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The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

‘Hawthorn to Hamilton – Britain’s Love Affair with World Motor Sport’ is the theme of this year’s Festival. The passion runs deep, so cars from indigenous manufacturers, those driven by Brits, or ones with significant British involvement will all feature in what promises to be another memorable summer event.

Sitting outside Goodwood House on press day were two Grand Prix cars separated by 50-odd years, but made famous by two British Drivers: the Ferrari Type 246 Dino similar to Mike Hawthorn’s 1958 Championship-winning machine, and the latest hi-tech marvel from McLaren-Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton. Lewis’s father, Anthony, was present too, with the strong possibility of ‘The Boy’ making it to the event proper in July.

As always, fans of modern Formula 1 will have unparalleled access to the teams that make the annual pilgrimage to West Sussex. Scheduled to appear will be at least seven current World Championship contenders, including Scuderia Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Honda and Williams-Toyota.

Also on the modern front, there’ll be many current WRC (World Rally Championship) teams diverting off the road course to tackle the Special Stage in the woods near the top of the Hill. This will be exciting stuff and thoroughly recommended to circuit racing fans who have never seen genuine off-road action. You will not believe the speed and grip these cars get, when off the Tarmac, nor how talented are the drivers, steering 400bhp supercars between trees and earth banks..

From the world of modern long-distance racing will come an Audi R10 (quite possibly with another victory at Le Mans under its belt), as well as the ever-popular Aston Martin Racing DBR9, this year wearing the iconic blue/orange colours of the Gulf oil company. In fact, the Festival will have a separate theme of Gulf-liveried cars, with the super-successful (British!) JW Automotive team Porsche 917s, Mirages and GT40s in action, too.

Great British drivers such as Clark, Moss, Hill, Surtees, Hunt, McRae, Sheene and Stewart will be honoured, as well as the brains behind so many ground-breaking machines; designers such as UK-domiciled Gordon Murray, Colin Chapman, and Adrian Newey.

The Festival likes to celebrate an anniversary, so for 2008 you will be able to see classes for the following: 50 years of the British Touring Car Championship; 20 years of the British Superbike Championship; 50 years of Cosworth; 50 years of Lola. The display outside Goodwood House will showcase Land Rover, 60 years old this year.

And if that weren’t enough, long-term Festival sponsor dunhill will have a selection of the most significant ACs alongside its Drivers' Club walkway, the Thames Ditton manufacturer being 100 years old in 2008. Visitors to this year’s Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ concours will see another eclectic, and totally gorgeous, selection of motor cars to be judged by such luminaries as Apple’s chief product designer Jonathan Ive and top British chef Tom Aiken.

The Supercar Run is always a favourite and is likely to see genuinely new cars like Audi’s remarkable R8 V12 TDi, Aston Martin’s V12 Vantage RS, the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider and Nissan’s awesome GT-R take to the Hill. The latter was present at the Press Day and, from zero to I-don’t-know-what, it was the fastest thing I’ve seen since a Bugatti Veyron. And don’t forget the Avro 720 Mirage Ford GT; we’ll be driving this soon and I understand it’s producing a lot of horsepower…

The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

The FoS-TECH Goodwood Technology Pavilion was popular in 2007 and will be repeated this year, while Bonhams will have another high quality sale on the Friday of the Festival, early entries being the prototype ERA, chassis R1A (£400,000-500,000, and to be sold ‘without reserve’) and a 1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide, estimated at £350,000 - 400,000.

The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

Finally, how about a ‘Cacklefest’? It is, I understand, an American term signifying a static display of dragsters having their engines fired up for 60 seconds.

They will be lined up on the cricket pitch (I don’t know what they would say at Lord’s...) and, as these will be specially selected Top Fuel cars from the US, and the engines will be run in unison: “It’s going to get noisy…”

All wonderful stuff and available to all – by advance ticket only, as usual – from . The Festival runs from 11–13 July 2008.

The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

The 2008 Goodwood Revival

We’ll have a full preview nearer the time, but just a reminder to book those tickets (and accommodation) well in advance. Now in its 10th year, the Revival will run from 19–21 September, and new for 2008 will be a two-driver ‘night race’, an ‘Earl’s Court Motor Show of the Future’, a Tribute to Tony Brooks, and much, much more.

To book your tickets for the Festival, please either telephone the Booking Office on +44 1243 755055 or buy on-line by visiting the Online Shopping & Tickets section of You will also find the latest news and press releases for this, and the later Revival race meeting, at Goodwood Circuit.

Story: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver

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