BMW celebrated its centenary year with two- and four-wheeled machines spanning the brand’s stellar motorsport history taking to the Hill. These span everything from the record-breaking, supercharged WR 750 motorcycle to the latest BMW M6.
This year, Goodwood is also honoring two men who enlivened 1970s motorsport with their talent and outsized personalities. Barry Sheene and James Hunt were heroes on and off the track and two special classes were collated to celebrate the lives and stellar careers of motor racing’s playboys. YouTube sensation Ken Block returned to Goodwood with his new Ford Focus RX machine. Four-time World Superbike Champion Carl Fogerty, joined a roll-call of two-wheeled racing legends including Giacomo Agostini, John McGuinness and Troy Corser and Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves.
The Festival of Speed honored several motor sport milestones, including the celebration of Ford’s first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in 1966. That decade saw the Blue Oval attempt to acquire Ferrari, only to be rebuffed following marathon negotiations. Incensed, Henry Ford II promised to vanquish Ferrari in the greatest sports car race of them all, and Detroit’s finest came good 50 years ago with the GT40 MkII.
Rallying’s most extreme era was celebrated at the Forest Rally Stage, the short-lived Group B category was axed in 1986, but not before it left an indelible imprint on the memories of anyone who witnessed these incredible machines in their prime. The Festival offered fans the chance to get close to these steroidal beasts and the stars who tamed them. Goodwood’s celebration of all-things Group B witnesses arguably the greatest selection of models ever assembled in one place. They ranged from Jeff Williamson’s diminutive Citroen Visa Chrono to Martin Fox’s Martini-liveried Lancia Delta S4. British machinery included the likes of John Saunders’ MG Metro 6R4 and James Avis’ sublime Ford RS200.
The wild new Bugatti Chiron wowed the crowds as it blasted up the Hill, while Aston Martin launched the extraordinary 592bhp Vantage GT12 Roadster before a rapturous audience. The event also witnessed the global debut of the bold new Arrinera Hussarya GT which promises to take the fight to the exotica establishment.
Not only that, seven Formula One teams took a break from a hectic season to attend this year’s Festival, with British superstar Jenson Button aboard a McLaren-Honda MP4/6. The Brawn BGP 001 in which he claimed the 2009 World Championship Drivers’ title also took to the Hill with racer turned TV pundit Martin Brundle at the wheel. Other GP legends who returned to Goodwood included legendary all-rounder, John Surtees, and the ever-popular Stirling Moss, while five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell was a busy man. The versatile veteran spent time between the new Bentley Bentayga and a Mirage sports-prototype.
On the final morning it was the return of the drift kings to the Hill, American star Vaughn Gittin Jr. slid his 900bhp Ford Mustang with tire-shredding abandon. Not to be outdone, James Deane steered his 800bhp Toyota-powered Nissan 200SX on its bump-stops, while ‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett was jaw-droppingly brave as only he knows how in his Mazda.
With so much happening over the Festival we don’t know how the Goodwood team does it! Honestly we can’t quite believe everything that goes on over the Festival, all we can say is we are now just left counting down the days to the 2017 Festival of Speed.