cars is when they’re on the track. Once they hit the paddock, you can get right up next to them and check them out. Or just walk over to the super car parking lot.
I love McLaren, I love everything about them and I will always support what ever car they make. So when the Senna was debuted I was instantly into it, even if it is a little awkward. And being Goodwood, the black car in the left corner, another Senna. But the McLaren Tech Centre is only an hour away from Goodwood.
Here’s how open the paddock is. Millions, if not billions of dollars of cars are open to the spectators. This is Old Yeller II whose story is both truly American, and truly awesome. So the quick version, in the early ’50s, Max Balchowsky bought a car from Dick Morgensen which he made himself. It had a Plymouth six cylinder, but that was too slow for Max, so he put a Buick V8 in it. Max was somewhat an engine swap guru of his time, at his shop he had a sign that read, “We can replace anything with anything.” So after the Morgensen car, named Old Yeller I, Max made his own car. Old Yeller II came around with a Buick Nailhead V8 and tires from a Chrysler wagon. Max drove the car all over California, racing it where ever he could. Even Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby and Bob Bondurant raced it, all setting records and beating cars like Ferraris and Jaguars. The best part? Max claimed that the entire cars cost him just under $1500.
And in typical Goodwood fashion, a few rows down was none other than Chris Forsberg applying some new vinyl to his 370Z.
Every year at Goodwood there is a massive area for companies to display new cars and their usual line. Polestar had the Polestar 1 on display, as well as one that made its runs up the hill.
Koenigsegg came out swinging on Thursday. This Agera ML snuck its way into the Supercar Paddock for a little bit.
But actually on display were these two, the Agera RSN and the Agera Final Edition named Thor. The blue one is the RSN, for what I understand, every Agera is fully customizable, and they get their own name. It’s confusing, but they sure look good.
Also every year at Goodwood some car, or cars, get their world debut. This year Nissan and Italdesign worked together to make the Nissan GT-R50.
Along with the GT-R50, Toyota brought out the Supra. This was the first time the Supra ran under its own power in public. While we didn’t get a full look at the car without camo, this is probably the closest we’ll get before it makes it true debut.
Also making a big impact was the Singer Williams 911. Apparently this was also its public debut, and Singer made sure to bring two.
Next to the super car paddock is the Cartier Style et Luxe. Basically a mini Pebble Beach within the Festival. This little area probably has the best mixture of cars in the whole of the event. Classes included: Finned cars, 110 years of the Model T, early electric cars, Jaguar XK, seventy years of French cars (My personal favorite,) air cooled, beautiful cars for beautiful people, and super cars from 1993, which was the first year of the Festival of Speed.
Here’s my proof about having the best mixture of cars. Electric cars from the early to mid 1900s, and a car that can go 240+ MPH.
But the biggest part of this years Festival was the celebration of Porsche turning 70. Every year Goodwood picks one marque to celebrate, and there was only one clear choice.
Being Goodwood, Porsche of course brought the best cars of their past to celebrate. While I’m typing this, Rennsport is underway at Laguna Seca. Unlike Rennsport though, Porsche can’t just pack in hundreds of cars and call it good.
But that’s really no reason to complain when you’re surrounded by not only some the best Porsches ever, but also some of the best race cars in history.
Speaking of best Porsches and best cars, the 917k fits both of those descriptions. This is the 917 that won the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was Porsche’s first of many overall victories.
Keeping with Le Mans and keeping with the tradition, Toyota brought their TS050 fresh from their overall win. McLaren brought their F1 GTR after winning the 1995 24, and I think almost every year since the winning car has made an appearance at the Festival.
Along side Porsche’s 70th, the Festival was celebrating its 25th anniversary. To help celebrate, they had one super car from every year set in the cricket pitch.
The location isn’t too important, but I wanted a reason to say cricket pitch.
25 years may not be a lot in the grand scheme of car history, but to see how the super car look and design has changed is pretty amazing.
This is the Porsche 550-0031, a car sold to a Swiss privateer in 1955. The car was entered in Le Mans of that year, but dropped out. Then an engineer named Michael May got a hold of it and put this massive wing on it, possibly one of the first wings on a car for downforce. The car was entered in the 1956 Nurburgring 1000, and qualified 4 seconds faster than the factory cars. The factory team then got the wing banned.
The cool thing about Thursday is that it is still unloading day. Even when an unassuming horse trailer pulls into the Porsche area, you know something cool will be in there.
The 917k looks good from every angle, no matter how little of the car you can see.
I used my 50mm lens all day Sunday, and sometimes it did this. But everyday around noon, there was the Porsche celebration in front of the Goodwood House. The fireworks let you know when it was happening no matter where you where.
Again, no idea what happened. But along with the 70th anniversary of Porsche, Range Rover was also celebrating 70 years. During the massive parade of Range Rovers, there was an enormous sound from behind me.
The 5.6 liter supercharged straight eight in the Mercedes W125 is incredibly loud. Amazing, absolutely amazing but loud.
At the top of the hill was the end of the Range Rover parade and this is true Camel Trophy racer was my highlight.
The rally cars have the top paddock since the start of the forest stage is up there. This is another interesting car from the wild world of 1980s rally. In the early ’80s the African Peugeot importers wanted to show off how well the 504 pick up was. Because of the Group A rules, the small cabin, two seater pick up didn’t meet the specs. So Peugeot was forced to enter their pick up into Group B. It did go on to win the 1984 African Rally Championship. This one though is a replica, but still cool nonetheless.
Then comes a proper Group B car, the MG Metro 6R4. 94 inch wheel base, V6 engine making around 410 horsepower and a weight of 2290 pounds. The 6R4 name comes from, 6 cylinder, rally car, four wheel drive.
You can’t talk about rally without at least one Lancia, with Martini livery, of course.
The Audi transport trucks looked awesome too.
While the RS200 is an amazing car, I don’t think this car was a part of the rally display. It just happened to be there.
Last time at the Festival I spent most of the time at the top paddock. This year was no different, but I did make more time for the rest of the hill.
On the way out we walked down and reverse of the hill climb.
At the bottom of the hill we found another 917k. As you do.
The Meguiar’s booth had this Porsche 997 with the Old&New 935 kit fitted.
The day before, England was in the semi finals for the World Cup, which the haven’t won since 1966. The hashtag #itscominghome gained more and more momentum throughout the whole of the World Cup. With England going out the day before, someone made a slight update. And that ends day one.
Friday packs more action than Thursday. It’s the first day where all the cars get to make their runs up the hill. But the real fun always starts in the car park.
I explored the car park a little bit, but not as much as I wanted too, there is never enough time in the day to see everything. But this Tatra 603 with its rear mounted V8 was awesome to see. I have a sight soft spot for Tartas.
While heading to the paddock I recognized something very familiar, the Borg Warner Trophy. First given at the 1936 Indy 500, it has been awarded to every winning driver since, and I’ve been lucky enough to have seen it won three times by three different drivers. This was the second time the Borg Warner has been seen overseas and only the first time in Europe. Takuma Sato took it to Japan in 2017 for it’s maiden international trip.
This is the super car/exotic/cool car parking lot. Throughout the weekend this lot would change with epic cars. Two GT3 Touring Editions, Sunbeam Tiger, Aventador, smattering of GT3s and GT2s, R34. And this is just a quarter of the lot.
I see this Audi S4 GTO show up a lot on Facebook. The blow off valve this car has is amazing.
BTCC was also celebrating their 60th anniversary this week too. And two of the coolest BTCC cars were in attendance. This Ford Mondeo caught my attention back in ’99 or 2000. I don’t remember why exactly, other than I downloaded it for Midtown Madness and it looked awesome.
And the other, more famous car, was the Volvo 850 wagon. No other words needed really.
Across from the BTCC cars were these two titans. A real 250 GTO owned by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. With a real Shelby Daytona Coupe next to it. The total price of these two? Around 55 million.
Another yet anniversary being celebrated was the 50th of Martini.
These two wide fender, wrap around wing Porsches are easily some of my favorite Porsche race cars ever.
The massive rear mount turbo is one of the reasons.
NASCAR was represented too. With two of the most iconic cars to ever grace the oval.
How about some track stuff? This is Terry Grant, who comes every year and puts on some stunt shows in-between the groups. Never a dull moment at the Festival.
Here’s Mike Skinner in his Toyota Tundra. Mike has been coming to Goodwood for a few years now, and every year he gets quicker and quicker up the hill. You can see all the aero he has added to make his truck as fast as possible. This was during the first testing session for Sunday’s timed hill climb.
These is one of the cars he was going against, Rod Millen in his Pikes Peak Celica. Rod has his own hill climb event down in New Zealand called the Leadfoot Festival. Another event on my list.
The British Bomb Liam Doran was racing his dad’s Pikes Peak RS200 too. But during another practice season the rear cowling blew off causing him to spin.
Not a part of the testing was Bobby Labonte in his old Interstate Chevy. Bobby was one of my favorite drivers back in the day, so it was cool to see him racing up Goodwood.
Other than the top paddock, the bottom paddock is also a good place to go. It’s usually packed with people since it’s closer to everything, but it gets you real up close with the cars.
Then you walk around the corner and run into Walter Rohrl.
Also in the paddock you can run into the last batch of cars coming back to their spots. Here’s more of the BTCC celebration.
Back in 2016 they had a top 10 shootout for current BTCC drivers in their cars. It was cool being able to see the current cars up close.
Here’s another good “Only at Goodwood,” photo. BMW V12 LMR, a couple Toyota Tundra race trucks, Richard Petty’s Charger, European NASCAR, current NASCARs and a Renault Clio Cup Car.
Drivers have to work sometimes.
At some point everyday, I had to make my way up to the top paddock.
Just before you cross into the wooded areas and the rally course you’re right in-between the hill climb,
and the little off road arena where these cool little trucks run.
They also had Ultra 4 looking trucks running on the course.
They ran the part of the course like rock crawling, over stones and logs.
So, being in between these courses, look one way you see a Chaparral, the other way you see this.
The only bad thing about it being so dry and warm was the dust.
Another first for the Festival was the Roborace car making the first autonomous run up the hill. I was pretty surprised at the speed this thing went while just using cameras and computers.
Behind Roborace was Billy Monger. Billy has the nickname, “Billy The Whizz,” because of his skill behind the wheel. In 2017 when he was 17 he was involved in massive crash and had both of his lower legs amputated. Following Alex Zanardi, he didn’t let that stop him.
I’ll cover the rally stage in the next part.
For some reason the 1995 Le Mans winning McLaren came up with the F1 cars.
I guess I haven’t covered the motorcycles at Goodwood as much as I should. They run have about 50 different bikes from every era of racing.
2017 Dakar Bike winner Sam Sunderland came up on his KTM.
Another reason why I head to the top paddock. So much tire smoke. Even if it was just a little drift.
One car I was hoping to see was this, the Apollo Intensa Emozione, or simply IE. The shape of the car is incredible, and the sound from the V12 doesn’t hurt either.
But the car that took my heart was the McLaren P1 GTR Long Tail. Built by Lanzante, who have built pretty much all the cool McLaren cars for a wealthy customer in the Middle East. Based off of the F1 Long Tail from 1997, it added a slightly longer rear end with a roof scoop. It looked amazing, and still looks amazing.
The GT-R50 has mixed reviews on its looks. A million dollar GTR does seem slightly over the top, but why not?
I do especially like the taillights though.
From a million dollar GTR to a 15 million dollar Pagani! It came up so far down in the batch, they just parked in the grass.
Brabham debuted their new race car, the BT62. Brabham has an amazing history in Formula One starting back in 1962. This car was made to celebrate 70 years of Brabham, with 70 cars being planned. The BT62 is a purpose built race car, but of course people are trying to make them road legal.
Then Aston Martin showed up with the city car, the Cygnet. But for some reason, probably even unknown to them really, they crammed a V8 in it.
And mixed in with all the super cars and hyper cars, was Bullitt.
Nice new clean, sharp, carbon fibre Ferraris. And then a bit rusty, faded, lumpy Mustang. Made my American heart happy.
After the new car batch, Porsche came up led by the very first Porsche ever built, the Porsche 356/1 from 1948. And, like the 911, the 356 looked almost the same from this 1948 up to its last year in 1965.
Not just overall Le Mans winners show up. The Pink Pig came fresh from it’s win in the GTE Pro category, covered in all the proper grime.
917s never get old.
The 911 GT1 has the best taillight location of all time. Something about the normal 911 taillights up under the bodywork always gets me.
Going back down the hill you have to walk through the rally stage. The rally area is relaxing and serene. It’s relaxing because it pretty and lush, but all the way you can hear the cars going up or down the hill climb on one side, and the rally cars popping through the forest on the other. Around this point I had a 917k going by on one side and an Audi Quattro on the other.
It also gets very crowded.
The Jaguar XK was celebrated too, for its 70th anniversary.
Porsche, Range Rover and the Jaguar XK all were celebrated for their 70th at this year’s Festival. And Porsche had the 961. When Group B was cancelled the Porsche 959 lost its chance to rally, aside from Dakar. So instead they built it into an endurance racer to see how it would fair at Le Mans. It was quick and won its class in the 1986 running. It ran at Daytona with not much luck, then caught fire in the 1987 Le Mans.
There was also an air show, and because of the weather we had an airshow on all three main days. The Blades flew Friday with their prop planes doing the usual mind blowing stalls and flips that only a prop plane could do. Saturday and Sunday we had the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force stunt team.
Air show and the 919 Evo. The car set a record at Spa and the Nurburgring, so people were thinking the 919 was going to take part in the timed shootout on Sunday. But a week before the Festival VW announced the IDR was coming to try to break the Festival record. Either Porsche never planned on going for the record, or they didn’t want to compete with VW, either way they didn’t go for the record.
Every where you look there’s something going on.
Dean Kearney had his Viper this year for the drift display.
Gitten of course always puts on a show.
Back in the paddock with one of the batches coming down, the Lexus RCF GT3 suddenly caught on fire. I didn’t really hang around too long because I figured Goodwood didn’t want this to be a huge thing for people to focus on.
So I walked over to the super car parking lot, again and found these two Pagani Zondas.
I don’t know how many Zondas I’ve seen, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen two at once. I was obsessed with this car in Gran Turismo 3.
Then of course there was a Bugatti Chiron with a Ferrari LeFerrari a couple cars down.
I have to admit though, the spec on this LaFerrari was very nice. Red is alright on Ferraris, but white is they way to go.
I love the English way of approaching car shows and collector cars. Sure it might be a little muddy in places, but you have to get to Goodwood!
I saw this Alpine A110 from across the lot and made a B line to it. I love my ’60s French cars.
I also love my ’90s BTCC cars.
But how could you not? I’m sure everyone has the same picture in their head of this car on two wheels after hitting the curbing.
Gulf, Martini and Rothmans are the usual go to sponsors for Porsches, but Mobil 1 should be up there too. This 911 GT1 is proof of that.
Dan Gurney was a good friend of both the Revival and he Festival. This is his Gurney Eagle that he won the 1967 Spa Grand Prix with. If you ever wondered about the size of the old grand prix cars, here you go.
Because of the Lexus fire, some of the paddocks were closed due to some gasoline and other liquids. I thought the driver of the Tyrell looked familiar when he came around the corner.
Mr. Le Mans himself, Tom Kristensen, was enjoying his weekend in the South Downs.
Back to my French car love, one company stands above the rest. And that company would be Matra. They weren’t a big company in terms of road cars, but the Djet is an amazing looking car, and they were a racing powerhouse in the ’60s and ’70s. In 10 years of racing they entered 334 races across all categories, and won 124 of them including three overall wins at Le Mans and nine in formula one. They also had some of the best sounding V12s in both sports car racing and F1.
I never know how to explain the Festival other than simply it is a big festival of cars and racing. A place were a Matra MS640 comes by, with a Red Bull F1 car right behind. It is glorious.
One more look at the Lexus, post fire.
Richard Petty’s STP Charger next to a Martini Lancia Delta. I cannot think of anywhere else you could see these two side by side.
Or Dale Earnhardt’s Silver Bullet Monte Carlo and Henri Toivonen’s Lancia Delta S4. All this was just Thursday and Friday. I tend to ramble on and on so I decided it would be smart to break Goodwood into two stories. Saturday and Sunday are the days were the Festival really gets into gear, more later.