Legendary drivers, cars and crashes star at incredible Festival of Speed


The Goodwood hillclimb exploded with noise from 26-29 June as everything from historic Grand Prix and Group B to concept and hyper cars thundered up the famous hill. The greatest roar of all lasted for a full minute, as every car in the paddock redlined its engine to create a 'wall of noise' to honour the late Sir Jack Brabham, who died earlier this year.

As well as the bark of highly tuned engines, visitors were welcomed to Lord March's estate by the arching sculpture of Gerry Judah, which featured two Mercedes Formula 1 cars, one modern and one historic replica, crossing paths to represent 120 years of the firm's motor sport history. It stands at 26-metres tall and is reported to weigh in excess of 150 tonnes.

The real draw, though, was the galaxy of stars that turned out to take on the hill. Emanuele Pirro, Andre Lotterer, Henri Pescarolo and Jackie Oliver all took a turn on the famous course, with Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen representing the younger generation.

Hamilton geed up the crowd by shredding the tyres of his Mercedes-Benz FW03 Grand Prix car, while Damon Hill was reunited with his Championship-winning 1996 Williams FW18. However, John Surtees and Kimi Raikkonen drove up the hill in convoy, each in his respective Championship-winning car; Surtees piloted his 1964 Ferrari 158, while Raikkonen followed in his F2007.

The ex-Andrea de Cesaris Jordan 191-Ford driven by Didier Sirgue flew the flag for Formula 1 in the Sunday Shoot-Out, but the Frenchman was unable to trouble  nine-time WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb, who posted the fastest time of the day, 44.60 seconds, in the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak car. Also in the running was former IndyCar Champion and Goodwood favourite, Kenny Brack, who was driving a fearsome McLaren F1 GTR Long-tail. He finished in third place with a time of 47.52 seconds.

Despite now driving for Citroën in the World Touring Car Championship, Loeb stayed true to his rallying roots, entertaining the crowd in his title-winning Citroën DS3 WRC car, while Hannu Mikkola and Bjorn Waldegard drove an Audi quattro S4 and Toyota Celica, respectively.

There was plenty to see away from the track, too, with the Cartier "Style et Lux" Concours d'Elegance celebrating its 20th year at the festival. Junior pre-war sports cars featured in Class 1, with Class 2 dedicated to the Mercedes-Benz 500K, which was launched 80 year ago. Another birthday was celebrated in Class 3, this time marking 100 years of Maserati, where 1950s grand tourers bodied by Pininfarina, Zagato, Frua and Allemano took the plaudits.

Fittingly, the top award was won by a 1954 Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta in the firm's centenary year. Early mid-engined super cars and front-engined GT cars of the 1990s were each in a class of their own, while another marked 50 years of the Ford Mustang, and the cars it inspired. 

Marshalled by C&SC's Mick Walsh, the judges of the concours included actor and writer, Rowan Atkinson and Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, who crashed a Nissan GT-R while speeding up to Molecomb. Hoy wasn't the only one to come a cropper – Max Smith-Hilliard also came off the track in a 1972 Surtees-Cosworth and Anthony Reid struck the Flint Wall in an Aston Martin Vantage, ripping the offside wheel from the car.


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