The Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014 might have finished three weekends ago but the memories are still crystal clear in our minds. For those that haven’t experienced the Festival of Speed before, it should definitely be at the top of your to do list. Its amazing to see so many legendary racers and modern performance cars in action on one hill!
The theme for the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014 was ‘Addicted to Winning – The Unbeatable Champions of Motor Sport’. The event celebrated the sorts of Champions that appear to be unbeatable, the Jim Clark’s and Juan Manuel Fangio’s that line the annuls of history, the Mercedes-Benz and Lotus that carried them through and the events that made their dominance possible.
Several milestones were celebrated in spectacular fashion too. Mercedes-Benz were most prominent of all, celebrating 120 years of involvement in motorsport. They sponsored a spectacular centre piece display, two white ribbons spanning the full width of the house. Mercedes fitted a 1934 W25 Formula 1 car and a 2013 Mercedes-Benz W04 Grand Prix car to each ribbon. It took seven months to design and three weeks to build!
Maserati also chose to celebrate their centenary year with a staggering display of historic machinery. The Italian brand had its own dedicated class in the Cartier Concours D’Elegance and on the Hill. Both current Maserati concepts such as the Alferi which debuted at Geneva and historic Maserati racers such as the Maserati 250F were on display.
The event was dominated by the theme though. Unforgetable Champions of Motorsport seemed a fitting theme too when we considered the guest list this year. Among the championship winners, Sebastien Loeb stuck out, as did Kimi Raikkonen, Sir Jackie Stewart, Dario Franchitti and John McGuinness.
The supercar enclosure is undoubtedly what you want to read about though. For the first year, the Supercars were timed up the hill climb. It was a fantastic thing to see, after all the concept of the hill climb has always dictated that the fastest wins. In that respect, Nissan deserve the biggest mention. Their Nissan GT-R Nismo set a staggering time of 49.27 seconds with Jann Mardenborough behind the wheel. Lexus and Noble also deserve an honourable mention. Both pushed their cars to the limits!
Elsewhere, this year was bigger than ever before with a two LaFerrari’s, a Porsche 918 Spyder and a McLaren P1 representing the pinnacle of performance motoring. Unfortunately neither of the new generation hypercars set a flat out time on the hill. The Porsche and McLaren both competed in electric mode with the McLaren coming out on top. Ferrari kept their cars parked in the paddock.
We had two unforgettable experiences during the festival. The first was with Mercedes-Benz and their SLS AMG Black Series, the second was with Le Mans legend Derek Bell in the Bentley Continental GT V8 S. Both cars were stunning on the hill, holding their own against cars like Jay Kay’s Kermit Green LaFerrari and the awesome Ferrari F12 TRS. Ever seen a Rolls-Royce Wraith drift? We have, it was incredible!
The supercar category also saw the release of some incredible new machinery. The Koenigsegg One:1 took to the hill for the first time, Infiniti also ran their Eau Rouge concept for the first time too. Land Rover previewed their new Range Rover Sport SRT and Mercedes-Benz released the face lift CLS-Class.
Gran Turismo had a strong presence. They have developed a version of the Goodwood hill that you can drive at home on your games console. To celebrate the release of their latest game, Aston Martin, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz all displayed concept cars which were unveiled by games designer Kazunori Yamauchi.
The racers are always a top attraction. This years fastest included Sebastien Loeb in his Pikes Peak record breaking Peugeot 208 T16 ‘Pikes Peak’. He fell short of the hill climb record although he did register a staggering 44.60 second run! Michael Bartels was close behind with the Maserati MC12 ‘Goodwood Cent 100’; an MC12 that had been painted in a Goodwood livery. He was followed by Kenny Brack in an ultra-rare McLaren F1 GTR Longtail!
The weekend wasn’t without its dramas though. Several accidents forced some delays. The first involving an Alfa Romeo 4C which crashed into the hay bails. Others included an Aston Martin touring car and a Nissan GT-R Nismo piloted by Olympian Sir Chris Hoy. A Mercedes-Benz SL Rally car also had an off but Mercedes engineers worked through the night to prepare the car to run the following day!
The rally stage was a pretty special place to be this year too. The battle here was between Sebastien Loeb (who else?) in his Citreon WRC car and Dani Sordo in his Hyundai i20 WRC. The eventual winner was Sordo winning the fastest time every one of the three days. His fastest was an aggregate time of 7 minutes 49 seconds over three runs. 2014 was the first year the Rally Stage was timed.
Finally, the Cartier Concours D’Elegance gathered some stunning metal. The overall prize was eventually won by thoroughly deserving 1953 Maserati A6 CGS Berlinetta. The voting panel included Sir Chris Hoy, Sally Gunnell and actor Rowan Atkinson. They gifted prizes to a 1925 Amilcar CGS, a 1997 TVR Cerbera Speed 12 and a 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400S among others.
Overall, the event was fantastic. It had threatened to rain heavily throughout the weekend. We were fortunate enough to avoid all but the slightest shower. The rest of the UK was less lucky. We will almost certainly be back next year, for now enjoy our galleries of the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014!