Every year, when the heat of late June and early July heralds the onslaught of summer, there is a festival in West Sussex, England, that is like no other in the world. Showcasing a historic hill climb race that crushes multiple cars every year, and offering automakers the chance to show-off their latest and greatest, this event has it all. And while most people like to call it the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we prefer to refer to it as “Automotive Mecca.”
Originally founded in 1993 by British aristocrat and eldest son to the Duke of Richmond, Lord March, this weekend-long event resurrected the Goodwood estate’s racing history and turned it into a festival like no other. Attracting 150,000 people on average, this show offers something for everybody. Formula 1 cars of yesteryear thrash the hill, vintage vehicles putter around at every turn, and motorbikes impress onlookers endlessly while Ken Block sends his Hoonicorn around for another burnout.
Everyone comes out of the woodwork for this one, with automakers showcasing their production vehicles and prototypes, and industry enthusiasts and members of the media eating it up with gusto and washing it all down with cold pints of petrol. Since all of this takes place on the grounds of one of the most historically gorgeous estates in all of England, it sure sounds like it would make for some fantastic photographic moments.
So in order to touch upon some of the most pivotal and memorable moments from this year’s FoS, we have narrowed it down with these nine incredible moments. Each one tells the tale of what transpired this past weekend, and offers us a candid look at the risks and rewards associated with attending and participating in the world’s largest car event.
1. Toyota Camry NASCAR catches fire during burnout
Every now and then a well-built burnout turns into a completely uncontrolled fire the likes of which would cause Smokey the Bear to shake his head in shame. This is exactly what happened when a NASCAR Toyota Camry that was being piloted by 34-year old Austrian driver Patrick Friesacher caught alight. Exuberant plumes of tire smoke quickly gave way to jet-black clouds of soot as the rear right tire caught fire, but instead of waiting on the fire marshals to come put him out, Friesacher decided to man-up and go for a “hot lap” in the hopes of extinguishing the flames, which he fortunately was able to do.
2. Nissan Juke Nismo RS two-wheels its way into the history books
Now this isn’t something you see every day. Racing a car around a track takes an insane amount of skill, but doing it on two wheels is just uncanny. Over the weekend, this Nissan Juke RS took the world title when stunt driver Terry Grant opted to tackle the entire length of the 1.16-mile course at 30 miles per hour while balancing on just two wheels.
3. The Beast of Turin eats the hill alive
Everyone thinks of Fiats as these cute little bubbles, floating in a sedan-filled sea of European soda, as they zip around town willy-nilly, parking where they please. But few people know that these little upstarts are the direct descendants of a lumbering Goliath that is prone to breathing fire (like, it actually spews flame). This is the Fiat “Beast of Turin,” and spectators over the weekend were able to witness its 28.5-liter inline-four engine shred the hill climb and then ask for seconds.
4. Mazda’s magnificent tribute to itself
Like any ornately designed villa of old, there needs to be a sculpture somewhere in the gardens that gives reason for one to pause, look up, and say, “Oh I say Joffrey, isn’t that just a splendid homage to the gods of old?” Being that the Goodwood estate is one of England’s crown jewels when it comes to all things lawn and garden, Lord March has given a different automaker every year the chance to have their cars presented on a unique automotive sculpture designed by Goodwood’s longtime sculptor Gerry Judah. This year it was Mazda’s turn, and it delivered, giving us a twisting 720 metal beam corkscrew design that spun 131 feet into the air. Suspended at the top sat Mazda’s legendary rotary-powered 787B Le Mans racer and the LM55 Gran Turismo Vision concept for all the world to see, and the only thing we think is cooler than the design itself is the video that shows how it all came to fruition.
5. Honda toys with our inner child
This a surprise for visitors when they entered the grounds: Honda decided to “toy” with a unique marketing technique that zeros-in on the kid inside us all. These massive toy boxes came complete with transparent windows, a fun playset theme though out, real cars inside each one, and hook cut-outs if one were to hang them up for display on a toy shelf. Showcasing everything from a McLaren Formula-1 race car and the new NSX, to the CR-V and the British version of the Fit, this display was hands down the best booth at this year’s FoS.
6. 1934 Aston-Martin Ulster fetches $4,577,837
Jay Leno undoubtedly dribbled on himself a little bit when he saw this thing go up for auction over the weekend at Goodwood. Only 31 of these cars were ever made, of which only 29 remain, and this one may be the king of them all as it has raced Goodwood’s hill climb more than most. First designed to compete at Le Mans, this particular version received the LM19 title, and is rated as one of the world’s most sought after collector cars. Originally expected to fetch a winning bid of far less, the demand for this car overturned all sense of judgement as wealthy aristocrats bid feverishly against one another in the hopes of owning this crucial piece of automotive history.
7. Mazda’s 767B crashes into a barrier
Not everything went according to plan over the course of the event, with this massive faux pas taking the title. Sliding around corners at a breakneck pace is always a risky business, and things can get even more dicey when you just so happen to be behind the wheel of a priceless piece of racing history. Everything went sour pretty quick for Mazda when the driver of its rotary-powered 1989 767B race car lost control during a timed hill climb and smashed into a barrier. As horrific as it may look, no one was hurt in this incident, and it stands as proof that on average five serious accidents occur at Goodwood over the course of the event.
8. Aston Martin Vulcan unleashed to forge a new future
So Aston Martin has apparently had enough with the Cheat Sheet’s unabashed love for Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus’s SCG-003 supercar, and has decided to come out with its own $2-million option in order to hopefully lure us away from Mr. Glickenhaus’s creation. Designed and priced for Russian drug lords and Floyd Mayweather, the Vulcan was unleashed for the first time at this year’s FOS amidst a temendous amount of media buzz. It did not disappoint either, as the Vulcan wowed onlookers with its 800-horsepower 7-liter V12 engine and track-derived pushrod suspension. Sadly, it isn’t street-legal, so owners will have to build their own tracks or find one nearby.
9. Phenomenal fireworks kick things off and close things down
Everyone talks about the cars, celebrities, races, auctions, weather, and grounds at Goodwood, but somehow they overlook the opening and closing ceremonies. Rivaling any Olympic opening or closing ceremony, the fireworks displays at Goodwood are a fantastic affair, with light shows to accompany it all. And while we may regret that the show is officially over, there is no denying that pictures like this are a testament to everything Goodwood stands for in our lives as motor enthusiasts.