sportscarpros Gallery

Give Me Goodwood On A Summer’s Day.............................

Garden Party Party
When 150,000 people are happy to turn out in the rain and the mud of the globally warmed (!) 2007 summer to tramp around around your back garden and look at old cars, you must be doing something right. And indeed, the Earl of March has been doing it “right” for 15 years now. Once again he astounded by bringing together a mouth-watering assortment of machinery for the occasion - and he still managed to find a few we hadn’t seen before too. The star names were there also; many returning as they do every year, others such as Al Unser jnr making a first appearance. Oh, and F1’s latest wunderkid Lewis Hamilton deigned to pay a fleeting visit on Sunday afternoon too.

River Deep, Mountain High
Formula 1 cars are no longer timed on the hill, officially at least, so whilst a bevy of race and test drivers entertained the crowds with burn-outs in more recent cars from Ferrari, Honda, McLaren, Red Bull, Toyota and Williams it was left to Rod Millen to set the fastest time on the hill in his 2003 Pike’s Peak Toyota Tacoma pick-up, the fearsome beast reputedly pumping out some 900bhp in Goodwood trim - or some 200bhp more than it managed in the rarefied air found at the Peak’s summit. Highly appropriate though that a Toyota hill-climber should scoop the honours on the occasion that Toyota were celebrating 50 years of motorsport. To mark the occasion the Japanese manufacturer took centre stage in front of the house with an impressive ‘i-swing’ display of race & rally cars.

Older Grand Prix and Indy cars were in action however, with Classic Team Lotus having a particularly strong presence. The hard-working Gold Leaf Team  Lotus 49 R5/10 was re-united with Emerson Fittipaldi, this being the car he drove to his first Grand Prix victory at Watkins Glen in 1970 - at 23 Emerson was just a year older then than Hamilton is now. The very same 49 was also guided to victory in the 1968 & ‘69 Monaco Grand Prix by Graham Hill and son Damon took the opportunity to get behind the wheel during the weekend. It’s a car he’s driven before so he’s getting quite used to it. David Leslie had a rare outing in a Formula 1 car when he drove the JPS Lotus 79 with which Mario Andretti clinched the 1978 world title. Jackie Stewart took a step back to his Indianapolis past, driving the Lola T90 he piloted at the Brickyard some 40 years ago, in 1967. This car is now owned by Lola boss Martin Birrane who was also present at Goodwood. Lola will celebrate their 50th anniversary here next year.

The 25th anniversary of Group C was a feature of the weekend with a representative selection of machinery, many of them cars that are now regularly competing in the revitalised Group C/IMSA series. Aside from the familiar Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin & Nissan examples we were also treated to some rarer machinery such as a pair of Lancias, Sauber-Mercedes C11, Rondeau M382, Peugeot 905B and even the ill-starred Allard J2XC. Even these stunning beasts were upstaged on the sportscar front by a couple of Americans. Jim Hall brought his Chaparral-Chevrolet 2J “sucker car” for Vic Elford to drive, whilst the Howmet TX whooshed up the hill in the hands of Chuck Haines. Will we ever see their likes again?

Brooklands, just 50 miles up the road from Goodwood, marked its centenary the week before, and a selection of vehicles came on down to continue the celebrations, including the Napier Railton that still holds the outer circuit lap record, together with the Pacey Hassan and a trio of Le Mans Bentleys. There was a link to that ‘other’ oval too (Indianapolis) with the appearance of the FWD Miller that raced at both.

One Of These Days.............
It’s impossible to mention everything that ran up the hill but as ever all branches of the sport were represented. Nick Mason has had the opportunity to drive some pretty exotic cars in his time but even he was almost overwhelmed at being invited to drive Audi’s Auto Union D Type. Last September’s Goodwood Revival turned out to be Australian hero Pete Brock’s last race meeting before his untimely death on a rally just a few days later so it was fitting that his 1978 Bathurst-winning Holden Torana was one of the stars. Rally cars had their own expanded stage this year where a variety of cars took full advantage of the mud. And speaking of mud, off road passenger rides were being given in Porsche Cayennes  -  could this have been the first known occasion on which the Stuttgart tractor actually ventured off tarmac and got dirty??

The latest supercars took their turn on the hill and amongst the inevitable array of Aston Martins, Ferraris and Lamborghinis there were one or two interesting newcomers such as the Tesla Roadster, a Lotus-developed electric sportscar, whilst the tidy little Concept Climax was spotted getting the once-over from Aston boss Dave Richards. Ferrari celebrated its 60th anniversary not so much with a display of cars but art, a collection of specially created posters, one for each year, depicting highlights of Prancing Horse history. However, they were all upstaged by the nearby display of five, yes five, Bugatti Royales. That’s from a total production of just six built between 1927-1933. Remarkably, despite an estimated combined value of some $60 million the display was not fenced off in any way. That in a nutshell explains the popularity of the Festival and long may it continue, even if it makes it difficult for us to work!

The incredible display record-breakers was fenced off, but then they were sited on the cricket pitch. There are certain priorities, you know. Actually, seeing the likes of Gary Gabelich’s 1970 Blue Flame, Bruce Meyer’s 1949 So Cal drop tank and even Jonathan Suckling’s MG ZT-T (the world’s fastest estate car) displayed on a re-creation of Bonneville salt flats was very effective and certainly captured the attention of most visitors.

‘Spark of Genius, Breaking Records, Pushing Boundaries’ was the very apt working title for the event this year. Every year we marvel at the way Lord March and his team manage to amaze us. No doubt they’ll do it all over again next year but before that there’s the Revival Meeting to look forward to in September. Remarkably that will be the 25th event (15 Festivals, 10 Revivals) under Lord March’s stewardship. Long may it continue!

John Elwin
August 2007

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