‘Only at Goodwood’: The highlights of the Festival of Speed 2014

So high has the bar been set, even equalling last year’s showcase would be considered an achievement for Lord March’s staff – but that didn’t prevent them from attempting to go one better. Here are our highlights of the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed…

Regardless of automotive preference, the Festival has always showcased the laws of physics in the most awe-inspiring way – and Classic Driver types would no doubt have experienced a gravitational pull towards the Cartier Style et Luxe concours lawn. Here, there were perhaps fewer oddities in comparison to previous years (bar the curious Mazda RX500 concept and a few others), but plenty of beauties. This was particularly palpable in the Maserati-only ‘Height of Fashion’ category, from which the petite Pininfarina-bodied A6 GCS Berlinetta emerged to take the overall crown. This is the second major coup this year for owner Egon Zweimüller, who also oversaw the restoration of the 2014 Villa d’Este-winning 450S.

Dedicated to speed

However, this was a celebration of speed rather than style, so many soon made their way to the straw-lined trackside. The dedication of the drivers was apparent, as ever: a few wing mirrors clipped the famously unforgiving flint wall, while the experts-only Molecombe corner claimed its usual quota (with the ensuing financial implications). Wince-worthy as this might be to watch, it’s this kind of challenge that most entices the driving elite and spectators alike down to the South of England early every summer. Well, that and the diverse roster of cars. Where else could you witness a six-wheel drift (courtesty of a Brabus G63 6x6), followed soon afterwards by Ferrari’s latest one-off (the F12 TRS) and then a 1930s Mercedes W125 GP racer? We had the ‘interesting’ experience of being caught standing behind the latter as it was fired up in the pits, meaning a lungful of fumes and doctor’s diagnosis of tinnitus (probably).

Perfect pairs

Formula 1 enthusiasts welcomed the return of the racket-making machines of the past, and were treated to a true spectacle when John Surtees OBE and Kimi Räikkönen completed a tandem drive up the hill in their respective 1964 and 2007 Championship-winning Ferraris. A similar pairing could be seen high above the house, with two victorious Silver Arrows the subject of Gerry Judah’s centrepiece sculpture which, for the first time, looped over the house in the most spectacular fashion.

Rule Britannia

Talking of coloured Arrows, those of a scarlet disposition were celebrating their golden jubilee in the air throughout the weekend – on one occasion completing their new sequence just as Classic Driver’s roving reporter was being driven up the hill in a McLaren P1 by Works driver Phil Quaife. That moment will endure in the memory long after the validation prototype is sent to the scrapyard, topped only by the sight of Sir Stirling sipping a cup of tea as he sat in his car, ahead of his tandem parade with Lord March. It’s sights such as these, and events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, that demonstrate why this tiny island remains so important to the automotive industry – even if in a very different way from bygone years. Roll on the Revival…

Photos: Tim Brown for Goodwood

You can find plenty of cars worthy of an invitation to the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the Classic Driver Market.