16 Jul 2019
While we do get to drool over the latest and greatest road and track cars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, ultimately it’s motorsport that is at the heart of the four-day event.
Be it Formula 1 or rallying, drifting or NASCAR, virtually every aspect of motorsport is represented in one form or another at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. What’s more, some cars that rarely see the light of day don’t just appear at the festival, they run, giving the crowds a unique opportunity to go back in time to see legendary machinery of old, or marvel at some vehicles that they otherwise may not get a chance to see.
Here are five of the best from this year’s Festival of Speed:
The greatest Formula 1 car of all time? Perhaps. The legendary MP4/4 of 1988 won a staggering 15 out of 16 races that season as Ayrton Senna claimed his first of three world titles.
While the car’s win haul in a season has been beaten since (by Mercedes in 2014, ’15, and ’16) as the calendar has expanded, no other team has gone through a season winning all but one race. The car had been on target to win the Italian Grand Prix until Senna crashed while lapping Jean-Louis Schlesser’s Williams, while the Honda engine in the sister car of Alain Prost developed a misfire. That ended McLaren’s winning run and handed Ferrari an emotional win on home soil in the first Grand Prix since Enzo Ferrari’s death.
Two of the six MP4/4s built were on show at Goodwood, with chassis #5, currently owned by Honda, running up the hill. Chassis #5 won in Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, and Belgium in the hands of Senna.
At Goodwood it was driven by Honda IndyCar driver Takuma Sato, who was drafted in at the last minute to replace Honda BTCC driver Dan Cammish who was scheduled to drive the car, but proved to be too tall to fit in it.
We’ve already looked at NASCAR’s increasing presence at Goodwood, and this year Team Penske joined festival regulars Richard Childress Racing and Richard Petty at the event.
The reigning champion team brought something rather special over to Britain for the Festival of Speed – the exact car that Joey Logano drove in the 2018 season finale at Homestead, the car in which he claimed his first, and Penske’s second Cup series title.
Logano won the race, beating fellow championship contenders Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch to claim something of a surprise championship win. The triumph was also the final event for the Fusion (known as the Mondeo in Europe) nameplate in NASCAR, with it being replaced by the Mustang in 2019.
Ford factory GT driver Billy Johnson drove the car up the hill at Goodwood, performing some of the biggest burnouts ever seen in the grounds of Goodwood house.
The Volkswagen I.D. R is an all-electric car that has been built with the specific aim of breaking records.
It’s already broken the overall benchmark at Pikes Peak, and beat the electric record at the Nurburgring, and after a maiden appearance in its Pikes Peak trim last year, the car returned to Goodwood in 2019 with the aim of beating Nick Heidfeld’s 1999 record, which he set in the 1998 McLaren MP4/13 F1 car.
While wet track conditions prevented the I.D. R and driver Romain Dumas from breaking Heidfelds record in the Sunday shootout, it did top the competition, beating Petter and Oliver Solberg who competed in rallycross cars. In the run up to the main event, Dumas bettered the record no fewer than three times to finally topple Heidfeld and McLaren from their two-decade long pedestal.
The Brawn GP story is a modern fairytale. With Honda pulling out of F1 at the end of 2008, its Brackley-based team faced an uncertain future, until Ross Brawn led a management buyout, purchasing the team for £1.
With the team’s short-term future secured, the team received offers from Ferrari and Mercedes for engine supplies. The team opted for the latter as it fit better in the BGP 001 chassis which of course was originally designed to fit a Honda V8.
The car, which had been developed during Brawn’s time as Honda, proved quick out of the box, with Jenson Button winning six of the first seven races, and Rubens Barrichello adding another two victories later in the season.
Only three chassis were built, with Button running a single chassis all season. That car, BGP 001-02 is now owned by Ross Brawn, and ran at this year’s Festival of Speed in the hands of Barrichello (pictured) and former Brawn test driver Anthony Davidson. Button was reunited with the car a week later at the British Grand Prix.
An iconic car, with an iconic colour scheme, and iconic name on the window. Subaru’s factory motorsport effort in the US brought back the iconic blue, yellow, and gold livery for the 2019 American Rally Association series and Americas Rallycross seasons. The team also signed Oliver Solberg, the teenage son of Petter Solberg, Subaru’s last World Rally champion.
The Japanese manufacturer brought Solberg’s Olympus Rally-winning WRX STI to Goodwood this year, too. The car, built by Vermont Sports Car, is unlike any rally car that runs in Europe, falling somewhere between a top-level WRC car and an R5 car in terms of performance, making its appearance in the UK both unusual and special.
Solberg ran the car on the Goodwood rally stage, and even took me for a spin on the 1.7-mile forest stage, but more on that at a later date…