Cars are being covered, transporters loaded and tales of hairy moments on the Hill shared as the 2021 Festival of Speed, presented by Mastercard, comes to a spectacular close. Given the go-ahead as a pilot event by the UK Government’s Event Research Programme, the Festival drew eager crowds keen to celebrate everything motoring and motorsport. The Right Honorable Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport visited the Festival on the opening day.
Familiar favourites were there to entertain at motorsport’s ultimate garden party; the Red Arrows roared overhead on Friday and Sunday, an array of elegantly eclectic concours cars graced the Cartier Style et Luxe lawn while the Central Feature received a multimedia makeover, displaying a virtual Lotus Emira to both viewers at the event and those enjoying the occasion at home.
This year the Festival of Speed celebrated “The Maestros – Motorsport’s Great All-Rounders” and key amongst them was ‘The Captain’ Roger Penske, returning to Goodwood for the first time since he raced at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in a Ferrari 250 GTO in 1969. As well as the great man himself, who was ever-quicker up the Hill in the Penske Porsche RS Spyder, was a collection of cars illustrating Team Penske’s incredible multidisciplinary haul of titles over the years including NASCAR, IndyCar, the Indy 500, Australian Supercars and of course Le Mans. Celebrated alongside Penske was Mario Andretti, reunited with some of his championship-winning machines while Jacky Ickx, sadly unable to attend, was well represented by a class of sports, GT and saloon car winners.
After an 18-month hiatus with virtually no motor shows taking place, a host of new cars made their debuts in the First Glance and Michelin Supercar categories. Starting with the former we saw the INEOS Grenadier, Ford Mustang Mach E GT, Hyundai Ioniq5 and thunderous Land Rover Defender V8 take to the Hill. Alongside them a number of cars made world premieres; the Toyota GR 86, Genesis G70 Shooting Brake, BMW 2 Series Coupé and, of course, the Lotus Emira which received a spectacular daily showcase in front of Goodwood House alongside the Evija hypercar.
Likewise, the Michelin Supercar Run was a momentous collection of new metal being graced by the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition, Lamborghini Huracan STO, earsplitting Lamborghini SCV12, Maserati MC20, McLaren Artura, Rimac Nevera, Porsche GT3 Touring, SCG 004S and ultimate restomod reimagining the Kimera 037.
The Hill was even graced with some competition car debuts including the hydrogen-powered H24 Racing LMPH2G, hybrid Toyota Corolla BTCC and Ford Puma WRC and the Le Mans challenger SCG 007 LMH.
The stars were not just limited to the cars however, with current McLaren F1 Team drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris enjoying some classic Formula 1 machines on the Hill, Olympian Chris Hoy taking on Gravity’s jet pack challenge and classic car aficionado Chris Evans broadcasting his Virgin Radio Breakfast Show live from the Festival on the Friday morning.
There aren’t many non-motoring celebrities who can stop the Goodwood crowd in its tracks, but Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise did just that on a surprise drop-in visit on Sunday morning. Cruise was treated to a spectacular display of precision driving and drifting in the Assembly Area by the Terry Grant Stunt Show team.
Future Lab presented by BP, Goodwood’s glimpse into the future of mobility, continues to go from strength to strength since its debut in 2017. This year the “festival within a festival” encompassed a mission to Mars, deep oceans exploration, flying and transforming cars and even robot agriculture.
‘Electric Avenue – The Road To 2030’ presented by Sky Zero, the home of electric mobility at the Festival of Speed, proved to be one of the most popular exhibits over the weekend. With a huge array of current EVs from the diminutive Citroën AMI to the elegant Pininfarina Battista hypercar, visitors were able to explore the electric transition coming in 2030. The Festival’s newest attraction was given the official seal of approval by Rachel Maclean MP, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport who toured it on Friday morning.
Also new this year was the Driftkhana competition. First run at Speed Week presented by Mastercard at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in October 2020, the event was adapted for the tighter confines of the hillclimb. After a smokey, sideways weekend James Deane emerged victorious in this crowd-pleasing competition.
In addition, taking home some silverware at the end of the four days was the 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale owned by famed designer Marc Newson, judged to be the finest and best-presented car on the Cartier Style et Luxe Lawn.
The Forest Rally Stage was once again host to a line-up of machines representing the long history of the World Rally Championship. This year saw the inaugural Hannu Mikkola Trophy, created in honour of the driver who originally designed the stage for Goodwood and who sadly passed away in February, presented to James Sunderland MP from the Armed Forces Rally Team driving a Land Rover Wolf XD – judged to be the driver who best emulated the Flying Finn’s fearless style. The passing of motorsport commentary legend Murray Walker was also marked at the Festival of Speed with a moving tribute from Damon Hill on Saturday afternoon.
The competition highlight of the Festival of Speed is of course the Shootout which this year saw cars from vintage Mercedes to all eras of Formula 1, Touring and Le Mans cars set a time up the 1.16-mile hill climb passing in front of Goodwood House. Leading going into the final day was Travis Pastrana in his incredible, no-holds-barred Subaru WRX STI with a time of 48.10.
The final was brought to a halt after a huge shunt by the Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR of Jack Tetley just metres from the finish line and by the time the track cleared, rain was threatening to hamper the runs of the fastest qualifiers from the previous day. Despite a strong challenge from final runner Pastrana with a time of 46.20, it was a millimetre-perfect drive by Rob Bell in the factory-backed McLaren 720S GT3X that tamed the Hill and took top honours in 45.01 seconds.