Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

The anniversary celebrations to see at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

In a year of major birthdays for Goodwood - including 30 years of the Festival of Speed - this week's event is also celebrating numerous other significant anniversaries from a plethora of motorsport disciplines

1991 Jaguar XJR-14

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual highlight of the UK motorsport season. There is always plenty to see and do at the Sussex extravaganza and this year’s 30th birthday edition is set to be extra special.

Alongside the event’s own anniversary, numerous other major milestones are being celebrated in 2023 from across the various branches of the sport: from sportscars to US stock cars and rally machines to Formula 1, there are commemorations to suit every enthusiast.

Here is a rundown of some of the stars and cars to expect at this year’s event, which runs from Thursday through to Sunday.

Festival turns 30 as Porsche hits 75

Porsche's 75th anniversary is being celebrated

Porsche's 75th anniversary is being celebrated

Photo by: Jeff Bloxham / Motorsport Images

From metaphorical acorns sown by the Earl of March (now the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) in the summer of 1993, the Festival of Speed has grown exponentially. From a genteel gathering of enthusiasts smaller than today’s Goodwood Breakfast Clubs to a microcosm of the history of motoring and the sport it spawned, it’s now so all-encompassing that even if you have four-day tickets you will probably miss something!

Thirty years on, FoS has evolved with the industry from a garden party for petrolheads to a veritable Mecca for everybody who gets their kicks from performance driving, however it is delivered. Did anybody in the event’s infancy foresee hillclimb victors being powered by electricity, or Max Chilton blitzing Nick Heidfeld’s 41.60s record, set in an F1 McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 in 1999, with a staggering 39.08s charge in a road-legal McMurtry Speirling? The startling bonsai hypercar is back this year, incidentally, albeit being demoed.

PLUS: How a little electric storm thundered to Goodwood's hillclimb record

This year’s spectacle, which brings back some of the many old favourites from Festivals past (including three-time F1 world champion Jackie Stewart reunited with Tyrrell 006, 50 years after their 1973 success) celebrates a plethora of anniversaries in depth. The Le Mans centenary, 75 years of motorsport at Goodwood presaging September’s 25th Revival Meeting (SpeedWeek replaced it in COVID-torn 2020), Porsche, Lotus and NASCAR, McLaren’s 60th and the World Rally Championship’s half-century ensure rich pickings.

For the fourth time in Festival history – following its initial 356 model’s 50th birthday in 1998, 50 years of the 911 in 2013, and 70th anniversary as a manufacturer in 2018 – Porsche takes centre stage with another magnificent edifice anchored outside Goodwood House, towering above its Palladian frontage. Dozens of iconic Porsches will underline the marque’s influence on track too, and on static display.

McLaren commemorates diamond jubilee

Fittipaldi is due to again be behind the wheel of a McLaren M23

Fittipaldi is due to again be behind the wheel of a McLaren M23

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Fresh from its best Formula 1 performance of 2023 so far, last weekend at Silverstone, McLaren will be celebrating its 60th birthday at Goodwood. And it has really pushed the boat out, selecting 12 representative cars from its impressive heritage collection.

They range from the Austin Seven Ulster in which founder Bruce McLaren started his career to recent GT machinery. In between will be many famous racers, including the mighty M8D sportscar that dominated the no-holds-barred Can-Am Challenge, Indianapolis 500-winning M16 with Johnny Rutherford up, and two Porsche-powered F1 MP4/2s.

Top 10: Ranking the greatest McLaren F1 cars

McLaren world champions Emerson Fittipaldi (M23) and Mika Hakkinen (MP4-14) will be reunited with machines in which they scored some of their greatest successes. Current star Oscar Piastri, team boss Zak Brown, and former racers Gil de Ferran and Martin Brundle will also be part of the fun.

The team completed its motorsport triple crown by winning the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours and JJ Lehto, one of the victorious drivers in the F1 GTR, gets his hands on an MP4-23, the car that secured McLaren’s most recent F1 title, Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 drivers’ crown.

McLarens from elsewhere add to the spectacle, most notably a 1993 MP4/8 owned and driven by Sebastian Vettel and the Audrain Museum’s MP4/4 – Bruno Senna will climb aboard the car taken to 1988 F1 success by his uncle Ayrton.

Australian Kris Matich is up to drive the 1970 McLaren M10B in which his late father Frank – founder of the eponymous chassis marque – starred in period F5000 events. Owned by Graham Wadsworth, it has been beautifully prepared by Matich Sr’s British crew chief Derek Kneller in the west of England.

Le Mans centenary celebrations continue

The Mazda 787B always grabs a crowd's attention

The Mazda 787B always grabs a crowd's attention

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

If you weren’t able to catch the Le Mans 100 celebrations at the 24 Hours or subsequent Classic (or even if you did!), there’s the chance to enjoy the birthday of the world’s greatest race at the Festival of Speed.

Whatever your enduro era preference, you’ll be well-catered for. Bentleys and a Lorraine-Dietrich represent the event’s 1920s beginnings, with Alfa Romeo and Lagonda successes recalled before the very different Cadillac ‘Le Monstre’ and Jaguar D-type move things into the 1950s. Mercedes-Benz Classic is bringing its 1952-winning W194, as well as the C9 that topped the 1989 24 Hours.

Ferrari, Ford and Matra icons move the story through the 1960s and 1970s, and seven-time grand prix winner Rene Arnoux is slated to renew his acquaintance with an A442B representing the epic Alpine-Renault versus Porsche contest of 1978.

Many fans fondly remember the Group C era, and two special Jaguars with Le Mans-winning drivers will go up the hill. The V12 XJR-9LM ended Porsche’s domination in 1988 and will be pedalled by 1990 victor Martin Brundle, while 2009 winner David Brabham drives a 3.5-litre XJR-14, arguably the finest sports-racer not to contest the 24 Hours.

Top 10: The greatest sportscars that never raced at Le Mans

The ever-popular Mazda 787B will be driven by 1991 winner Johnny Herbert, plus F1 pundit Karun Chandhok and current sportscar star Harry Tincknell. Three-time victor Rinaldo Capello gets back aboard the all-conquering Audi R8, and ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen drives an R10 TDI.

Rally stage charts high-flying heroes

Mikkola's sons will drive an Audi Quattro on the rally stage

Mikkola's sons will drive an Audi Quattro on the rally stage

Photo by: Jeff Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The Forest Rally Stage, mapped out in the woods to the infield side of the hillclimb course by 1983 world champion Hannu Mikkola, showcases the fast and fearless genre, run as a manufacturers’ contest from 1973. The Flying Finn’s sons Juha and Vesa will appreciate their father’s legacy in a 1980 Audi Quattro as a monster entry encompasses five sets: 50 years of WRC, the Birth of Stage Rallying, Legends of Group B, the Dawn of Modern Rallying, and Contemporary Rally Cars.

As a layman’s guide, the competing machinery could not be more comprehensive, spanning Hemmo Vriend’s 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint and ‘Jumping Jeff’ Williamson’s 1966 Mini Cooper S to Jari-Matti Latvala’s state-of-the-art Toyota GR Yaris Rally2, Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 Rally1 hybrid and Ott Tanak’s Ford Puma WRC in which M-Sport founder Malcolm Wilson is due to take a turn.

Swedish veteran Stig Blomqvist will pilot Mikkola Sr’s 1987 Safari-winning Audi 200 Quattro on a roster that includes British stars Elfyn Evans and Alister McRae. A host of MG Metro 6R4s take on Peugeot 205 T16s, a Lancia 037 and a Ford RS200 Evo. A spectacle not to be missed, so set aside a couple of hours and marvel at the top drivers’ skills.

Grunty and great, 75 years of NASCAR

NASCAR has become an increasingly popular element of the Festival of Speed

NASCAR has become an increasingly popular element of the Festival of Speed

Photo by: Jeff Bloxham / Motorsport Images

NASCAR has supported the Festival for many years now, indeed the eye-catching liveries and thunderous soundtracks of the muscular stock cars – tubeframe chassis carrying high-revving V8 engines, clad in sheet metal caricatures of current production models – and the approachability of their PR-savvy drivers instantly made this element of the event an indelible spectator favourite.

Fresh from his eye-opening run at Le Mans in an ultra-endurance-spec Chevrolet Camaro, 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button shares one of two Hendrick Motorsports ZL1s with Porsche legend (and LM co-driver) Mike Rockenfeller. Button is an FoS fixture: as a young rising star he donned period costume to drive veteran Renaults on several occasions and enjoyed it so much he has returned whenever possible, to the delight of his home fans.

The earliest leviathan in the pack is Will Spencer’s 1969 Dodge Daytona, but fans can also feast their eyes on a 1976 Ford Torino, a 1987 Pontiac 2+2 from 200-time race winner ‘King’ Richard Petty’s team in North Carolina, Chevrolet Impala SS, Lumina and a trio of Monte Carlos – Richard Childress’s entry for NASCAR scion Jamie France – plus Buick Regal, Dodge Avenger and Ford Mustang RFK hardware. Pick up a pair of earplugs and enjoy!

Cars from throughout NASCAR's 75 years are due to attend

Cars from throughout NASCAR's 75 years are due to attend

Photo by: Adam Warner / Motorsport Images

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Mick Schumacher to drive Michael's Mercedes F1 car at Goodwood
Next article Saturday running cancelled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe