The 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed honored the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the largest centenary celebration of this great American race outside of the USA. More than 40 significant and rarely-seen Indy 500 race cars–and many of their drivers–were gathered at the annual Festival of Speed.
Most of the Indianapolis 500 racers were making their inaugural UK appearance, as were many of the famous Indianapolis drivers, all accompanied by the fanfare and pageantry synonymous with Goodwood, including music, color and wild flag waving.
As with the Indy 500 grid, 33 Indy cars were lined-up on the Goodwood hillclimb to reflect the number that traditionally start the 500-mile race. A total of over 40 Indy cars were also displayed together in the Festival’s Formula One Paddock to create Goodwood’s very own ‘Gasoline Alley’.
Indy 500 drivers in attendance at Goodwood included the winners of the last five Indianapolis, plus 14 winners, victorious in 25 races, including the 2011 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon. He was joined by three-time champion Helio Castroneves, Indy legends Bobby Unser and Al Unser, Jr., Bobby Rahal, driving his 1986 Indy 500-winning March 86C, plus Gil de Ferran in his 2003 Indy-winning Penske and Dario Franchitti, driving the Lotus 38 that Jim Clark drove to second place in the 1966 race.
Indy car highlights include the 1913 Peugeot L45; 1919 Ballot Indianapolis, the first Indy Car powered by straight-eight; 1923 Mercedes Indianapolis; 1928 Miller Special; 1934 Alfa Romeo P3 Don Lee Special; 1947 Deidt-Offenhauser Blue Crown Special; 1961 Cooper-Climax T54 Kimberly Cooper Special; 1968 Lotus 56 STP Special Turbine; 1970 PJ-Ford Johnny Lightening Special; 1980 Chaparral-Cosworth 2K and 1994 Penske-Mercedes PC23, among others.
Goodwood Festival of Speed founder Lord March laid the first of a number of genuine 1911 Indy bricks–sent over especially from Indianapolis for the Goodwood celebrations–at the iconic Festival hillclimb start line. The famous Indianapolis bricks are significant as the Indiana track’s surface was made up of 3.2 million of these bricks, leading to its nickname of ‘The Brickyard.’ The authentic Indy 500 bricks at Goodwood will now become a permanent feature of the 1.16-mile West Sussex hillclimb.
Commenting on Goodwood’s Indianapolis centenary celebrations, Lord March said, “I am delighted that we are able to honour this momentous anniversary. American motor sport has always been an important element of the Festival of Speed, and there is no bigger event in the American sporting calendar than the Indianapolis 500. To be able to honour the centenary in such a major way, and now have a bit of Indianapolis permanently at Goodwood with the start line bricks is a real honour.”