The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual event that combines a hill climb with a fascinating exhibition of salon, sports and racing cars through the ages. It attracts many top names in motorsport and some outstanding cars, including some of the fastest road cars, racing cars and motorbikes in the world. The first Festival of Speed took place in 1993. It was organised by Lord March in how own grounds as he was unable to hold it on the original Goodwood racing circuit.
The Hill Climb is a spectacular event in which the spectators are separated from the track by no more that straw bales, so they are right up close to the action. The course is 1.16 miles long.
The all-time fastest car was a McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car driven by Nick Heidfeld with an average speed of over 100 mph completing the course in 41.6 seconds. However since then current Formula One cars are no longer permitted to do timed runs and instead simply do demonstration runs, however in 2006 Heikki Kovalainen driving a Renault R25 Formula One car was unofficially timed at under 40 seconds, making the Renault the unofficial all time fastest car.
The (official) fastest cars at Goodwood since 1999 are, in reverse order:
1) In sixth place is the Lotus 88 which won the Hill Climb in 2011 driven by the British driver Dan Collins with a time of 48.52 seconds.
This was a highly innovative classic Formula One car designed by Colin Chapman. The car first raced in the US Grand Prix West in 1981 and was raced by Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis. However its controversial design was challenged by other teams and had to be withdrawn from the 1981 Formula One Championship.
2) Fifth fastest car was the Williams FW05 which completed the Hill Climb in just 47.15 seconds giving British driver Roger Willis the 2010 title.
This appeared in the 1976 Formula One championship and its best place was 8th in the Argentine Grand Prix driven by Jacky Ickx; sadly it scored no points all season.
3) The fourth fastest car was a Chevron GT3 driven by the British Driver Anthony Reid in 2012 which clocked just 46.46 seconds.
This beautiful classic racing car has 420 bhp at its disposal and all the torque necessary to make a spectacular show at Goodwood.
4) In third place was the Peugeot 208 T/16 driven by Nick Heidfeld of Germany with a time of 45.86 seconds.
The Peugeot 208 is a supermini though the T/16 is a super-light version that is powered by a twin-turbo V6 3.2-litre engine. This little car develops a stunning 875 bhp and has an unbelievable power to weight ratio.
5) The second fastest car was the Jaguar XJR8/9 driven by Justin Law in 2008 who made it to the top of the hill in 44.19 seconds.
Classified as a sports-prototype race car, it is powered by a 7.0 litre V12 engine and won the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1988 along with a clutch of other important victories.
6) The fastest car of all time was the McLaren MP4/13, which was also driven by Nick Heidfeld in 1999 and which completed the hill climb in a staggering 41.6 seconds. Unfortunately, this was the last time a current Formula One car was permitted a timed run.
If you’re thinking of visiting the festival and need to stay nearby or want to make a weekend of it, there are plenty of hotels nearby.