Since 1993, the Earl of March has been hosting one of the world’s largest motorsport festivals on its lands in Goodwood, southern England. This year, the Goodwood Festival of Speed took place for the 25th time. Officially, the event is declared as Hill-Climb, because the event takes place mainly on a nearly 2-kilometer route with a 92-meter difference in altitude. Therefore, the name as mountain race is more attributable to the British humor. It’s more about getting together and enjoying the sound and smell of racing cars and celebrating the heroes of motorsport. Meanwhile, manufacturers are even trading this event as a small car salon and presenting their latest street cars to the public for the first time.
And the number of visitors confirmed to the organizers that a concept had worked out, because this year, too, around 200,000 visitors came to watch the spectacle.
British motor sport hero Billy Monger starred on the hill on Friday morning. The teenage double amputee refuses to allow his disability to get in the way of him realising his motor sport dreams, and he is building up quite the fanbase among Festival-goers.
The likable 19-year-old was involved in a grisly accident last year which resulted in him losing his legs, but he has since returned trackside in the BRDC British Formula 3 series with the benchmark Carlin squad. Billy’s single-seater, which is equipped with hand controls, is the least powerful car in the Turbo Era and Beyond category in which he is participating at the 2018 Festival of Speed, but expect him to be right up there in Sunday’s Top Ten Shootout. He is bloomin’ quick!
American motor sport in any of its many and varied guises has often proved a huge hit with Festival-goers. More than a dozen hugely powerful NASCAR oval racers are making their presence felt on the Hillclimb this weekend, with the likes of seven-time champion Richard ‘The King’ Petty and other legendary wheelmen such as Bobby Labonte showcasing their skills.
These stars and their thunderous tube-framed machines – both cars and pick-ups – have been performing donuts and burnouts while making enough noise to waken the dead. It isn’t just ‘Good ol’ boys’, either, with five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro also enjoying himself aboard Will Spencer’s Chevrolet SS, Grease Lightning.
An increasingly popular form of motor sport, drifting has grown in stature in recent years and become a fan favourite with Festival of Speed visitors.
Tyres were flambéed on Friday afternoon as stars of the movement including New Zealander ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett and American ace, Vaughn Gittin Jr, took to the hill, using all the road and more as they did so. Both men put on bravura performances, as did former Formula Drift champion Chris Forsberg. The Pennsylvania man’s Nissan 370Z packs more than 1000hp from its turbocharged V6, which is more than sufficient for him to break traction at walking pace.
Hillclimbing is being honoured at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. Some of the wildest ‘specials’ ever to turn a wheel in anger are taking to the Hill during the weekend, and expect to see most of them vying for glory in tomorrow’s Top Ten Shootout. Standouts include rallycrosser Pat Doran in his extraordinary 925bhp Ford RS200 in which he conquered the Pikes Peak course in Colorado in 2012 with a time of 10min 14sec.
More extreme still is Klaus Wohlfarth’s BMW M3 which packs a Judd V8 engine originally intended for a Le Mans car. This dramatic-looking device has demolished records in continental hillclimbs, becoming a YouTube sensation in the process. Then there’s legendary all-rounder, Festival regular Rod Millen, who is bound to be a threat in his 850bhp Toyota Celica.
Already making waves is the Volkswagen I/D R Pikes Peak electric car which set a new outright record at Pikes Peak earlier in the year. Driver Romain Dumas was epically quick up the Hill yesterday and promises to go faster when it counts…
Porsche and sports car racing go hand in glove, but single-seaters? The marque’s success in open-wheel racing often gets overlooked, but not at Goodwood. An array of rarely seen machinery has been brought together as part of the brand’s seventieth anniversary celebrations at the 2018 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, including the marque’s only purpose-built F1 car, the 804. Richard Attwood, who won the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours for Porsche alongside Hans Hermann, has been demonstrating this slender device on the Hill and will be out again tomorrow.
Other fabulous Porsche monopostos include the ex-Carel Godin de Beaufort 718/2 from the Louwmann Museum. Resplendent in a vivid shade of orange, you’re not likely to miss it. Then there’s the fascinating Porsche 2708, the IndyCar machine based on a March chassis. The model won just one race in period – at Mid-Ohio in 1989, and has made only sporadic appearances since then.
The humble Ford Escort is inextricably linked with motorsport, having dominated rallying during the 1970s, and starred again intermittently thereafter. This blue-collar hero is being celebrated at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed with among the finest collection of historically important models ever gathered together in one place, all being enjoyed by an appreciative audience.
These include the Mk1 Twin-Cam in which Roger Clark claimed victory on the 1968 Circuit of Ireland. The British star’s win opened the floodgates for hundreds of other successes, the Mk2 version picking up where its predecessor left off in the mid ’70s. The Cosworth BDA-engined RS1800 aboard which Ari Vatanen bagged the 1975 British Rally Championship is also out in action over the weekend, alongside other RS1800s memorably campaigned in period by Björn Waldegård and Russell Brookes.