It doesn’t matter what the car is or how fast it goes – if the driver is giving it everything, it’s exciting to watch.
That’s especially true at the Festival of Speed, which has now been a fixture of the global motorsport calendar for 25 years. In that time there have been more than a few spectacular runs – here are eight of the best.
Still a McLaren junior driver at the time and on his way to becoming an F3000 champion, Quick Nick gave it everything on the way up the hill as the car seemingly did it’s best to throw him off the road. It’s not hard to see why they stopped timing F1 cars shortly after this, which is why his time of 41.6 seconds is still a record – for now…
You’d expect an F1 car to be rapid up the hill, but a stock car…? In fact, the apparent unsuitability of such a car is probably what makes it so exciting to watch as it tries to use speed and brute force to overcome any cornering deficiencies.
The great thing about Goodwood is not just the opportunity to see modern racing cars get thrashed, but older ones too. Little more than a massive 25-litre V8 on wheels, this Darracq was built in 1905 and is a former holder of the land speed record. Despite the history, that doesn’t stop owner and driver Mark Walker giving it full beans up the hill.
If it’s inappropriate vehicles going sideways you want, then they don’t come much more inappropriate than an enormous Dakar-spec Kamaz truck tearing up the wet grass. Those hay bales suddenly look rather small…
You wouldn’t necessarily expect a big ol’ Group C/GTP-spec endurance racer that’s designed to run for 24 hours to be much use at a point-and-squirt hillclimb…but you’d be wrong.
Most years Justin Law rocks up with some sort of Jaguar, and most years he’s in contention for the fastest time of the event. Damn, that V12 sounds amazing!
The thing with many of the fastest runs is that they often look undramatic because smoothness is the reason for the speed. That’s definitely not the case here.
What you’re looking at is Rod Millen and his Pikes Peak-winning Toyota Tacoma. Everything about it is spectacular, from the liberal use of the grass to the black smoke being churned out as Millen squirms his way up the hill.
As racing cars go, they don’t come much more legendary or more successful than the Bugatti Type 35. It apparently won over 1000 races in the 1920s and ‘30s, including event as prestigious as the Monaco Grand Prix and the Targa Florio. They still get driven hard today in historic events – hardly surprising, given how stupidly fun they look to drive!
How about a bit of style? In recent years all sorts of drifters and stunt drivers have put the emphasis on style ahead of speed at Goodwood, but you can’t beat a rally ace flinging around an old car like it’s an extension of their own body.
That’s what Jean Ragnotti does with the fantastically 80s Group B weapon, the Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, as he 360s his way up the hill.