The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

Goodwood Press Day is – like the events it promotes – always a memorable, must-do occasion. Last week, under traditional blue skies and blazing sunshine, Lord March outlined the theme and likely content for the 2009 Festival of Speed, to be held from 3 – 5 July at Goodwood House.

This year’s Festival theme will be 'True Grit - Epic Feats of Endurance'. By that, Lord March and the Goodwood Events team expect to create a moving storyboard of on-track valour that will tableau feats from Jackie Stewart’s epic 1968 win at the Nürburgring (despite nursing a broken wrist), to two-wheel star Mick Doohan’s unbelievable return to motorcycle racing in 1992, achieved without full use of his right leg.

You can expect to see the cars associated with such celebrated memories of motor-racing heroism, including the Maserati 250F made famous by Fangio during his masterclass win at the 'Ring in 1957, the #722 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR and the whole legend of Moss and ‘Jenks’ at the 1955 Mille Miglia, and any one of Nuvolari’s extraordinary pre-War Alfa Romeo rides - also at the famous 1000-mile Italian road race.

No one does automotive birthday parties better than Goodwood. For 2009, there’s the centenary of Audi, Bugatti and Morgan, 60 years of continuous endurance racing at Le Mans, and 50 years of the Mini. Audi will also provide the ‘sculpture’ in front of Goodwood House (and would like to have a battle-scarred, weather-stained 2009 Le Mans-winner there, too…).

The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

It’s not all four-wheeled circuit racing, so you can expect to see a good number of Isle of Man TT, MotoGP and World Superbike machines old and new, as well as significant rally cars both on the hill and performing on the Goodwood Special Stage.

Another anniversary is the 40 years since Porsche announced the all-conquering 917 model at the 1969 Geneva Salon. Goodwood will celebrate this important birthday by bringing together many of the iconic World Championship of Makes, Interserie and Can-Am machines in what is anticipated to be some sort of record. Last year, ex-works driver Jochen Mass drove the 1200+bhp 917/30 astonishingly quickly on the narrow, Sussex country course.

The great German driver was at the press day, this time behind the wheel of a ‘Cologne’ Capri RS and he was joined on the Hill by a regular former team-mate, Jacky Ickx. The Belgian was driving the pale blue Gulf GR7, a car he occasionally piloted in 1974. Audi had brought along its 1937 Auto Union Type D, a no-holds-barred 'runner', but was joined in the static display by another ‘Silver Arrow’, the 1934 Mercedes-Benz W25. Come July and both German marques will have actively participating pre-War cars – worth the price of entry alone.

Announced almost simultaneously with goings-on at Goodwood House was the decision by the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to cancel next year’s British Motor Show. One of the great advantages that Goodwood has is that it can showcase the manufacturer’s latest machinery in a pleasant environment where potential buyers can actually see the cars in action - and at pretty high speeds too, when driven by factory test drivers.

The Supercar Run , therefore, is a firm favourite and visitors to this year’s Festival can expect to see – among the regular Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Lotuses and Porsches – new cars from Ferrari (California, 599 GTB Handling GTE and Scuderia Spider 16M) and Aston Martin (V12 Vantage).

Away from the track and the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ Concours will once more feature some of the world’s most elegant, or just intrinsically rare or interesting cars. Bugatti will have a class where several Type 57s will compete for overall honours. There will also be a display of Minis and post-War, bespoke-bodied Rolls-Royces, among others. As usual, a star-studded panel of judges will deliberate on the eventual winners.

On the Friday, auction house Bonhams will hold its traditional sale and this year an early entry is a 1922 ‘Strasbourg’ Sunbeam Grand Prix car, estimated at £300,000 – 350,000.

The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

The 2009 Goodwood Revival 18-20 September

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 11th year, the Revival will run from 18-20 September and the big news is that the always-exciting St Mary’s Trophy will be run on both days and be for 1275cc, strictly FIA-legal Minis and related front-wheel-drive Wolseleys and Rileys. Saturday will be for the professionals, while Sunday is reserved for the owners or well-known amateurs.

The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

Goodwood is hoping to coax stars of the day such as Rauno Aaltonen, Sir John Whitmore, Alec Poole, Warwick Banks, John Fitzpatrick and Richard Longman, who will battle it our with more modern drivers of the calibre of Anthony Reid. Miss this one at your peril, or perhaps - to join in the 'Swinging Sixties' theme at the press day - be there or be square.

There will also be an hour-long Lavant Cup, an event for two drivers in the spirit of the 1959 Tourist Trophy where Aston Martin secured the World Sports Car Championship. So expect to see DBR1s, Ferrari TRs and Porsche RSKs driven by the Revival’s customary top-level talent.

To book your tickets for the Festival and Revival, 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 about this, and the later Revival race meeting at Goodwood Circuit.

The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview The 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Preview

Story: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver

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