Lewis Hamilton reigns supreme at the 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed is now over for another year. Despite changeable weather conditions throughout the weekend, including near-Biblical rain all day Sunday, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the sell-out 145,000+ event spectators. The reception received by Lewis Hamilton, Britain’s Formula 1 superstar, was immense, and Lewis loved every minute of it as he entertained a wildly partisan crowd behind the wheel of a Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes F1 car for the very first time on British soil, two weeks ahead of the UK Grand Prix debut at Silverstone. Many of his huge fan base were also able to get up close as he signed autographs and spoke with the crowd.
Other F1 stars, past and present, including Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fitttipaldi, Jenson Button and David Coulthard also took to the Goodwood Hill in a variety of racing machinery. Stewart was reunited with the same Lola that he drove in the Indy 500 40-years ago, while Coulthard starred in an ex-Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-type. Marc Gené was on scintillating form in the Ferrari F2006 F1 car while Ralf Schumacher and Franck Montagny were hugely entertaining in the Toyota TF106 GP car.
Somewhat slower, but also hugely entertaining, was the spectacle of motor sport drivers and riders like Damon Hill, Troy Bayliss, Chris Atkinson, Mark Webber and Jenson Button pedalling up the 1.16-mile hillclimb to massive cheers in the inaugural Goodwood Organic Milk Race. A big cheer also went out too to The Red Arrows, who were truly awe-inspiring, despite the damp weather conditions
American Rod Millen recorded the fastest time of the Festival weekend up the Hill, recording a staggering time of 47.18-seconds in his wild Pikes Peak Toyota Takoma. The antics of the many motorcycle racers were also hugely appreciated by the spectators, but nothing compared with jaw-dropping exploits of European Stunt-Riding Champion Chris Pfeiffer who wowed spectators and hardened motorcyclists alike with his signature stunt moves on a BMW F8000S ’bike. No handed wheelies, 360-degree spins and outrageous ‘stoppies’ stunned the crowd.
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, Paddy Hopkirk, Chris Atkinson and renowned ace Stig Blomqvist showed their best sideways style. Rally deity Carlos Sainz visited the Festival of Speed for the first time this year and proved that he hasn’t lost any of his natural flair aboard the Toyota Celica GT-Four ST165 in which Bjorn Waldegard won the 1990 Safari rally.
It was Toyota that took centre stage at the Festival, celebrating its 70th anniversary and also 50 years involvement in motor sport. It was impossible to miss the spectacular 38-metre high structure in front of Goodwood House, showcasing an array of Toyota racing and rallying classics from disciplines including Formula 1, Indycars and Group C sports-prototypes. Toshio Suzuki and Frank Montagny will also be giving the dramatic TS020-GT One Le Mans car an airing on Goodwood Hill.
The Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ automotive design competition was won outright by Brian Classic’s sublime 1938 Atalanta Roadster and the once-in-a-lifetime memories of seeing five of the six Bugatti Royales built will live with Goodwood visitors for years to come.
A new innovation at this year’s Festival was FoS-TECH, a striking structure next to the Cricket Pitch that showcased the latest and greatest in vehicle technology with a particular emphasis on all things green. The electric Tesla sportcars, dramatic V12-diesel-engined Peugeot 908RC, Saab’s breathtaking bio-fuel-powered Aero-X concept car and the battery-driven Nissan Pivo with its pod-like cabin that can swivel through 360-degrees all made their UK debuts, as did a record number of mouth-watering performance machines in the Sunday Times ‘InGear’ Supercar Run.
The hitherto impeccably manicured green lawns of the Goodwood Park cricket pitch were swathed in white to ape the Utah salt flats as icons from Bonneville Speed Week come to the Festival. Expanding this year’s Festival of Speed theme, ‘Spark of Genius – Breaking Records, Pushing Boundaries,’ this popular display included the four-engined 1960 Mickey Thompson Challenger 1, famous So-Cal Speed Shop ‘belly tank’ racer and the awe-inspiring JCB DieselMax that holds the Land Speed Record for diesel-powered vehicles at 350.092mph.
All-in-all, the spectator feedback suggested that this was the best of the 15 Festival of Speed events so far, despite the weather. Lord March and his team are already hard at work planning the 2008 Festival, although before that they have the Goodwood Revival to keep them busy, which takes place from 31 August to 02 September.