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 ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėi-swing‚Äô display of race &
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 & ‚Äė69 Monaco Grand Prix by Graham Hill and son Damon took
the opportunity to get behind the wheel during the weekend. It‚Äôs a car he‚Äôs driven
before so he‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúsucker car‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äėother‚Äô oval too (Indianapolis) with the appearance of the FWD
Miller that raced at both.
One Of These Days.............
It‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Auto Union D Type. Last September‚Äôs Goodwood
Revival turned out to be Australian hero Pete Brock‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 1970 Blue Flame, Bruce Meyer‚Äôs 1949 So Cal drop tank
and even Jonathan Suckling‚Äôs MG ZT-T (the world‚Äôs fastest estate car) displayed
on a re-creation of Bonneville salt flats was very effective and certainly captured
the attention of most visitors.
‚ÄėSpark of Genius, Breaking Records, Pushing Boundaries‚Äô 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‚Äôll do it all over again next year
but before that there‚Äôs the Revival Meeting to look forward to in September.
Remarkably that will be the 25th event (15 Festivals, 10 Revivals) under Lord
March‚Äôs stewardship. Long may it continue!