2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed – Preview

We’re just days away from the Goodwood Festival of Speed and, however esoteric your automotive passions, Lord March and his team have probably got something up their collective sleeve to excite you...

Here are some tasters.

First, there are the supercars, a glittering array of modern machinery which justifies Goodwood’s claim to be Britain’s ‘largest moving motor show’. A startling number of these supercars, blasting up the hill, will be making their first UK public appearance in action – including the open-top Bugatti Veyron Gran Sport, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren SLR Stirling Moss, Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M, Pagani Zonda R and the Spanish Tramontana… along with Porsche Panamera S, Audi R8 V10, Morgan Aero SuperSports, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Lotus Evora, Lexus LF-A and Nissan’s new GT-R Spec V and 370Z.

Again offering something which static motor shows simply can’t match, the Festival of Speed will see some sensational concept cars in motion. Take the GTbyCitroen (which, when it appeared at the Paris motor show last October, our design expert Chris Hrabalek described as ‘easily the most stunning automotive sculpture of 2008’). At last, we’ll see it on the move, along with the spectacular Bertone Mantide.

New for 2009 is Goodwood’s selection of low-emission vehicles – but they’re not limiting themselves to tiny, oddly shaped city cars. Oh no. Welcome, then, to Giugiaro’s latest hybrid concept sports car, the Ital Design Frazer Nash Namir, and to the remarkable Infiniti Essence, both in action on the hill.

Formula 1 is always a key element of the Festival of Speed and, coming as it does just two weeks after the British Grand Prix, there’s plenty of opportunity for the teams to stay in Britain a little longer and make an appearance at Goodwood. Brawn GP, along with Jenson Button, will be there on 5 July, the Sunday of the Festival, while Lewis Hamilton will be piloting the McLaren-Mercedes that took him to his F1 World Championship win last year. Also taking up the invitation are Scuderia Ferrari, together with test driver (and recent Le Mans victor) Marc Gené; Red Bull, with Mark Webber and David Coulthard at the wheel; Toyota and Timo Glock; plus Williams-Toyota – with the FW29 car as part of the 40th anniversary of Sir Frank Williams’ involvement in F1.

For rally fans, the sight of reigning WRC World Champion Sebastian Loeb, in action on Goodwood’s purpose-built rally stage in his WRC Citroen C4, will be a top attraction; while those who followed the recent Le Mans 24 Hours will be able to see the winning Peugeot 908 HDi FAP up close.

It would be all-too easy to carry on listing the Festival’s highlights – so many and so varied are the attractions, so we’ll just say that the two-wheeled action is set to be better than ever this year, promising a wealth of Grand Prix, World Superbike and Endurance Racing machines on show, together with an inspiring gathering of the stars who rode them. No fewer than five multiple World Champions are set to attend, from John Surtees and Phil Read, to Michael ‘Mick’ Doohan, Max ‘The Roman Emperor’ Biaggi, and Troy Corser – all demonstrating their riding skills.

And we haven’t even mentioned the crux of the Festival – the world-class array of historic machinery, battling its way at speed up the hillclimb. For 2009, in celebration of 75 years since the first appearance of the ‘Silver Arrows’, at least a dozen of these pre-War Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz racers will take to the hill. These include – from Mercedes-Benz – the 1934 W25 and 1937 W125 – both to be driven by Jochen Mass, with Classic Driver contributor Tony Dron sharing driving duties in the W25 – plus the 1939 W165 and 1954 W196, the latter with Sir Stirling Moss behind the wheel. Meanwhile, in recognition not just of the Silver Arrows anniversary, but also 100 years of Audi (this year’s featured marque), spectators will see such Auto Unions as the 1934 Type A and 1938 Type D, the latter to be driven by Jacky Ickx and Nick Mason.

Finally, among the many other attractions on the hill and around the grounds of Goodwood House, are some rather more light-hearted and unexpected appearances. In the former category are the 11 fully-working Wacky Races vehicles which, on a recent trip to Chichester city centre, caused mayhem (Penelope Pitstop took a wrong turn and got lost in her Compact Pussycat, while the Slag Brothers slunk off to a fast-food ‘drive thru’ in their Boulder Mobile…). In the ‘unexpected’ category, meanwhile, is American TV star Jesse James, who will be entertaining the crowds in his Baja-style, desert-racing, spaceframe ‘Trophy Truck’. James is familiar in the U.S. as the presenter of cult TV shows which feature rampages across deserts and through houses. On 18 June, he set a new world land-speed record for a hydrogen-powered vehicle as he hit 199.7mph at the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed in California… and, while Lord March is no doubt hoping his driving will be slightly more sedate on 3-5 July, well, at Goodwood you just never know…

Entrance to the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed is by advance ticket only.
Ticket Hotline: +44 1243 755055
Fax: +44 1243 755058
Email: [email protected]
Online at: www.goodwood.com

Text - Charis Whitcombe
Photos - Goodwood/Roger Dixon

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