This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is less than a week away. The annual summer outing on the Duke of Richmond’s country estate is always a unique feast of automotive sight and sound. It’s the only event showcasing over a century of racing history in competition while taking a glimpse towards the sport’s future.
It might be easy to fool yourself into questioning how competitive Goodwood’s 1.17-mile hill climb could be. The 4.9 percent average gradient might seem blasé, but the climb has an unforgiving streak when considering the stone walls lining portions of the short route. Winning the competition to be fastest to the top is still somewhat of an honor, and it’s not uncommon for entrants to pursue beating the outright record time.
Aside from the friendly competition, Goodwood is a living (or speeding) exhibition. Each Festival of Speed is organized around a central theme. This year’s theme is “The Innovators – Masterminds of Motorsport.” The Duke of Richmond said the theme “allows us to celebrate some of the greatest achievements in history, while also highlighting the event’s evolving focus on future technology.”
A signature feature of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the central display, a statue temporarily erected in front of Goodwood House dedicated to a specific manufacturer. While the festival theme is prominent, anniversaries are always well celebrated at Goodwood. This year’s artistic structure will honor BMW M to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the German automaker’s high-performance division.
The recently unveiled BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh and 1999 Le Mans-winning BMW V12 LMR sports prototypes will form part of the display, along with a couple of other iconic M vehicles. While the LMDh isn’t staled to make a run up the hill, numerous other BMWs will be driven in anger. A 1979 M1 Procar and a 1983 Brabham BT52 F1 car highlight the Bavarian armada.
BMW won’t be the only manufacturer showcasing its new endurance racer. Porsche will also have its new LMDh on display. Glickenhaus will also be taking its SCG 007 Le Mans Hypercar up the hill. Though, 15 Group B cars will form the largest prototype contingent to mark the fortieth anniversary of the category’s introduction, including pairs of Porsche 956s and Sauber-Mercedes C9s.
Alongside the roaring gas-powered beasts, several electric-powered showcasing their abilities. Mahindra will debut its Gen 3 Formula E car on the hill climb. Two Extreme E electric off-road racing SUVs will also attack the narrow paved course. And, a new electric hill climb monster has its sights set on breaking the outright record on the Goodwood hill climb.
The McMurtry Spéirling will likely be the fastest car over the weekend, regardless of the power source. The strange-looking machine weighs less than 2,200 pounds and produces over 4,400 pounds of downforce with the assistance of a fan. The Spéirling can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in a second and a half. Former Formula 1 and IndyCar driver Max Chilton will attempt to pilot the Spéirling to the record. The current record time is 39.9 seconds, set by the Volkswagen I.D. R driven by Romain Dumas in 2019.
This is just a small sample of the exhibition’s complete entry list. The Goodwood Festival of Speed begins on June 23rd and concludes on June 26th.