Stars, cars and a good tan: it’s Goodwood Festival of Speed time

The 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed kicks off on Thursday 25 June and runs until Sunday 28.

It promises to be packed with amazing cars and stars – including F1 legend Kimi Raikkonen and MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, and hopefully visitors will get the traditional Goodwood suntan. To help you ease into the Goodwood mood, we’ve collected some of our favourite moments and reasons to pop along.

A chance to meet the stars

The Festival of Speed allows fans to get close to the big stars from all forms of motorsport as well as the machinery they pilot. Big names from Formula 1, rallying, MotoGP and countless other motorsports stop to sign autographs and even pose for a quick selfie – you’ll be surprised who you bump into while wandering around the paddocks.

Thanks to the setting within the beautiful grounds of Goodwood House on a (hopefully!) warm summer’s day, the relaxed atmosphere means that the fans can see their idols away from the usual high pressure environment of race day.

The event is for the fans, and everybody loves it. Here’s a clip of four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and former team mate Mark Webber showboating aboard their 2013 Red Bull F1 cars.

Crashes galore

The Festival of Speed Hillclimb circuit is where modern and classic cars and bikes get a good thrashing for the public’s benefit. The course may only be 1.16 miles long, but it is an incredibly challenging piece of tarmac to master. Bumpy, narrow and – in places – very quick, many of the world’s best have fallen victim to the unforgiving ribbon of tarmac running through Lord March’s grounds.

Most notable of those crashes in 2014 was six-time Olympic gold-medal winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy. Embarking on a racing career with Nissan after his retirement from two wheels, he lost control of a £125,000 Nissan GTR Nismo entering the tricky Molecomb corner. As you can see from the video, he walked away unscathed, but the car wasn’t so fortunate…

The world’s fastest egos!

Despite that excursion for the GTR, it proved to be a crushingly effective tool to fire up the hillclimb course when it was kept on the asphalt. GP3 driver and Le Mans 24 Hour LMP2 podium finisher Jann Mardenborough drove a GTR Nismo ‘Time Attack’ – the very same car that set a storming 7:08 lap around the Nurburgring Nordschleife – to a time of 49.27 seconds – a record for a road car.

Hopefully you’ll see several overly competitive racing drivers get goaded into attempting to break that record in 2015!

Can anyone beat Nick Heidfeld?

Although 49.27 is a seriously impressive hillclimb time, it still falls short of the outright record of 41.6 seconds, set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld. He set this stunning time at the wheel of the McLaren Mercedes MP4-13 F1 car, which Mika Häkkinen raced to his first Formula 1 World Championship the previous year.

Formula 1 cars are no longer allowed to go for the record anymore (its easy to see why – Heidfeld constantly appears to be moments away from a bouncing clean off the track, which wouldn’t look good in the eyes of health and safety) so it will be difficult to top.

Nine-times World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb came close in 2014 aboard his Pikes Peak record-breaking Peugeot 208 T16, but the 15-year old record remains.

Automotive art

Always worth a good ogle while at the Festival of Speed is the extraordinary sculpture that is constructed in front of the house. A different theme dictates the style of the sculpture each year; in 2014 it was dedicated to Mercedes-Benz, who were celebrating their 100th year since they scored a 1-2-3 finish at the 1914 French Grand Prix. The giant 2015 sculpture will celebrate Mazda’s 95th birthday – we really hope it includes the swanky new MX5.

The Goodwood Revival

The Goodwood Revival takes place from 11 to 13 September 2015 and focuses on times gone by. Each year’s event attracts a huge turnout of motorsport machinery from the 1940s to ‘60s, and to get everyone in the mood, crowd, press and racers alike dress in period costume. There’s always a host of top stars who turn up to race at the event, slipping and sliding their way around the 2.4-mile track in stunning classic cars.

For a demonstration in how little regard the racers give to the value of their cars, look no further than 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack. Piloting a priceless 1965 Ford GT40 owned by former F1 engineering genius Adrian Newey, he wrestles the classic Le Mans racer around a damp Goodwood circuit, with spectacular results…

Close racing

There’s plenty of exciting racing on show at the Goodwood Revival too. This Mini event features some edge-of-the-seat racing, with modern-day race heroes having a go racing cars from decades past – again, with little regard for the wellbeing of their cars!

It’s not all about the cars…

In an attempt to really capture the atmosphere of days gone by, the Revival also lays on a historical airshow to really stir the senses. Take a look at the clip below to see what we mean, starring a range of World War II fighters including Spitfires, Hurricanes, a Messerschmitt and a Mustang wowing the crowds. Turn your speakers up…

See you there!

The 2015 Festival of Speed runs from June 25 to 28, with the Moving Motor Show – a chance for the public to test drive the latest road cars – running on the first day.

The Revival takes place from September 11 to 13. Tickets for both events are on sale now.

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