The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the highlight of any racing fan’s calendar – whether you are a member of the media, a general car-mad fanatic or a racing driver yourself. The dynamic display of motorsport memorabilia in addition to the beastly modern-day machinery that is paraded up the famous hillclimb, makes it an event like no other in the world.
The iconic Chichester Estate is again home to the Festival of Speed this weekend, and from a look at the guest list of both man and machine, fans are in for a treat. Ferrari are celebrating their seventieth anniversary, superstars from motorsport have been confirmed in their dozens and with the theme this year being “Peaks of Performance – Motorsport’s Game Changers” it looks set to be another great year.
To make things a little easier for those of you lucky enough to attend the festivities this weekend, as well as people following events through social media, here is a rundown of what you need to know about the Festival of Speed this weekend – handily split up into racing categories.
The FIA Formula 1 World Championship is almost always the main focus at a Festival of Speed (FOS) weekend. The ‘paddock’ that is set up allows all contesting teams in the championship the chance to interact with fans, whether that be displaying their beautiful cars past and present or even having their drivers hang around for meet and greets and photo opportunities.
This year current World Champion Nico Rosberg returns to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a weekend that the German driver enjoys attending. Since his shock retirement at the end of last year, just days after clinching the drivers’ championship title, Rosberg will be found at Goodwood jumping back into a Mercedes: his 2014 W05 Hybrid to be exact. Rosberg will attack the hillclimb on the Sunday.
Valtteri Bottas will also be in attendance driving a Mercedes up the hill. The Finn, who secured a triumphant second place finish in Baku over the weekend, was the choice to fill Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes are his retirement and has shown impressive performance this year – taking his first Formula 1 win just a few rounds ago in Russia.
As well as Bottas, Jolyon Palmer is another current F1 driver that will be at the FOS this weekend. Palmer, who was born in Horsham, has had an unsuccessful start to his 2017 season with Renault but will hopefully find some pleasure in driving the Renault Sport E20 up the famous hillclimb.
Other incredible appearances from World Champions in the F1 community this weekend include two-time F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill, Alan Jones who claimed the 1980 Formula 1 World Championship and Sir Jackie Stewart who has three world championship titles to his name. Overall there are eight years’ worth of world champions at Goodwood this year, a wonderful statistic I think you’ll agree.
Ex-Formula 1 driver, 1990 Le Mans winner and now SkyF1 television pundit Martin Brundle will be in action on the hill, as well as talented racer Karun Chandock who has had success in championships like Formula 1, Formula E and Endurance Racing having taken part in Le Mans earlier this month. Jochen Mass will be driving a range of classic Mercedes and Robert Kubica will be making a special appearance racing a Renault Sport E20, just weeks after a promising test with the Renault F1 team. There is hope amongst fans and the media that Kubica can make a return to the sport a decade after he raced in the championship, however with physical damage to his arm during a rally crash several years ago it seems unlikely he will return to a full-time race seat.
Ross Brawn and Carmen Jorda will make appearances as official Cartier Judges and as well as driving a classic Lotus 49, Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey will also be celebrating Williams F1 Team and Bernie Ecclestone’s success in the sport whilst at the FOS this weekend.
Plenty of World Endurance stars will be at Goodwood over the four days. Fresh from a Le Mans victory, reigning British GT Champion and Le Mans winner Jonny Adam will be driving the Aston Vantage GTE in the GT3 Shootout – one not to miss.
Ferrari WEC boys James Calado and Sam Bird will also be in attendance, helping celebrate Ferrari’s seventieth birthday with the help of a spectacular set of seventy cars that commemorate the prancing horse.
Le Mans legends Tom Kristensen and Alan McNish will be treating fans to a display of Audi R8 galore as they drive up the hill, twelve Le Mans victories between them.
The two Oliver’s of Endurance racing, Oliver Turvey and Oliver Webb, will also be enjoying their time at Goodwood. Turvey, who also competes in the FIA Formula E Championship along with Sam Bird, will be driving the McLaren MP4/6 and the M8F, whereas Webb will be in the BAC Mono in Race Cars for the Road.
British Touring Car Championship
The BTCC lot are out in force at the Festival of Speed 2017, with four British Touring Car Champions present this weekend. Three-time BTCC Champion Matt Neal, two-time Champion Colin Turkington, three-time and current BTCC Champion Gordon Shedden and last but not least 2013 Champion Andrew Jordan will all be in attendance driving various cars up the hill and checking out the action both on and off the track.
Neal and Shedden will be changing from four wheels to two when they both ride the current Honda British Superbike, whereas Goodwood favourite Andrew Jordan will be driving a Group 2 Camaro, a Ford C100, a Ford RS500 and the Eagle Low-Drag GT up the hill. A busy few days for Jordan!
BTCC race winner Rob Collard is driving for BMW during the supercar run as well as former British Touring Car and F1 driver Tiff Needell and two-time BTCC Champion Turkington. ITV Motorsport pundit as well as former BTCC driver, Paul O’Neill, will be racing McLarens up the hill in Batch 6 too.
Despite current Formula E drivers Sam Bird, a three-time winner in the all-electric championship, and Oliver Turvey being at the Festival of Speed this weekend, only Nick Heidfeld of Mahindra Racing has truly embraced the series this weekend. The German driver, who still holds the hillclimb course record time that he set in 1999, aims to set the fastest open-wheel electric time on the hillclimb. Mahindra will also debut the M4Electro in public over the weekend, a chance for fans to get a first glimpse at the season four car from the Indian team who recently took their maiden win at the Berlin ePrix.
Young Talent and Stars of the Future
Pierre Gasly will return to the Festival of Speed this year, driving the RB7 up the hill. The reigning FIA Formula 2 Champion is the reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and looks to be a bright talent in motorsport.
You can read my feature-length interview with Pierre here. My Motorsport Year: Pierre Gasly.
Sergey Sirotkin, reserve driver for Renault F1 team and another star of the future, will be driving a Renault Sport E20 up the hill, joining the likes of Jolyon Palmer over the weekend. McLaren star Nyck de Vries, who currently races in F2, will be driving the McLaren MP4/6 and M8F.
These three stand-out talents make a great addition to the already stellar provisional line-up.
For more information about the Festival of Speed, click here.
Photo credit: Red Bill Content Pool. Editorial use only.