The Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017

by John Mayhead
6 July 2017 2 min read
The Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017
Jet heat haze off Lotus 56 S Mosley

After black clouds had threatened all week, this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed was blessed with good weather, especially Sunday which was a scorcher.

The week began on Wednesday night with the GRRC Ball at Goodwood House. After dinner concluded, the guests were asked to cross the track and take their place in a grandstand. The silence was broken by the screeching of tyres as a couple of drifting Nissans came into view and then performed donuts in front of the crowd. Their exit marked the start of an impressive firework display with music that marked the official unveiling of the Festival of Speed statue, this year celebrating the career of Bernie Ecclestone. Called The Five Ages Of Ecclestone, it features a Connaught (driver), Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72 (manager), a Brabham BT49 (owner), a Ferrari F2001 (impresario), and last year’s Mercedes W07 (legend).

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On Thursday, the Festival kicked off with The Moving Motor Show. For the classic enthusiast this has limited appeal, but the reduced crowds make viewing the other stands and attractions much more enjoyable than later in the weekend. One highlight was walking past the paddock holding the Mercedes Silver Arrows and seeing Jochen Mass chatting with a visitor; on Saturday or Sunday, he would have been mobbed by the crowds.

The following day, the racing schedule began. There were many highlights: Ferrari’s 70th anniversary generated a plethora of scarlet racers on the hill including a Ferrari 250 LM of the type that last won Le Mans for the Scuderia in 1965. The sound of that car, even amongst other racing cars, still made anyone in the vicinity stop and turn.

Then there were the Edwardian cars, which are quick becoming one of the best spectacles of the Goodwood shows. Of these, Juliam Mazjub in his Bugatti Type 35B was a crowd- pleasing highlight, dancing his car around the bends with both speed and grace.

Class 23 was a celebration of the life of John Surtees, and included his MV Agusta 500 and the Ferrari 158 in which he won the F1 World Championship. The reigning Champion, Nico Rosberg, also took to the hill on Sunday in his Mercedes-Benz F1 W05 Hybrid, then delighted the crowds by spending ages signing autographs and taking ‘selfies’.

Porsche also made a big impact at the 2017 Festival of Speed. Fresh from its third consecutive LMP-1 victory at Le Mans, the Porsche 919 was an awe-inspiring sight, but it was the Porsche 917/30 Can-Am that wowed the crowd- all 1,500bph helping it to make an impressive start from the line.

On the Cartier lawn, the concours attracted its usual mixture of the wonderful and the slightly eccentric. The juxtaposition of a wonderful, unique, Giugiaro-designed Ferrari 250 GTSWB ‘sharknose’ next to a 1960 Fiat 500 Jolly was great to see.

Families were well catered for at this year’s Festival, and it was great to see so many children enjoying themselves. Many gravitated towards the full-size Lightning McQueen and Jackson Storm cars, stars of Disney’s new Cars 3 film. Mention must also go to Vauxhall, whose family area was superb, including the free hire of covered trolleys which vastly aided the movement of small children around the show.

All in all, the Goodwood Festival of Speed continues to thrive. It’s a wonderful show, with lots for a huge cross-section of society: everything from avid followers of one motorsport discipline to those who just want a great family day out. We hope you enjoy our photographs, and please follow us on Facebook for more Goodwood action.

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