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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003 - Review

Characterised by the extremes of English Summer weather, this time 30°C heat rather than torrential rain, the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003 once again wowed the big 100,000+ crowd with its unique blend of nostalgia and fierce competition, all placed in the most perfect English garden party setting.

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003 - Review As it was the tenth year of the event the organisers wanted to celebrate this by, in effect, making it the ‘best of’ and inviting back those cars and drivers who had been so popular in the past. A sort of nostalgic nostalgia I suppose. The result was two Chaparrals from the legendary Texan Jim Hall, driven by himself and USA F1 World Champion Phil Hill, a pre-war Mercedes GP car piloted by John Surtees, seven of the ten current F1 Teams, some extraordinary vehicles from the dawn of automotive time and many, many more.

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003 - Review Ford were the featured marque, neatly tieing in with their 100 year anniversary, and the now traditional display in front of Goodwood House was a line of three replica (the originals were running on-track) MK II GT40s in the famous ‘fixed finish’ 1967 Le Mans formation. Onlookers were surprised, pleasantly so given the scorching temperature, when a jet of water was turned on and the cars seemed to be gliding, windscreen wipers moving, in the spray. Far below, Ford had arranged a circle of fully-functioning cars that included the aforementioned GT40s, the 1968 P68, US stock cars, a Zakspeed Capri and various saloons from the sixties including a Lotus Cortina, Galaxy and Falcon.

1976 ex-James Hunt McLaren M23

'Alitalia' Lancia Stratos

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003 - Review Popular favourites such as the Soapbox Derby (where the hill is run in reverse by clever gravity powered cars entered by colleges and F1 teams), and the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’, won this year by the amazing BAT styling exercise from the 1950s, were of course in evidence as was the Supercar Run, featuring the first UK sighting for many of the Ferrari Enzo and Lamborghini Gallardo.

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003 - Review Bob Riggle brought the ‘Hemi-under-glass’ dragster back and entertained the crowds royally as usual, while those cars allowed to make serious attempts on the hill (sadly very few, but understandable given safety concerns) were very impressive from such a close distance. Fastest time of the day went to British Hillclimber Graeme Wight Jnr in his Gould-Cosworth GR51 at 42.9 seconds, just too quick for Rod Millen in the wild mid-engined Toyota Pick-up, some four seconds off. Regular fast men like David Franklin in the Ferrari 712 Can Am and Peter Hardman in Aston’s 1959 LM winner were right up there as usual. Sadly the crowds were denied Martin Stretton on the limit in his familiar mount, the Elf Tyrrell.

Pre-war car gets a helping hand

Castrol TWR Jaguar XJR

All super stuff and three days of nostalgic joy for the crowds that flocked to the event. Over for one year but the Goodwood Revival beckons in September - from the 5th to the 7th – make sure you book those tickets.

For a full report of the event, including online ticket booking for the Revival Meeting in September and more photographs, please look at their excellent website

Classic Driver was also able to exchange a few words with Sicilian driving legend Nino Vaccarella. Please CLICK HERE to read the article and see photos of Vaccarella and Italian compatriot Arturo Merzario.

Story - Steve Wakefield. All photos (apart from GT40 display) Roger Dixon - Copyright.