The 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed was deemed by the 140,000+ spectators as the best one yet, with so much going on, that the crowds didn’t know where to look first.
Just one week after Lewis Hamilton’s epic victory at the British Grand Prix, a wildly partisan crowd toasted the Formula One star with champagne as he appeared on the balcony of Goodwood House to the interviewed by popular presenter Chris Evans. Lewis then went on to sign autographs and chat with his fans, before entertaining the crowds behind the wheel of a Vodaphone McLaren-Mercedes F1 car. He also drove one very lucky Festival of Speed spectator – Mathew Solly – up the Goodwood hill in a Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster. Mr Solly’s ticket was drawn at random from the 50,000 Festival visitors attending Goodwood on Sunday, and Lewis gave him a truly memorable experience that he will savor for the rest of his life.
Another British F1 star – Jenson Button, also entertained the Festival goers with a remarkably lurid wheel spin off the start line, before the mechanicals of his F1 Honda expired. Experienced wheel-smith Justin Law had no such difficulties, setting the fastest time of the weekend of 44.19 seconds up the hill in his rapid 1990 Jaguar XJR12.
Choosing other highlights from such an action-pack weekend of Festival activities is not easy. However, the amazing exploits of 12-time international trials rider champion Dougie Lampkin proved immensely popular and had to be seen to be believed as he jumped over everything from priceless racing cars to the Festival’s founder Lord March throughout the event! He also rode up to the roof of Goodwood House a few times each day to get a closer view of the huge Land Rover central feature display, with was regularly scaled by a group of expert free-style climbers.
The spectacle of a slow-moving Airbus A380 flying and maneuvering at just1,000 feet over the event on Saturday was a sight to behold, as was the rumble of the iconic American top-fuel dragsters being started up twice a day for a loud ‘cacklefest’ on the purpose-built tarmac drag strip.
Rally fans were treated to a wealth of iconic rally cars, plus many current WRC machines, being driven as their makers intended on the Goodwood Forest Rally Stage. Star drivers, including Petter Solberg, Chris Atkinson, Matthew Wilson, Mikko Hirvonen and renowned Scandinavian aces Stig Blomqvist, Bjorn Waldegard and Juha Kankkunen. A special tribute to Scottish rallying legend Colin McRae, with many of his vehicles on display was especially appreciated by the Festival goers.
The Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ automotive design competition was won by the sublime 1930 Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK ‘Trossi Roadster’ owned by Ralph Lauren. Just across the way from this mouth-watering 1930s Supercar was a selection of over 40 of the very latest exotica in the Sunday Times Supercar Run, including no less than three versions of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, as well as a host of other new models.
Looking to the future, the FoS-TECH technology pavilion proved to be a huge hit with the Goodwood crowds, showcasing the latest and greatest in vehicle technology with a particular emphasis on all things green. The carbon-neutral flying Skycar made its world debut, and a series of advanced concept cars from Nissan, Honda, Peugeot, Toyota, Citroen, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Morgan and others were seen for the very first time in the UK.
All-in-all, the spectator feedback suggested that this was the best of the 16 Festival of Speed events to date, despite the weather. Lord March and his team are already hard at work planning the 2009 Festival, although before that they have the Goodwood Revival to keep them busy, which takes place this year from September 19-21.
[Source: Goodwood Festival of Speed]