Goodwood Festival of Speed

It’s the ultimate British celebration of the automobile. Goodwood Festival of Speed took place over the first weekend in July, in the grounds of the wonderful Goodwood House in East Sussex.

A garden party for those with even the slightest interest in motoring, the Festival of Speed gathered together many of the world’s most historic racing cars with the drivers who made them famous.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were joined by John Surtees and Stirling Moss – and over 50 other greats of the world of motor sport. An astonishing 181,000 enthusiastic spectators joined in the fun.

It’s seems unfair to pick out highlights from this truly delicious event, but here are four.  2011 is the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type, and the spectacular E-Type sculpture in front of the Goodwood House was a homage to what many call the most beautiful car of all time.

This year is the 100th anniversary of that most famous American motor race, the Indianapolis 500. Lord March managed to get 40 of the winners shipped over for the Festival of Speed, and were many piloted up the hillclimb course by the original drivers.

The Moving Motor Show was introduced for the first time in 2010. It’s the new way to get behind the wheel of the latest new cars – and yes, visitors did get to drive them up the same hill as the experts over the weekend.

Others simply ogled the supercars in the Microsoft Windows 7 paddock. If you missed the Festival of Speed this year, there’s always the Goodwood Revival in September as well as The Silverstone Classic in late July and the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power a week earlier.