The Goodwood FoS -The Burning Man of Burning Rubber
It can be tough getting non-gearheads to understand why horsepower and carbon fiber gets us going. For some, loud fuel-sucking machines that bellow smoke just don’t make sense. It is a tortured existence trying to get your average Camry driver to see the beauty in a rally car or Pagani. If you were ever to attempt to bring someone into the world of automotive enthusiasm, the Goodwood Festival of Speed would be your best hope.
Held every summer since 1993 in West Sussex , England, it is a form of automotive Nirvana. Unlike other car shows or Concourses, where the cars sit dormant, like museum pieces, the cars that attend the Festival of Speed (or simply FoS) take part in a hill climb and other active events. Spectators can hear the glorious sounds of high-powered race engines belching forth an exquisite symphony of internal combustion. Usually driven by notable racers, past and present, the cars themselves are some of the most famous and rare pieces in the world.
The FoS was founded as a means to return motorsports to the historic Goodwood Circuit. Lord March of Sussex wanted to host vintage races at the track, but was not able to obtain the necessary permits. So what did the Lord do? He decided to just host an event on his own property, of course!
Described by its promoters as “the largest motoring garden party in the world”, the Festival of Speed is scheduled on a weekend in which no major races take place. This ensures plenty of motorsport’s biggest names are in attendance. In the most notable event, the hill climb, it is not uncommon to see a supercar, piloted by an F1 driver. In the past, F1 cars actually participated in the hill climb, but no longer do so for safety concerns. They still take part in the festivities more as a showcase of creative driving.
There is an intimate, casual feel to the FoS. It is a place where the big names in F1, WRC, and other motoring series tend to let their hair down and mix it up with the spectators, who have access to the drivers like no other event in the world.
While the hill climb is the centerpiece of the weekend, there are also aircraft flyovers, the Cartier “Style et Luxe” automotive fashion show, and the impressive annual monument.
Every year a different brand constructs a massive display in the front lawn, following the theme of that year. It is later torn down and a new display is constructed for the next year.
In many ways, the Festival of Speed is a lot like those jam band music festivals, like automotive Burning Man. Catching a Caparo T1 back at the 2006 FoS is like that time you saw Warren Haynes come out with the Black Keys to cover “Do the Rump”. Just like Burning Man, the massive structure at the center of the festival never makes it to the next year. Perhaps the most important connection the two have is that they are the Nirvana of their genre.
[caption id="attachment_9294" align="alignnone" width="580" caption="When you've got F-U money, sometimes you just play Hot Wheels for real."] [/caption]
Screw it- if your neighbor doesn’t understand why you spend so much time under the hood, you are among like-minded friends at events like the Festival of Speed.