Lord March only managed to turn on the sun as the assembled press corps was leaving the Goodwood Estate but, that apart, it was another splendid day in West Sussex as the plans for this year’s exciting Goodwood events were revealed.
First up, from 1-3 July, is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, immediately preceded on 30 June by the Moving Motor Show (a chance to see the latest showroom cars and – by invitation only – perhaps take one for a test drive on roads near Goodwood).
As always, the Festival itself is a mix of old and new cars, current Formula One teams (nine should be there, so the organisers say), rally cars and motorbikes. It’s also an unparalleled opportunity to meet some of the world’s great drivers, riders and general ‘personalities’ of the car scene, with celebrities such as Jay Kay and Chris Evans the sort of car-crazy stars who love the Festival atmosphere.
The June event’s theme this year is ‘Racing Revolutions – Quantum leaps that shaped motor sport’. So, you can expect to see innovative machinery such as the first carbonfibre-chassis F1 car, the 1981 McLaren-Honda MP4/1 (not to mention the Woking company’s current MP4-12C supercar), and the ahead-of-its-time 1909 ‘Blitzen Benz’.
Jaguar is celebrating 50 years of the sublime E-type so, in addition to an ‘all-E’ race at the Revival, the Festival will be another focus of its activities and the British company has reserved the ‘sculpture’ slot in front of Goodwood House.
Supermodel (and genuine car and motorcycle aficionado) Yasmin Le Bon struck statuesque poses alongside an early E-type Roadster, while one of GP racing’s few women drivers, Desiré Wilson, took an original lightweight E-type up the Hill. At the press day, the vastly experienced Anthony Reid was behind the wheel of an XFR, while Jaguar also debuted its fastest car yet – the XKR-S.
Also seen for the first time was Aston Martin Racing’s brand-new AMR-One, its 2011 Le Mans challenger with works driver Darren Turner at the wheel. Wouldn’t it be nice to see one of these return to the Hill in July, still grimy from 24 Hours glory?
The Indy 500 will be 100 years old this year, hard as it is to believe. In recognition of that, and the fact that it’s still one of the world’s most famous races, there will be a special Indianapolis 500 theme, with some 30 cars (many of which past winners) expected to be shown off in a “a mini Gasoline Alley” within the F1 Paddock.
Getting dirty at night in the woods is a pastime I haven’t experienced for a while but, for many, off-road motorsport is a popular interest, and the Festival’s Forest Rally Stage will feature flying historic Minis, Escorts and quattros, together with the latest high-tech machinery from the World Rally Championship. You can expect to see the new WRC MINI Countryman, as well as the equivalent cars from Ford and Skoda (the stage’s sponsor and a company with 110 years’ involvement in motorsport).
As a family day out the Festival takes some beating, and this year an expanded Goodwood Action Sports (GAS) live action sports arena will entertain younger, perhaps slightly rebellious members of the party who have heard Dad’s story of the final laps of the 1969 Le Mans 24 Hours “like... SO many times...”.
Plus, of course, there’s the familiar Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ concours d’elegance which will also celebrate the E-type’s fiftieth, and a Bonhams auction without which no Festival would be complete. This year’s sale already has a 1925 Bugatti T35 as an early entry.
While most people associate the September Revival with all things aeronautical, running alongside the event at the House in the summer will be a trade show at the nearby aerodrome titled the ‘Goodwood Aviation Exhibition’.
Finally, to the Revival which will be held on 16-18 September. The world’s finest historic racing event needs little introduction to Classic Driver readers. In addition to the 45-minute, two-driver Fordwater Trophy now dedicated to the E-type, this year’s event will be in the ‘later’ (Galaxies, Cooper Ss and Cortinas) format for the St Mary’s Trophy and the long weekend will feature separate tributes to Juan-Manuel Fangio, and a celebration of 100 Years of Ford of Great Britain. And more E-types, no doubt.
Plus, as it’s 75 years since the Supermarine Spitfire first took to the skies, you can expect to see an impressive number of Britain’s finest-ever fighters at this year’s Revival.
And do we need to remind you that all Goodwood events are strictly by advance ticket only? We don’t, really, so do call +44 (0)1243 755055, email firstname.lastname@example.org or simply visit www.goodwood.com where you can book online.