Exactly 80 years ago this year, Freddie March staged the first hill-climb event on the drive of his Goodwood House. After the War, the motorsport activities moved to the newly constructed Motor Circuit. In 1993, Freddie’s grandson, Charles Lord March, reinstated the hill-climb event and named it the Festival of Speed. The first edition exceeded all expectations and this has become a tradition ever since. At this year’s 24th Goodwood Festival of Speed, the main theme was “Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power.” This was more than fitting in the 50th anniversary year of Can-Am. A special class celebrated this anniversary, while BMW’s centenary also took center stage with a separate class and on the Gerry Judah sculpture in front of Goodwood House. In addition to the historic cars, the event also featured numerous new road cars that often celebrated their dynamic debut at Goodwood.
Our photographers braved the conditions during the four days, which ranged from clear blue skies to torrential rain to bring you this 340-shot gallery. We have also captured the GBP 7 million Bonhams sale in this 40-shot gallery.
Cartier Style & Luxe Concours d’Elegance
Away from the noise on the hill-climb, the Cartier Style & Luxe Concours d’Elegance provides some time to reflect. This year more so than ever as a special class celebrated the many achievements of the Lancia brand, which has now all but vanished. There is also a direct connection between Goodwood and Lancia as Freddie March used to be the official importer for the British Empire, excluding Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. Among the great Lancias on display were great examples of the Aurelia, Flaminia and Lambda. One of the other special classes was dedicated to the Rolls-Royce Phantom III, which featured the brand’s first V12 engine. Alpine’s resurrection was marked with an array of cars from the Renault Classic collection that included the rarely seen, one-off Merignac show car. The Cartier Style & Luxe also highlighted Marcello Gandini’s designs for Lamborghini with a fine selection of “Raging Bulls.” Included was the Miura SV that has recently been restored by Lamborghini’s new Polo Storico and was awarded “Best of Show” by the panel of judges.
Clash of the Titans
During motoring’s formative years, the only way to up the performance was by building and installing a larger and more powerful engine. These early “Titans” fit the theme perfectly and few more so than Duncan Pittaway’s now very famous Fiat S.76. It is powered by a 28.3-liter engine that is so tall that Pittaway has to look around the engine. That did not stop him from driving the fire-breathing ‘Beast of Turin’ to and from the event on the road. The big Fiat was one of the many large-engined machines in the first Class 01, which also included two of the six Blitzen Benz record breakers built around massive airship engines and also the legendary Napier-Railton, which boasts a mighty W12 motor from an airplane. Among our favorites were the four Voisin competition cars that lined up in this class as well. Philipp Moch brought his recently resurrected 1927 Land Speed Record (LSR) Voisin that was powered by two four cylinder engines grafted together to form a straight eight. In a subsequent class, several of the 1930s Silver Arrows Grand Prix cars were entered. The output of their large supercharged engines was not matched until the turbo Grand Prix cars of the 1980s. The Titans of more recent times are certainly the Can-Am cars that raced in Canada and the United States between 1966 and 1974. Several fine examples were included in the Can-Am class and inaugural champion John Surtees was also on hand to pilot a Lola T70.
The traditional Gerry Judah sculpture placed on the lawn of Goodwood House this year featured three cars that celebrated BMW’s greatest racing successes; the 1940 Mille Miglia victory, the 1982 Formula One World Championship and the outright win at Le Mans in 1999. These same successes were also marked on the hill-climb itself as the actual winning cars of each of these achievements were seen in action. They were joined by a superb selection of cars from the BMW Museum and also several brought by collectors. It was particularly impressive to see a whole line-up of the BMW-engined Brabhams of the 1980s. With the exception of BMW’s own BT52, these were all provided by Bernie Ecclestone, who still owns, with very few exceptions, all of the Brabhams built during his tenure as team principal. One of the several BMWs brought by a private owner was Kevin Cooper’s very rare and equally impressive 320i Group 5. Perhaps never before seen in Europe was the March-built GTP car that was briefly raced in the United States. Now owned by Peter Garrod, it is believed to be one of just two remaining of the six built.
With literally hundreds of entries spanning the entire history of motorsport, it is difficult to select but a few highlights. Certainly worth a mention was 2009 World Championship winning Brawn BGP001, which is still owned by Ross Brawn himself and was run for the first time since 2009, although this time with Martin Brundle behind the wheel instead of Jenson Button. From the Brawn it is a relatively small step to the Honda RA300 of 1968, which was driven with great verve by McLaren junior Nobuharu Matsushita. Perhaps with the exception of Moritz Werner’s freshly rebuilt Mazda 767B Group C, the RA300’s V12 provided the best soundtrack of the weekend. Among the various celebrations were the 50th anniversary of Ford’s maiden Le Mans win with a special class and the 40th anniversary’s of both James Hunt’s F1 and Barry Sheene’s 500cc motorcycle World Championships. Hunt’s moment de gloire was marked with a special class that not only featured his familiar Heskeths and McLarens but also the sports cars and GTs he raced and also the very Wolf WR7 he made his final Grand Prix start in.
Ever more space at the Festival of Speed is reserved for modern road cars. On Thursday, the action kicks off with the aptly named Moving Motor Show, which allows potential customers to try a wide variety of cars. This has become so popular that the Festival of Speed is now the de facto British Motor Show. We were more interested in the supercars and sports cars that take to the hill during the remainder of the event and will surely be future classics. Particularly highly anticipated was the all-new Bugatti Chiron. On Sunday morning, it was driven by Lord March, making him the first non professional driver to get a sense of the mighty machine’s 1,478 horsepower. Other cars making their dynamic debut this year included the Aston Martin DB11, Porsche’s new 718 Boxster and Cayman range and the new Mercedes-AMG GT-R. The Festival of Speed also provides specialist companies to show their latest creations, and so we could also enjoy the sight and sound of the likes of the Vuhl 05RR, the Arrinera Hussarya GT and the still camouflaged Bristol V8. Another project that broke cover at the 2016 Festival of Speed was Lanzante’s McLaren P1 LM. Based on the GTR circuit racer, this fully road legal machine was created with the blessing from McLaren and production of this machine will be limited to just five cars and the prototype that was driven here by former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack. His time of 47.07 was beaten only by Olly Clark in his Subaru Impreza “Gobstopper II.”
During the last couple of years, the weather has been remarkably kind to Goodwood, but this year was certainly an exception. Heavy rains before and during the event made life difficult and very muddy for the organizers. It was testament to the quality of the Goodwood staff that despite these conditions the event went ahead almost unhampered. We were also happy to see that the drivers were a lot more sensible this year with only one major off, despite the often very slippery conditions. Our 340-shot gallery includes all the aforementioned highlights and much, much more.
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