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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003
The 2003 Goodwood Festival of Speed was hailed as the international motoring event of the year. Syd Wall was there along with 158,000 other enthusiasts.
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Friday - Syd Wall
The Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrated its 10th anniversary over the 2nd weekend of July, attracting 158,000 people during its three days. Friday is designated 'Enthusiasts Day' and by implication, Saturday and Sunday are for the prawn sandwich brigade, so what better day for The Car Enthusiast to report on.

For those of you who don't know (where have you been for the past 10 years?) a multitude of the world's great cars and drivers take on the mile long tarmac hillclimb course which winds its way through the grounds of the wonderful Goodwood House. The variety and quality of the cars and bikes on show is truly stunning. From 2003 F1 cars, driven by some of the present day Grand Prix stars, to Le Mans cars, the latest of which are fresh from the race a few weeks before, joined by cars from all eras. There are historic and modern day rally cars - Ford and Subaru always have their latest racers and there's a strong turn out of Group B monsters. There are GT racers, touring cars, giant NASCAR racers, Indy cars, hill climb cars - I could go on. There is also a road-going supercar group and all sorts of incredible oddities and sheer madness, from the turn of the century to futuristic concept cars.

What's odd, I hear you ask? How about the 1922 Leyat Helica, a 1200 cc overgrown pram, which gets its forward motion from a 5-foot high propeller. Madness? Top of the list must be the 8.0-litre V10 Viper engined Dodge Tomahawk motorbike first seen at the 2003 Detroit Motor Show. Futuristic? I'd go for the 1000 bhp 13.2-litre V16 Cadillac, which can still motorway, cruise at 20mpg with 12 cylinders shut down.

Not only have you got the cars, but also the world's great drivers and you'll see them all much closer than at any other event.

On top of the eye feast, your ears are not forgotten. I'm not an avid F1 fan but the 18,000 rpm noise from today's F1 V10 engines is unforgettable. And you must visit the works Honda paddock to hear the unique sounds of the 1960s GP bikes and the 1967 F1 RA300 while they are being warmed up. For me though, the brutal V8 growls from the fantastic '65 Corvette Grand Sport and the bizarre Cadillac le Monstre Le Mans car take some beating.

So, if you haven't been to Goodwood yet, here are some tips about what to expect on Enthusiasts Day. The gates open at 07:00 and if you're a real enthusiast you'll be there waiting. The one-day ticket purchased in advance costs 13. The gates close at 18:00 and you'll probably not be ready to leave much before then. In between, you need a programme (8) to tell you which groups of cars run and when. You have until 10:00 to survey the paddocks before cars are on the hill, with the last runs scheduled for 16:00 though they carried on until nearly 17:00 this year. I imagine the schedule is more concrete on Saturday and Sunday when the competitive runs up the hill are made, but on Friday it's considerably more fluid. Don't expect to see all the cars turn out on the hill on Friday. In fact, cars are still turning up throughout the day and there will be some you won't see at all as they only arrive for Saturday. Regrettably, one of these this year was the 1976 Zakspeed Capri turbo, which I've been waiting to see again since Donington hosted a round of the German Group 5 championship in that year.

The same goes for the drivers - some of the present day stars won't be there until Saturday. There'll still be lots of heroes around and about and while you'll know their names and might be rubbing shoulders with them, how many faces will you recognise? I asked Jean Ragnotti for a photo and he said 'Yes, and Jean-Pierre too?' gesturing to the man by his side. 'Of course' I said, but I thought 'Jean-Pierre who?' Obligingly, JR read my mind, 'Jean-Pierre Jaussaud' he said, standing right next to his 1978 Le Mans winning Alpine-Renault A442B. Embarrassing.

Be prepared to do lots of walking. The first area you'll encounter is the main paddock where the F1 teams, motorbikes and half of the car entry are housed. Further on and to the right is Goodwood House with the centrepiece display. Each year an aspect of motorsport history is celebrated by way of a huge construction, this year featuring replicas of the Ford GT40s which finished 1-2-3 in the 1966 Le Mans. Replicas I hear you say? Yes, but the three originals were laid out on the grass below, along with 30 other historic Ford racers from 100 years of Ford history.

Further on to the other side of the house is the Cartier Style et Luxe collection of gleaming classic cars, with the supercar paddock alongside. Across the road from here is the final paddock with the Group B rally cars. By now, you're near the start of the hillclimb, always worth a look. Cross the road here and you'll be in the commercial area with well over 100 stands selling all sorts of memorabilia, most of the food and drink stands (though there are more over by the main F1 paddock), manufacturer stands featuring classic road and competition cars from their ranges and finally, many specialist tuners and after sales products.

Walk around all of these areas and you'll find most of the day has gone without having actually watched any of the cars on the hill. Trackside viewing is pretty good even without buying a grandstand ticket, though with the extra crowds at the weekend, a seat in the stands might be preferable. Photographic opportunities are everywhere but you'll need a camera with a 28 to 135 mm range to make the most of the paddock areas and trackside. While your car and driver shots in the paddock should be great, without a press pass your trackside opportunities will only be side on views of the cars, though you can get some nice panning shots with the house in the background.

Aside from all the above, there are the Red Arrows and other air displays and the Dunhill Soap Box challenge - full carbon fibre streamlined racers reaching nearly 70mph with only gravity propelling them down the hill.

At Goodwood, you'll see and touch cars which you've dreamed about (such as the beautiful and legendary Mercedes W196 Streamliner GP car) and cars you may have never even heard of (such as the 1917 Miller 'Golden Submarine' Indy car). The Goodwood Festival of Speed is truly one of the greatest motorsport events in the world and if you're a true enthusiast, you'll be there in 2004, with or without the prawn sandwiches.

Saturday - Shane O' Donoghue
Where to look?! Even before I walked onto the expansive grounds of Goodwood House, I had already seen a week's worth of interesting cars on the road queueing to get in. Superb.

The crowds were larger than Syd experienced on Friday unfortunately, though of course the organisers will be very happy about that. They do deserve it though for bringing such a unique event to fruition. Once inside, I must admit to being overwhelmed at how much there was to see. I'll attempt to be brief, but I urge you to look at the images in Syd's image gallery as they convey the mix of machinery on display.

As Syd mentioned, the Cartier Style et Luxe is a sight to behold. Many of the cars are true classic dream cars, though one of my favourites was the rather more modest Fiat Multipla from the '60s, complete with curving wicker seats.

I loved the Ford display, and the GT40 replicas looked quite dramatic with the headlights and wipers on. While staring up at this I was nearly sucked into the inlet of one of the actual racers portrayed as it made its way out onto the hill.

Let's face it, as nice as cars are to look at standing still, movement is their purpose in life, and in no arena is that more true than motorsport. Hence I spent a lot of my day trying to peer through the crowds onto the hill. Unlike Friday, it is not so easy to see the track. I thoroughly recommend a grandstand seat. Highlights for me from the hill include the screaming F1 cars (old and new), watching the crazy Rod Millen driving his 900 bhp Toyota Tacuma pick-up and the highly entertaining Hemi under glass wheelie car!

Thanks to the scorching weather I actually spent most of my day looking for shade. This lead to an unexpected bonus - I found the access road to the track where the next bunch of cars waited. What a great place to be! From the sublime Ferrari Enzo driven by JK himself to the hilarious Mutley and crew from Wacky Racers, it was all thoroughly good fun.

As a regular motorsport and motor show visitor, I must admit that no other motoring event I have been too has offered so much entertainment as the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003 did. See you there next year no doubt!

Words & pictures by Syd Wall. Extra words by Shane O' Donoghue - 25 Jul 2003

    - images

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003. Image by Syd Wall (

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