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Glorious Goodwood

In Motoring News

By system on Friday, 19 August 2011

It is not often the biggest motorsport personalities and the most famous motor vehicles from all disciplines come together in one place, but that is exactly what happens annually at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. From Lewis Hamilton to the Pagani Huayra — there’s something for everyone at this event.

But what is the Festival of Speed? Basically if you think Monaco Grand Prix style luxury combined with an English country estate and packed out with all things motoring, you will only start to comprehend the scale and size of Goodwood.

This year Jaguar was the featured marque and as such had a plethora of very rare vehicles in attendance including C, D & E Types, especially the race-car only 1954 Jaguar D-Type with its aviation-inspired fin, they were all joined by a 30m tall sculpture weighing 150 tonnes of an E-Type out the front of the Goodwood manor house.

Walking around the massive Goodwood estate, I was astonished at how close you can get to the action at the Festival of Speed (FoS). In the staging area that leads into the hillclimb, patrons have almost unfettered access and it’s only the odd toot from a car horn that parts the crowds as modern supercars, racecars and vintage cars mingle in preparation to tackle the hillclimb.

At most motorsport events getting up close and personal with the race machinery and the people who ride and drive them is difficult — to put it mildly. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, however, it’s anything but. It is amazing how close you can get to these cars, and some of them are priceless! You can just walk up and look through the windows and smell their aurora.

It’s this tremendous sense of community that really sets the Festival of Speed apart – that and the fact that Goodwood’s owner, Lord March, is happy to let people hoon around on his driveway. In fact, there’s even an award for ‘The Most Thrilling Driver’, for who best embodies what here in Australia we might consider the ‘hoon’ ethos. Gymkhana freak Ken Block has won it several times, as he did again this year.

On top of all the motorsport action, almost every major car and motorcycle manufacturer has a fully-kitted out exhibit at the event, creating a compact version of a modern day motor show. And the action does not stop there with a Vulcan bomber fly past and a Red Arrows aerial display, Goodwood is big.

It’s a truly special event in every sense. The rules and regulations, even social status and hierarchy, of everyday life are pared back, leaving a level playing field in which everyone has one thing in common – a passion for motorsport.