WHERE THE GRASS IS GREENER

THE AN­NUAL GOOD­WOOD FES­TI­VAL OF SPEED THREAT­ENS TO CONSIGN REG­U­LAR MO­TOR SHOWS TO THE HIS­TORY BOOKS. AT THE IN­VI­TA­TION OF PORSCHE, WE SOAKED UP THE AT­MOS­PHERE OF THE 2017 EVENT

Car (South Africa) - - FEATURE - BY: Ian Mclaren Ian­m_­car­mag PHO­TOS: Ian Mclaren and Good­wood.com

1 This year’s fea­ture sculp­ture paid trib­ute to the ca­reer of ex-f1 boss Bernie Ec­cle­stone. 2 Gor­geous ma­chin­ery dis­played on the grounds of the es­tate. 3 A priceless gath­er­ing of race-bred Fer­raris. 4 The name of the game at Good­wood is en­ter­tain­ment. 5 Porsche used the oc­ca­sion to launch its new GT2 RS. OP­PO­SITE Mark Dono­hue’s all-con­quer­ing Porsche 917/30 blasts up the Good­wood hill­climb course.

MYearly-bird-catches-the­crowd-free-su­per­cardis­plays plan ap­pears an in­spired one. With 2 km re­main­ing of my vol­un­tary 06h00 walk from our overnight ac­co­mo­da­tion to the en­trance of Lord March’s Good­wood es­tate, I’m catch­ing up with the choked au­to­mo­tive traf c head­ing in the same di­rec­tion. This is no or­di­nary con­ges­tion, though, and even at this early stage of the day, there’s a pal­pa­ble level of ex­cite­ment sur­round­ing an event that has quickly es­tab­lished it­self as a pin­na­cle an­nual ex­pe­ri­ence for many of the world’s motoring en­thu­si­asts.

Closer to the en­trance, a sin­gle line of traf c is neatly di­rected into a makeshift meadow park­ing area like an end­less strand of wool be­ing fed into a sewing ma­chine. What’s as­tound­ing about this pic­ture is not only the lev­els of pa­tience and con­sid­er­a­tion be­ing shown to­wards the park­ing at­ten­dants, but also the gen­eral cal­i­bre of ve­hi­cles lin­ing up. This par­tic­u­lar mar­ket’s pen­chant for STbranded Fords may be clear to see but, even in the pub­lic park­ing area, there’s enough ex­otic ma­chin­ery to ap­pease most en­thu­si­asts, in­clud­ing what must surely be the largest gath­er­ing of Roll­sRoyces in one place.

Half-an-hour after the gates open, the heav­ens fol­low suit and I seek shel­ter un­der one of the many mar­quees. It’s a mo­ment later that I re­alise my short­est path to pro­tec­tion from the rain has found me a mere arm’s length away from the wing of a Fer­rari F40 to my left and a me­tre to my right away from the haunches of a 250 GTO. It per­fectly il­lus­trates just why the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed has suc­ceeded in keep­ing it­self both per­ti­nent and in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar over the past 21 years. Each year, it of­fers some­thing dif­fer­ent, yet rel­e­vant, and in 2017 this meant un­nerv­ingly close ac­cess to a col­lec­tion of ul­tra rare and ul­tra ex­pen­sive Fer­raris gath­ered to cel­e­brate the 70th an­niver­sary of this brand’s sin­gle-seater rac­ing her­itage.

Another huge draw­card for Fes­ti­val of Speed at­ten­dees, as I stare long­ingly across the garage area at Alain Prost’s 1990 Fer­rari 641 For­mula One car, is the knowl­edge that, at two pre­scribed times through­out each day’s pro­ceed­ings, many of the cars will be red to life and driven (usu­ally in anger) in a hill­climb for­mat up Good­wood’s drive­way. For­tu­nately, the morn­ing’s rain proves to be only a pass­ing shower and the course is dry by the time I nd my van­tage point for the rest of the morn­ing’s ac­tion. It’s best to get com­fort­able be­cause, once the pro­ces­sion be­gins, the ac­tion is thick and fast; this year blast­ing into life with an ar­ray of big, brash Amer­i­can brawn in the shape of ev­ery­thing from his­toric Mclaren Can-am rac­ers to Penske-built CART sin­gle-seaters and thun­der­ous Chevro­let NARCAR.

The ground stops shak­ing as a con­voy of three real-life Tamiya “re­mote con­trol” cars too­tle past be­fore the rst of a se­ries of his­toric Jaguar-built en­durance rac­ers blast up the drive­way to sig­nal the start of the next batch of au­to­mo­tive good­ness, in­clud­ing, as has be­come tra­di­tion, an ap­pear­ance by the win­ner of the most re­cent 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year, it’s Timo Bern­hard in his Porsche 919 hy­brid.

Much like Le Mans, the Fes­ti­val of Speed is com­ple­mented through­out the week­end by an bril­liantly en­ter­tain­ing com­men­tary team. They in­vite ex­perts on each of the di­verse au­to­mo­tive cat­e­gories into stu­dio to add fur­ther value to the live au­dio that’s broad­cast via loud speak­ers po­si­tioned around the event and af­ford­ably priced ear pieces sold with the of cial pro­gramme. It’s this same com­men­tary team that pro­claims the Le Mans-win­ning Porsche, its scars from Cir­cuit de le Sarthe bat­tle since pre­served for pos­ter­ity, to be “lac­quered in French wildlife”.

Real­is­ing the al­lure of the fes­ti­val and, given the fact that the UK no longer hosts its own an­nual mo­tor show, more and more man­u­fac­tur­ers of­fer not only static, but also mov­ing dis­plays in the form of hill­climb en­tries. While not of­ten com­ple­mented by the same kind of bal­is­tic sound­track as say a V12-pow­ered 1967 Honda RA300 F1 car, there’s still some­thing to be said for watch­ing a Bu­gatti Chiron be­ing closely fol­lowed by a Ford GT and then a Wal­ter Röhrl-piloted Porsche GT2 RS that was of cially un­veiled at the show the pre­vi­ous evening. In­deed, what bet­ter oc­tane- lled event at which to in­tro­duce the modern-day in­car­na­tion of the rst tur­bocharged and rear­wheel-driven Porsche that would go on to be dubbed “Wi­d­ow­maker”.

Where things do get in­ter­est­ing is when a driver de­cides to run against the clock up the 1,86 km hill­climb course. While the of cial record re­mains 0:41,60 set by Nick Hei­d­feld be­hind the wheel of a Mclaren F1 car in 1999, watch­ing the likes of Brit Mark Hig­gins at­tack the course in a highly tuned, turbo-whirling Subaru Im­preza is a treat for both the young ... and young at heart.

Then, just as I thought I couldn’t have felt more ful lled by my sec­ond Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed ex­pe­ri­ence, it was the in­stantly recog­nis­able turbo swirl of another car that red all of my senses. While watch­ing leg­endary car de­signer Gor­don Murray pi­lot his South African­built IGM-FORD was a proud mo­ment to savour, noth­ing pre­pared me for the sound of Chris Aberdein him­self ar­riv­ing on the scene in his West­bank Modi ed Audi S4 GTO. I may be bi­ased, but I’d say wit­ness­ing this par­tic­u­lar Roth­mans-spon­sored Audi with its dis­tinct turbo waste­gate chirps take to the hill was one of the high­lights of the 2017 event. And then there were the drifters... Fur­ther proof of the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed’s ea­ger­ness to adapt and stay rel­e­vant was the ar­rival at this year’s party of the likes of Youtube-sen­sa­tions Vaughn Git­ten Ju­nior, James Deane and “Mad” Mike Whid­dett in his 2,6-litre, twin-tur­bocharged Mazda MX-5. As much as it re­mains a treat to see and hear both race and road cars from var­i­ous eras piloted in all their re­stored glory, there’s also a lot to be said for mar­vel­ling at both the car con­trol and sheer lack of em­pa­thy for rear tyres shown by those mas­ters of the modern art of drift­ing.

Motoring en­thu­si­asts young and old re­joice; there is cur­rently no bet­ter event at get your x or ev­ery­thing car re­lated than the an­nual Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed.

THERE'S SOME­THING TO BE SAID FOR WATCH­ING A CHIRON BE­ING FOL­LOWED BY A GT AND THEN A GT2 RS

28 Car­mag.co.za

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