GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED
CHICHESTER, WEST SUSSEX, 23-26 JUNE
It’s the eagerly anticipated Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. And with this year’s 23rd staging of the event marking the centenary of BMW, the extravaganza will kick off in style with founder Lord March completing the very first run up the hill in a £2 million example of the marque.
The sprint along the 1.16-mile course will be completed in a V8-powered 1957 BMW 507, just 252 of which were built from 1956 to 1959. With a thenexpensive price tag of £3200, it was machine owned by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
But don’t worry if you miss Lord M’s 9am run on the 23rd, the first day of the festival. There will be plenty of other things for the expected 200,000-strong crowd of visitors to see over the rest of the three days of what has been described as ‘the world’s largest motoring garden party’.
Major manufacturers will be showing off current and classic models around Goodwood House and a Bonhams auction should provide some affluent punters with the ultimate souvenirs of their visit.
There will also be a rally track, but the main action will, as always, be on the hill though, living up to the 2016 theme of ‘Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power’. A number of celebrity drivers will be trying to outdo each other. Will the record of 41.6 seconds be broken this time? They include Sir Stirling Moss, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Derek Bell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Gerhard Berger, Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Jenson Button, Martin Brundle, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, and Rene Arnoux, to name but a few.
Current F1 glitterati Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg top the bill. They and their colleagues will be driving everything from aero-engined pre-war cars to today’s GP racers, including Silver Arrows and CanAm monsters.
The centrepiece sculpture will take BMW as its theme, designed by regular artist Gerry Judah. ‘Every year, I like to think of something that is very different to anything we’ve done before. The critical thing for these pieces is that they have to be iconic,’ he says.
‘This year will see the wildest, fastest, craziest, baddest cars and bikes ever to ascend the Goodwill Hill,’ comments Lord March. ‘There will be lots of noise, speed, colour and, of course, power. That’s what the Festival of Speed’s all about.’