A quarter of a Century has gone by since the Goodwood Festival of Speed made its debut outing in 1993. A major marker in the history of this amazing event, 2019 also celebrates significant anniversary milestones of various marques.
It is a Festival of Speed tradition to have both an Honoured Marque and a main theme, and it was Aston Martin’s turn to be the Honoured Marque, their 1959 DBR1 racecar taking pride of place on the structure in front of Goodwood House.
This year the main theme was “Speed Kings - Motorsport’s Record Breakers”, celebrating all areas of the best from F1 to rallying and the Land Speed Record winners.
Significantly, it was 20 years since Nick Heidfeld set the 41.6 seconds record here in his McLaren MP4/13 F1 car. After two decades this was finally broken by VW’s all-electric I.D. Pikes Peak racer, which recorded a 39.9 seconds time for the 1.16 mile run up the hill.
The style and quality of the cars in attendance has never been better, and the 200,000 plus enthusiasts who turned up over the long weekend were treated to some of the best action ever seen at this amazing event.
The Duke of Richmond (formerly Lord March), no doubt had a twinkle in his eye when he opened his family estate to the first Goodwood Festival of Speed 25 years ago. But even he had no idea just how big and successful it was to become.
Aston Martin’s relationship with Zagato goes back over 60 years, and this was exemplified by the spectacular limited edition aluminium and carbon-fibre clad, 592hp V12-powered Vanquish Zagato family in Coupe, Volante and Shooting Brake forms.
However, the car that many have been waiting for was the DBX, the marque’s first SUV. Still heavily disguised with vinyl camouflage wrap, the pre-production test car made rapid runs up the hill each day, showing off the deep V8 growl of its AMG-sourced twin-turbo motor.
Celebrating its Centennial this year Bentley had much to shout about with its all-new Continental GT and GTC in both W12 and V8 forms. The Number 1 Edition, inspired by the speed record set at Brooklands in 1932 by the blower Bentley of Tim Birkin was also part of the static display.
However, the really big news was the all-new Flying Spur, which made its first public appearance with runs up the hill and another example in the 30 car static display.
Another famous name from motorsport history, Brabham Automotive is an Anglo-Australian company that introduced the BT62, a road legal mid-engine track day car with a 5.4 litre naturally aspirated V8 power, last year.
The company is led by David Brabham, son of the legendary Jack, and a multiple Le Mans winner in his own right, so it is no surprise to learn that they intend to contest the GTE Class at Le Mans in 2021.
With 700hp to push just 972kg, and a manual transmission, the BT62 is a real drivers’ car in the old school way. Just 70 will be made.
While many expected the new De Tomaso to be a homage to the Pantera, the poster child of many enthusiasts in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the new Hong Kong-based owners, IdealVenture, reached further back to the 1960s for inspiration.
The De Tomaso P70 prototype racer was powered by a 5.0 litre Gurney-Weslake V8 and was built in collaboration with Carroll Shelby. In comparison the gorgeous P72 is based on the Apollo Intense Emozione featuring a carbon-fibre monocoque built to LMP (Le Mans Prptotype) regulations.
The interior is equally spectacular and takes a leaf from the Pagani playbook with its exquisite and very bespoke detailing. Just 72 cars will be made.
Ferrari showcased their rarest contemporary models this year with three one-offs; the 812 Superfast-based SP2 Speedster, the F12-TDF-derived SP3JC Roadster, and the track-only P80/C special that shares many components with the 488 GT3 racecar.
In another part of the paddock a throng of privately owned Ferraris harked back to the marque’s glorious racing history. One remarkable car was the 1948 Ferrari 166MM Barchetta of long time owners Sally and Dudley Mason-Styrron, who enter this very original car in the Mille Miglia every year.
Other classic favourites were a 250GT SWB, the famous 250GTO of Nick Mason and the Daytona Competizione of Carlos Monteverdi.
The Ford GT40 was the car that won Le Mans, and an example of the open ‘60s version was in attendance along with the very latest version of the GT racecar that won the GTE Class at Le Mans in 2016.
The star of the McLaren stand this year was the new GT, a larger and longer touring version of their existing super sports range aimed at covering distance in style and comfort.
McLaren claim a luggage capacity greater than that of the Bentley GT Coupe and the Aston Martin DB11, which it is aimed at in price as well.
First seen at Geneva this year the Morgan Plus Six merges 20th and 21st Century technologies. Underpinned by the company’s latest CX architecture features a bonded aluminium and ash wood frame, a new suspension set up, and BMW’s 335hp turbocharged 3.0 litre straight six.
The revised cabin is roomier but its classic looks are at odds with the high-tech BMW gear lever that controls the standard eight-speed automatic transmission.
Time passes quickly when you are having fun, and it is 20 years since Argentinian-born Horacio Pagani defied all odds to become an almost instant legend with his first Zonda supercar.
Since then the company has gone from strength to strength and opened its new factory two years ago. The display of cars at Goodwood was a fitting homage to the incredible Zonda and Huayra models from this small but incredibly innovative Italian supercar marque.
Porsche had several significant new cars at Goodwood this year. Starting with those that mere mortals can actually buy, the 718 Cayman GT4 comes with a 420hp naturally aspirated flat six, and shares much of its hard-core underpinnings with the 718 Boxster Spyder.
Porsche also brought along their GT2 RS-based 935 homage, which spectators were able to see alongside the classic Porsche racecars that ran up the hill during the weekend. The 917s in Gulf colours certainly evoked images of the epic battles with Ferrari at Le Mans in 1970 and ‘71.
The big motorsport reveal was the latest 911 RSR, built to contest the FIA World Endurance Championship. “Our engineers found room to improve the previous car in complex areas like driveability, efficiency, durability and serviceability,” explained Pascal Zurlinden, the Director, GT Factory Motorsport, during his presentation. “The 2019 RSR has 95% new components, with only the headlamps, brake system, clutch, driver’s seat and a few suspension components carried over.”
Powered by a revised version of the 991.2 naturally aspirated flat six, displacement has been bumped up to 4.2 litres, with output around 515hp depending on the size of the restrictor plate. The six-speed sequential gearbox has been beefed up to take the extra power and torque.
The new car was subject to very stringent testing at Paul Ricard Circuit in March this year, where it covered around 6,000km at race speeds over 30 hours with no technical issues.
Powered by a 4.0 litre flat six designed by Hans Mezger and manufactured by Williams, this car is the first of the 70 to be made at US$1.8 million each.