“Do you think it’ll work?”
These were Charles March’s famous words back in 1993 as he stood outside his home, Goodwood House, before his first ever organised racing festival.
Luckily for the Earl of March, it did work. Little did Charles know, that in reviving the Goodwood Festival of Speed, he would be creating one of the most iconic and legendary events in modern-day motorsport.
Charles took inspiration from his heritage. The first ever race at Goodwood took place in 1936 thanks to Charles’s grandfather, Freddie March, who was both a talented race driver and car engineer. The event in 1936, however, was nowhere near the extravaganza that we see today. It was simply Freddie and a group of friends racing around his rather large "garden", but this fun between friends was enough set the ball rolling for the greatness to come. Twelve years later Freddie March turned the nearby recently decommissioned World War 2 airfield of Westhampnett into a motor racing circuit to host the first post-war motor race event at a permanent venue in 1948.
Motor racing quite evidentially ran through the March family’s blood.
1966 was an iconic year for British sport; however, it was also the last year that the March’s Westhampnett course hosted a race. Fast-forward 37 years, and Charles March was eager to hold another event at Goodwood and, as shown by the turnout, the public were also eager to attend. The newly revived first two-day Festival drew a crowd of 30,000.
The event has gone on to be a highlight in a car lover’s year. The annual hill has become an iconic spectacle of historic, current and futuristic motor racing vehicles and is now attended by around 100,000 at each of the three days.
“We’re planning about 19 months ahead these days and I do find it odd starting to plan an event for the following year before this year’s has taken place.” Charles March describes the amount of preparation needed for the iconic event.
This year, the highlights include plenty of Ferraris to celebrate the brand’s legendary 70 years. About 25 of Ferrari’s racing cars will be in action on the 1.16-mile hill climb, covering each of the key post-war Grand Prix eras, powered by four-, six-, eight- and 12-cylinder engines. We’ll be keeping an eye out for Kaspersky Motorsport driver, James Calado, who will be taking on the hill climb in the stunning Ferrari FXX K.
Ever since 1997, a car manufacturer has been honoured with a central display on the front lawn of Goodwood House. Interestingly, Ferrari actually was honoured with the first-ever central display at Goodwood to then celebrate their 50th anniversary with the Ferrari F310B taking feature.
To spectators, the hill climb could arguably look pretty easy. Take the start for example. With one vehicle off the line at a time, the drivers take a nice straight up past trees to the first corner, before taking a right corner to a simple and wide straight past the house. Looks like it’s going to be an easy ride, right?
The Goodwood track offers up a host of different twists and complexities from a surprise corner that is actually two corners, a series of sweeps rather than any straights and a flowing left that is followed by the prolific flint wall Super cars travel head on towards this wall at over 100mph before a flick turn to the right and then left to go past it.Catch the live streaming of the event this weekend on Goodwood’s YouTube channel, by clicking here