The theme of the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed is ‘Hawthorn to Hamilton – Britain’s Love Affair with World Motor Sport’. Britain has always played a key role in the global motor racing industry, forging successful relationships with the rest of the motor sport world. From Mike Hawthorn – who used a Ferrari to become Britain’s first Formula 1 World Champion fifty years ago in 1958 – to current F1 star Lewis Hamilton, driving a British engineered car with German power, British drivers and engineers have utilised global resources to achieve success. The 2008 Festival honours these winning combinations.
In recognising Britain’s role in shaping motor sport worldwide, the Festival will acknowledge the influence and achievements of iconic British figures, including Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Colin McRae, Roger Clark, James Hunt, Barry Sheene, Jackie Stewart, Derek Bell, Colin Chapman, Adrian Newey and British-based Gordon Murray. In addition, home-grown stars from the past and modern day heroes will line up alongside their friends and adversaries from around the world at the celebrated 1.16 mile hillclimb, in a tribute to global motor sport.
The Festival will also feature the world’s finest competition cars and motorcycles, many of which have been influenced by British engineering or built in partnership with British expertise. In action will be everything from the pure-bred Vanwall of the 1950s, to the ground-breaking products of manufacturers such as Cosworth, Williams, Lola and Prodrive. There will be a focus on Britain’s collaborative involvement in a wealth of international projects, from Bentley and Audi’s Le Mans wins to Honda’s successes on both two and four wheels, as well as the achievements of great brands like Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz in Formula 1.
The significant anniversary this year of one of Britain’s most important race series – 50 years of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) – Goodwood will recognise the UK’s role in providing a high-profile, competitive environment for some of the world’s great manufacturers and racing stars.
The BTCC has been a mainstay of British National motor sport for half a century, with its enduring appeal due chiefly to a combination of close and competitive racing in cars recognisably similar to those you see every day on the roads. Goodwood will bring together around 20 important cars, from the classic little-and-large rivals of the 1960s – the Mini and Ford Galaxie – to the Rover vs. Capri duels of the late 1970s and the iconic Sierra Cosworth and BMW M3 of the late 1980s, right up to the more recent Supertouring era, featuring title-winning cars from Audi, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Vauxhall and Volvo. Joining what promises to be the most complete collection of BTCC cars ever seen in action together will be a plethora of BTCC Champions.
Inaugural winner Jack Sears will drive the 1963 Ford Galaxie in which he took his second title; Australian Frank Gardner makes a rare appearance in the UK to drive the Alan Mann Broadspeed Ford Escort; champions Frank Biela and John Cleland will be behind the wheel of their title winning cars; Mini legend John Rhodes will smoke the tyres of his Cooper S while Richard Longman is reunited with his double title-winning 1275GT; three-time champion Win Percy will also be at the Festival, as will the most successful BTCC driver of all time – four-time champion Andy Rouse.
The Festival will also celebrate the hugely popular British Superbike Championship, when 20 years ago this established its current formula, catering for motorcycles that closely resemble road-going production machines. Over the years it has produced consistently high-quality competition and has established itself as the ideal proving ground for some of the world’s most talented riders. In attendance will be contemporary factory teams such as Honda, Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. With star riders past and present, including John Reynolds, Chris Walker, Jamie Whitham and Terry Rymer, as well as current title contenders Leon Haslam, Cal Crutchlow, Tom Sykes and Michael Rutter.
The Festival will also commemorate 50 years of Cosworth with a class of significant racing cars from the innovative British company that designed the most successful Grand Prix engine of all time – the DFV that powered 155 GP winners. The range of cars will span from the Lotus 49 right through to the most recent Cosworth-powered F1 car from Jaguar. Fifty years of Lola will also be marked, with a diverse selection of cars from this versatile constructor, including examples from Formula One, Indy, CanAm, F5000, and sports car racing.
Away from pure competition motoring, AC’s centenary will be celebrated with a display of the most popular models in the dunhill Drivers Club walkway, including such iconic models as the Ace and legendary Cobra. Forty years of the trusty Ford Escort will be celebrated with a collection of the most iconic and significant cars from the model’s illustrious history both on the hillclimb and the Forest Rally Stage, and the 60th anniversary of Land Rover will marked in true Goodwood style with a spectacular central display in front of Goodwood House.
Goodwood Festival of Speed founder, Lord March says: ‘It will be just fantastic to have so many great cars and drivers here at Goodwood to celebrate our theme for 2008. I look forward with much anticipation to seeing some of the great British drivers and British-inspired machines in action.’