One of the most anticipated events in West Sussex is the Goodwood festival of speed! This annual motorsports event features historic cars participating in a high-speed hillclimbing race. A hillclimbing race is when cars complete an uphill course against the clock. The event is very popular and sells-out most years, with close to 150,000 people regularly in attendance over the three days. It is held in late June or early July, to avoid conflicting with the Formula One season.
The race is held on the grounds of Goodwood House, a grand country house built early in the 17th-Century. The grounds of this estate house a wide variety of facilities including a motor sports track, golf course, health club, hotel, aerodrome, art gallery and airport. Visitors often combine a visit to the Goodwood festival of speed with some golf, tennis, flying, hiking or just some simple relaxation! Tours of the house are available and feature beautiful artwork and decor.
The Goodwood festival of speed has a number of events with the main attraction being sports cars and motorcycles participating in hillclimbs. Cars range from classics like the 1970s Porsche 917, through to modern supercars like the Noble M600 and hypercars like the Koenigsegg Agera One. Many of the cars travel across the globe to attend the event and motorsports fans flock to the festival in their thousands to see them perform.
The hillclimb is unique because the focus of the race is that fans are able to get close to these amazing vehicles. In most parts of the track, only hay bales separate viewers from the cars, giving fans an amazing opportunity to see the vehicles in action.
In 2006, a complete forest rally was introduced, featuring classic and modern rally cars racing on a timed course. The track was designed by Hannu Mokkola and has been a major drawcard for motorsports fans.
The Cartier Style et Luxe car show is another enjoyable part of the festival. Contestants must be invited to participate in the car show and are judged by a panel. The most stylish, luxurious, unique and innovative cars usually win the awards at this car show. The panel judging the cars usually consists of car designers and celebrities.
The festival also features a “moving car show”, where potential buyers of vehicles can test drive them on a track. The moving motor show is for weekend ticket holders who are interested in buying a specific car.
Other events happening on the weekend on the grounds include watching real-life replicas of the “Wacky Races” drive around the track and an airshow. The airshow includes stunt pilots, the RAF Tornado and the Red Arrows.
There is also a different central display each year, designed by renowned artist Gerry Judah. It is erected on the lawn in front of Goodwood House and features a different car manufacturer each year.
Festival-goers can enjoy some very high-quality restaurants at the event, with both The Richmond Arms and The Goodwood Bar & Grill on the grounds of the estate. There is also a great deal of local produce to try including wine, fruit, cheese and ale.
The Goodwood festival of speed is a must-see event and it is a great time of year to enjoy the beautiful Sussex countrywide!