Goodwood Festival of Speed 2006 Review
In the words of that song so favoured by crooners "Where do I begin", well 1906 seems a good point. Why 1906 you may be asking? Well that’s the year Grand Prix Motor Racing started started and also saw the first running of that great road race the Targa Florio, both these centenaries were central themes at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Renault won that first Grand Prix and of course are current F1 world champions, so rightly occupied pride of place in front of Goodwood House. This display consisted of two 2005 championship winning R25 F1 cars, a replica of their first Grand Prix winner the 13-litre Renault 90CV, and two 1907 Renault Type 46s. Both 46s went out on the hill to give demonstration runs and at one point ran up the course side by side. The whole display was staged under a huge circular canvas awning, dubbed "the prawn cracker", and flanked by iconic photographs of Grand Prix racing taken from the L.A.T. archive.
So with a hundred years of history at their disposal Lord March and his team had plenty of scope and they certainly did gather together a wonderful array of Grand Prix cars and drivers. "Where do I begin"? Well Sir Jackie Stewart was spoilt for choice with three of his previous mounts to choose from, and at one point it all got too much for him so he drove the 2006 Williams FW28 up the hill just for some light relief. Damon Hill drove a 1967 Lotus 49 as his father had done 39 years before, Richard Attwood was in a P261 BRM that he raced 41 years ago and so it went on, Sir Stirling Moss in his 1954 Mercedes W196, Brabham in his 1959 Cooper, Surtees in his 1967 Honda, Mansell in his 1982 Lotus right through to Jenson Button in the 2006 Honda.
It was a similar situation for the Targa Florio section, with a list full of Alfas, Ferraris, Porsches and Cobras and a driver line-up that included Elford, Vaccarella, Bell, Merzario and Van Lennep all blasting up the hill in their famous cars. Add to this a Rally section packed with great drivers and their cars, Le Mans winners, Super Cars, Can Am and Indy Cars.
It’s now a case of "where do I end"? Perhaps with a couple of quotes. Double world champion Mika Hakkinen said "It is my first visit but after just a short time at the Festival I think it is the best event of its type in the world". 1973 Targa Florio winner Gijs Van Lennep sitting in his victorious Porsche 911 RSR, at the start-line on Sunday afternoon, said "I’ve had a great time, we’ve just got the fuel system sorted and the car is running perfectly so I’m really going to enjoy this last run".
Eight cars further down the line from Van Lennep’s Porsche was a distinguished looking gentleman sitting at the wheel of a 1966 "Rothmans Cambridge" sponsored Lola T70, his was to be one of the last runs of the weekend, he looked very relaxed and had the air someone who is master of all he surveys; in fact he was.
I wonder what delights he has in store for us all next year.
On the Friday of the Festival auctioneers Bonhams held their tradition Goodwood sale, the highlight of which was the 1965 AC Cobra Roadster selling for £227,000. Please click HERE for the results - full review to come on Classic Driver next week.
The next date for your diary is the Revival Race Meeting at the Goodwood Circuit in September. As in 2005, all days will be for advance ticket holders only - no tickets will be for sale on the gate.
It will be held from 1 - 3 September 2006 and as usual we will be previewing it extensively on Classic Driver, including our usual in-car experiences on Press Day.
To book your tickets for the Revival, please either telephone the Booking Office on +44 1243 755055 or buy on-line by visiting the Online Shopping & Tickets section of www.goodwood.co.uk. You will also find the latest news and press releases for this and the Festival.
Story and photos by Roger Dixon - all strictly copyright. For further information please visit www.rogerdixonphotography.com
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