Breaking McLaren’s Can-Am stranglehold in 1973 Porsche 917/30s like this won 6 of 8 races that season.
Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, July 23–26, could be compared with a pizza—the base is always the same but with a different topping the flavor changes. That’s the recipe they have used for the last 29 years but, by changing the ingredients, each year the Duke of Richmond and his team manage to serve up a completely different dish, enhanced with a sauce of warm summer sunshine and consumed in the ambiance that’s Goodwood. The resultant feast always proves irresistible.
For 2022, visitors were first greeted by the explosive Gerry Judha sculpture reaching high into the Goodwood sky celebrating 50 years of BMW M Power adorned with five of the marque’s iconic M cars. Then, each mid-day, the area below the sculpture was filled with yet more M-machinery accompanied a fanfare and fireworks.
For an aperitif, something smooth is required and what more could one have asked for than the Cartier Style Et-Lux concours gracing the lawn just a few paces from the sculpture. A cocktail of elegance awaited consisting of a mix of Ferraris, Lancias, De Tomaso, Bugatti and Delahaye stirred to perfection and served with a sprinkling of Austin Sevens. This year’s presentation benefited from some extremely rare and beautiful cars particularly from the pre-war era where the designer’s and coachbuilder’s art excelled, many little Austin 7s had cast off their box-like bodies to be clothed with graceful lines that rivalled their exulted neighbors.
Hors d`oeuvres were provided by an extensive selection of auto manufacturer’s exhibits filling the lawns in front of Goodwood house where a diner could sample Alfa Romeo or Lotus, experience Porsche, Jaguar or Land Rover. If smaller portions were needed there was a melange of temptations ranging from auto art, photographs, car accessories, clothing, to car memorabilia. Future Lab was a popular dish, giving dinners a taste of future mobility in the air, on land, under the sea and deep space.
For the main course, it had to be action on Goodwood’s hill-climb. Here just about everything motoring was on offer under the heading “Innovators and Masterminds in Motorsport” categories including pioneers at the dawn of motoring with monster machines complete with riding mechanics thundering up the hill, post-war endurance fielded Jaguar C-Types, Astons and a Mercedes 1955 Mille Miglia 300SLR, Tin Top Titans saw saloons from the 1970s to the present day taking to the grass at most corner apexes, as well as anniversaries for Ferrari-75 years, Group C-40 years, and BMW M the headline act honoring 50 years. These jubilees alone brought over 60 cars onto the hill.
F1 is one item that the majority of visitors had underlined on their menu and they weren’t disappointed. Nigel Mansell was in attendance all weekend along with “Mansell Mania” driving his 1989 Ferrari 639 and on Sunday a special appearance at the wheel of his 1992 Championship winning Williams-Renault FW14B. Mika Häkkinen was back in a McLaren also on Sunday, Damon Hill took the wheel of his father’s 1962 BRM P578 “Stackpipe”, Jackie Stewart also drove a BRM, this one powered with the ill-fated H16 power unit. 1970s works Ferrari driver Arturo Merzario was on duty once again helping his former team celebrate their three quarters of a century, fellow Ferrari GP hot shoes Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell also were in action over the weekend. Contemporary F1 teams including McLaren F1 Team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas, Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Team and Williams Racing brought cars to scream their way to the hilltop driven by George Russell, Esteban Gutierrez and Zhou Guanyu. Altogether an autograph hunters paradise.
Supercars, along with “First Glance” manufacture debuts, gave the masses a taste of things to come, mostly electric it has to be said. If you prefer flambé it has to be Drifters for you with burning rubber and smoke pouring from the rear tires these boys swerved and spun their way from bottom to top.
If your preference is two-wheel meat then there was a huge selection of bikes to tempt your taste buds, but flavor of the weekend had to be Wayne Rainey. Three-time World Champion Wayne being paralyzed from the chest-down due to an accident was reunited with his modified Yamaha YZR500 after a break of 30 years. By the Yamaha team relocating the rear brake and gearshift to the bike’s handlebars Wayne was able to tackle the Hill, even pulling a wheelie off the line. The World Champion was thrilled to be reunited with his beloved bike being joined by his contemporaries Mick Doohan and Kevin Schwantz, and former team manager and mentor Kenny Roberts.
Sunday afternoon saw a spicy option the timed shootout, for 2022 the outright hill record was broken by the “Pocket Rocket”, all electric, McMurty Spéirling, driven by Max Chilton in a thrilling 39.08 seconds. Blink and you’ll have missed it because you won’t hear it coming.
If you enjoy a side salad then you could not have done better than the 1.7-mile Forest Rally Stage at the top of the Hill, overlooked by many, this atmospheric course is pretty close to the real thing. Running through a heavily wooded area the Hannu Mikkola designed course provides greenery lovers with perfect close up viewing of Rally action, highly recommended by the waiter.
Dessert? Perhaps a meander around the three paddocks where all this exotic machinery resides when not on the Hill, all were open and easily accessible even the F1 teams only restrained viewers with a tape barrier placed just 1 meter from their cars. Once the meal was paid for any spare cash could be spent at the Bonhams auction while drinking your coffee, or better still donated to the 2022 Festival charity Jackie Stewart’s Race Against Dementia.
The Festival restaurant will be open again in 2023 dates to be announced.