Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012 – Photo Diary

After the lengthy delays getting in on Saturday, the first thing I did was go to the sculpture outside the House to see if I could catch anyone still there for the planned meetup. This year’s focus was Lotus and the sculpture was another variation of the now-traditional ‘hanging nearly-priceless racing cars at crazy angles’.

Disclaimer – I must’ve used the wrong setting on my camera because the colour seems to have washed out.

This Year’s Sculpture in Honour of Lotus

It just so happened the sculpture was roped off to put some cars around it, so the mass of people which usually gathers at 1pm to enjoy lunch on the lawn was disrupted, as was our gathering. I did find them fairly easily though. Of course just then Stirling Moss appeared and I rushed off straight away to try and get a photo!

It was difficult but I got a couple of shots albeit obscured by heads, but it was good to see him even though at times he had to be supported by his wife as he walked. He got in a car though! John Surtees and Lord March were also nearby. I stood to watch the cars depart, preferring to enjoy them rather than try and take a photo among the throng, then returned to the group for a chat. It was quickly decided to have some lunch at the new RAC stage the other side of the F1 paddock.

The RAC Stage is a great idea. In past years the area above the main paddock was largely empty with just a few team trucks parked up. After last year (or 2010?) creating a second exit to the Drivers’ Club which emerged in the vicinity, this year they moved the media centre up there and put an interview stage alongside it, complete with raised seating creating a little arena or square.

This was far, far better than having to traipse all the way across to the courtyard near the Supercars if you wanted to hear an interview! I really do hope this arrangement is retained for future years. When we arrived the main screen was playing live video and commentary from the hill. After a little while someone appeared and was introduced as BSB rider Tommy Hill.

Tommy Hill and Louise Goodman

Drivers can leave the private area via the side exit, work the autograph line (which was much longer than last year’s), then pop over to the adjacent stage and media centre. It is a much more fan-friendly way of doing it. The old entrance/exit still exists complete with autograph line, so you if you plan to collar a driver you have to think where they’re likely to be!

It was just Tommy Hill’s luck that his namesake Damon appeared through the wall, followed just a few minutes later by Sebastian Vettel. Cue the crowds, cue me and a couple of others rushing over! Of course with so many people around it was difficult to get a clear photo, I do have a clearer one of Damon but I prefer the fan interaction of this one.

Damon Hill
Sebastian Vettel

It’s great being able to get near to the heroes of racing, especially those from F1 who are usually roped off in the paddock with no access allowed to us plebs. Sadly this does also mean they get mobbed at Goodwood! To their great credit both Hill and Vettel spent a long time working this line of autograph and photo hunters.

When these guys disappeared I felt I’d hung around long enough, it was nice to have a de-stress after the traffic problems but now I was keen to explore the paddock for an hour before the F1 cars appeared on track.

While the current F1 stars get roped off garage areas, everwhere else is a little more accessible. Derek Bell and Andre Lotterer were hanging around the paddock – Bell seemed to be there quite a lot!

 

I always love the mix of historic cars and modern classics. This is just a small selection.

A nice feature was the small collection of F1 six-wheelers, from the famous Tyrrell to the less famous Williams and March.

 

We headed trackside – or tried to. The place was absolutely packed out as the RAF Tornado display was taking place, as it was to be immediately followed by the batch on the hill featuring the modern F1 cars (usually cars from a season or two ago – current enough to be representative).

A word here for the Tornado pilots who crashed in Scotland this week. I believe the pilots from the Goodwood display were also based at RAF Lossiemouth. Thoughts remain with them and their families.

With the main viewing area beyond the paddock full of people we went further up, to the clearing on the inside of the exit of Molecombe corner. A good place to see vehicles up close (you’d struggle to get closer), however the entry was obscured so cars and bikes appeared almost from nowhere, and sadly the protective bales blocked the view a bit. F1 cars are so low they were half hidden. Still, it was good to see them.

Brendan Hartley, Mercedes GP

Gordon Shedden, John Surtees, burnouts!

I’ve never understood why F1 cars run in the same batch as the legends of motorbike racing. Bikes have their place at the Festival and it is great to see them, but they should surely run in their own segment while the modern F1 cars run with some more classic F1 cars. You’re trying to cater to two types of fan here – F1 fans aren’t always into bikes, and bike fans aren’t always into F1. Right now the bikers lose out because the F1 fans clog up the hill, and the F1 fans are sitting around waiting for ages for their cars to appear.

One of my favourite things to do is get back to the paddock in time for the F1 cars to reappear. It is very busy but if you time it right you can get a good spot. This year we didn’t quite get it right as we were shuffled around left to right, and we all got split up. They headed to McLaren to find Jenson Button, I went to the opposite end to see Vettel (since Button is more likely to come back next year). I also thought Heidfeld would be at that end, forgetting he was in a McLaren not a Lotus/Renault.

Sebastian Vettel

Brendan Hartley, Marc Gene, fans flocking to Vettel

After that it was a visit to the bottom end of the site for a look at the Cathedral Paddock featuring more old racers and the Supercars which were forming up ready for a run up the hill.

We stopped at the link road to watch some old cars go out. Suddenly from the other direction a 1960s Brabham approaches. I looked at the driver. It was Jackie Stewart! In a Brabham! Now I was impressed. Naturally we had to head to the paddock to find him!

Along the way we stopped briefly to see Lord March being interviewed by Tim Harvey, but with JYS around we didn’t we didn’t stay – and it was perfect timing as just as we reached the access path for the paddock, striding out purposefully comes Jackie Stewart himself! At this point I’d love to say the four of us were all smart and witty and chatty and got his autograph and a series of photos. What all four of us actually did was stop and stare because it was Jackie Stewart. Four starstruck fans. He gave us the briefest of looks then strode away to a waiting vehicle. Moment lost. Camera fumbled. Here’s a photo of the man’s back, you’ll just have to trust me. Andy Wallace followed him out, Karun Chandhok too but I missed him.

We’d hoped to spy some more famous people in the Supercar Run. As it was I only saw Rupert Grint (from Harry Potter) lining up for a McLaren ride, and Oliver Webb (British driver in Indy Lights). Lacking more famous people I realised it would be good to see these cars moving, so we headed to the exit lane to watch there. As happened earlier the previous batch of cars (that we saw leave here a bit ago) drove back in whilst the supercars were leaving.

We were treated to 1910s-1970s race cars passing yet-to-be-released 21st Century automotive luxury. Only at Goodwood!

Past and Future

These were the last cars of the day. After a quick stop at the exit of the Drivers’ Club to try and see people it was time to go, another day at Goodwood Festival of Speed was over, and for me that was it for another year.

After the trials and tribulations of the morning (read more here) I was glad to have an enjoyable afternoon. It didn’t completely cure me of the blues but it went some way towards it, and I was pleased to get so much done in the shortened space of time, and to do so with good company.

Will I be back next year? I’d like to think so – but perhaps not on the busiest day of the weekend. I think Saturdays are off-limits now. I will happily try the Friday or Sunday again until such time as they also become oversubscribed.

You can see my full album of photos here.

Advertisements

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012 – A Festival of Stopped

I attended the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Saturday, sadly before I can talk about the sights and sounds of a good afternoon I have to first go into the reasons why it was just an afternoon, and why it was only ‘good’ and not the usual ‘amazing’. The morning was an unmitigated disaster and it needs to be addressed.

Logjam

Never have I been stuck in a traffic jam as long-lasting as this one, at Goodwood or anywhere else. This was on a par with all those stories you used to hear from the British GP. Okay so there was that time on the M25, but I got off that pretty quickly..

I left the house at about 8.45am. Not especially early but not too late since Chichester is 1hr 45min from here, and the Festival is open until 7pm anyway. I had planned to get away between 8 and 8.15 but I’d stayed up way too late.. no matter, I’d be in the gate by 11am anyway and I’d still get a solid 8 hours on site. Right? Er, wrong.

Having attended every year since 2009 as well as two earlier events I knew the routine: Arrive at Chichester somewhere between 10.15 and 10.45am, sit in traffic for half an hour before parking up and hustling the long walk to the gate overtaking dawdlers ambling along. This is what I’d prepared for.

What I had not prepared for was a wait of two and a half hours before reaching the car park. An extra two hours above the norm. The event was a sellout that day – okay fine, I could’ve put up with maybe an hour for that. I just can’t understand why it took so much longer.

I realised at best I was covering a mile every ten minutes, sometimes it took much longer. I’m stubborn enough that for £55 I’m damned well going to try to get there but I was close to giving up – after all the race cars do two runs per day on the hill and I had already missed the entire first run. It was disappointing but not surprising to learn of others who did decide to turn back.

I have no idea if there were other problems on the local roads, perhaps there were accidents and road closures for which you couldn’t blame the Festival. However I only saw one minor closure and no accidents or blockages. It leads me to strongly believe it was down to the event management.

Perhaps there was a problem with the main car park, when I eventually got there  it was closed, so it was either full or something had happened there. I had to spend an extra 10-15 minutes being directed along some lanes to another car park – the saving grace being that the walk to the House was much shorter from this place – maybe if I drive again I’ll take some back roads and go to this car park!

Really though, the lesson is that their traffic management can’t be trusted, get one of the frequent trains to Chichester and make use of the free shuttle bus. Thankfully this is an option at this event, unlike Silverstone for the British GP which I have always avoided partly due to the widely reported horrendous traffic levels. Perhaps the other lesson is to go on the quiet Friday until that becomes as popular.

Calming Down

I eventually got in and met up with friends, saw some great cars and drivers – all the good stuff the Festival has to offer. Tomorrow I’ll follow up with a a post about the afternoon in which I’ll include some photos. It was a bit of a rush to get around the paddocks and still find time to see some cars on the hill. And as I said, it was a sellout – sadly there were so many people you could hardly find a space trackside and you had to elbow your way around to see the static cars.

The traffic and the volume of people spoiled the day for me. I ended up missing the entire first run of cars (including F1) which is stupid if you’re only going for one day. Then when we went trackside the only available place was a quiet little clearing where the bales obscured most of the cars.

Goodwood: please restrict the numbers and sort out your traffic management.

I consoled myself with a tiny little sausage in a soft bread roll which fell apart when you tried to eat it, which cost £5.70. Apparently the words ‘Goodwood’ and ‘Organic’ give you the right to charge an extra £1 each.

2012 Race Schedules

For the last two seasons I’ve created race schedules for use in Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook and any other compatible diary system. 2012 is no exception and I can now announce the calendars for the year ahead are now, mostly, complete!

IWTMR Motorsport Calendar for May 2012 (click for Large)

If you want to track some of your favourite series and events, just load your selection of racing categories into your calendar so that you can make plans to watch live or set the DVR – and hopefully never miss another race!

Please go to the Calendar page for futher details and updates.

Goodwood This Weekend

This weekend is the Goodwood Festival of Speed and I’ll be attending on Friday and Saturday and I’m sure I’ll bump in to a few people from the online community.

Perhaps I’ll even bump into a famous name or two, not that I’ll have any idea what to say as my mind always, always goes blank in that situation. I do plan to get plenty of photos and videos especially because this year there is a big IndyCar presence, including current drivers and cars which never usually happens because until last year they raced at Watkins Glen on this date. This marks a rare UK appearance for many of them, even including the UK drivers who are usually too busy with racing and public appearances in North America (or Brazil) to please the sponsors.

There is also the biggest contemporary F1 presence for some time, possibly ever, and the usual array of classics from across the racing spectrum. Sadly there will be a lack of current sportscar drivers and cars since both the ILMC/LMS and the FIA GT1 series are racing in Italy and Spain respectively. There might also be a smaller motorbike crowd since MotoGP and British Superbikes are also racing. With the huge reputation the FoS enjoys these days I find it amazing racing series deliberately schedule events against it.

This is the first time I’ve attended two days of the Festival so I hope to take it a little easier than usual – they say it is a garden party but I’m always rushing from place to place to see everything in a single day (the site is huge). I hope I can take it easier this time. I’ve also never been on the quieter Friday, usually Saturday and Sunday are my preferred days but both are choc full of fans a few rows deep, you only get really close to the cars late in the day as people thin out but then time becomes limited.

So I hope to report back on Sunday, and who knows I might find time on Friday night for a quick update too. I’ll be commuting the 2 hours each way from home on both days because amazingly the cost of fuel is still lower than the cost of a hotel room on FoS weekend in the Chichester area… ought to have checked earlier I suppose.

I haven’t forgotten about posts for Belgian GP Sunday, LMS Silverstone or the Donington Historic.. will get there eventually!

Goodwood 2010: Wrap-Up

In this final instalment of my Goodwood round-up I’m going to cover some of the trackside action as well as some of the ‘names’ I bumped into over the day. I particularly like the video at the end.

There are several ways to do Goodwood. The organisers want you to spend a weekend ambling around in a relaxed ‘garden party’ atmosphere. This is very appealing and you can do that if you ‘re only there for a single day as I was but you would miss out on a lot, so I was moving quickly all day darting from place to place and revisiting areas based on the programme of events. Even so, I didn’t make it far up the hill and so missed the dedicated rally section completely.

I arrived at the site at about 11am, watched for a while near the entrance before heading to the Cathedral Paddock and the F1 Paddock.

I exited the paddock on the far side, going uphill, to see what was there. The answer: not much. A couple of WRC and GT trucks and the McLaren and (deafening) Red Bull Racing merchandise stands, both over-priced as always. I knew the modern F1 cars were not far off running again so they’d be in the paddock collecting area soon, so I headed there.
Continue reading “Goodwood 2010: Wrap-Up”

Goodwood: Video Special

I want to share a few of the videos I recorded during my day at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, before I write up my final instalment (yes late, I know). I spent a bit of time playing around with videos after trying and failing to take photos of moving cars through the small gaps in the crowd.

I want to share a few of the videos I recorded during my day at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, before I write up my final instalment (yes late, I know). I spent a bit of time playing around with videos after trying and failing to take photos of moving cars through the small gaps in the crowd.

Here are the unedited results – they aren’t really good enough for the write-up posts because some are short and the camerawork is not steady, but equally they really are worth sharing because firstly there are some good car/driver combinations, and more importantly they get across the actual experience of being there. If you are looking with your own eyes it is the same as with the camera, you sometimes only get glimpses as the car passes faster or slower than expected or you don’t know it is there at all. That, and the sights and sounds are fantastic at Goodwood so the more chances to show that off, the better!


So I was finishing up my walk around the paddock when a truck drove by with a band on it.


I’d then moved to the small sheltered area between the collection area and the pedestrian bridge to watch the F1 cars leave the paddock. It wasn’t quite as good a vantage point as I’d hoped and then I’d got bored of the gaps between cars, but it was great fun to guess what was coming next.


A little later I was trackside between the main paddock and the next corner, on the paddock side of the track (drivers’ left). This is a McLaren Can-Am – what a noise.


I mentioned the NASCAR presence before, and like many American stars they were keen to put on a show. This is Mike Skinner peforming a mile-long burnout on the entire course! Despite the gentle rarified ‘garden party’ atmosphere of the place, sometimes you do need a bit of agricultural noise and power – and I do love the smell of tyre smoke..


Bruno Senna in his uncle’s iconic McLaren. I was looking forward to this and even for a child who grew up disliking Senna it was a very poignant moment. It was a bit of a shame to see him go so slowly but I’m guessing he was giving a photo op to everyone, which is commendable in itself.


Sir Jackie Stewart in Jim Clark’s Indy 500-winning Lotus which has only recently been fully restored. In tribute to his friend, Jackie wore a black helmet similar to that worn by Clark for that famous victory.


Karun Chandhok in the Williams FW08 driven by Keke Rosberg in 1982.


Sam Bird in the 2010 Williams. I’d moved slightly further up the hill to another little enclosed area here.

If you missed them, I posted more videos along with photos from my walk around the Cathedral paddock, the F1 paddock and also one of a 1929 Bugatti. I’ll be concluding this series on Goodwood soon with one final post, featuring a few closing photos and videos from trackside as well as a write-up of my day as a whole.

Goodwood 2010: F1 Paddock

Following my visit to the Cathedral Paddock and a quick stop trackside I made my way to the main paddock area, it is called the Formula 1 Paddock but actually is the home to a little more than that. I’ll recap my trackside visits in my next post, for now let’s take a walk around the Formula 1 Paddock to see what delights it holds.

Following my visit to the Cathedral Paddock and a quick stop trackside I made my way to the main paddock area, it is called the Formula 1 Paddock but actually is the home to a little more than that. I’ll recap my trackside visits in my next post, for now let’s take a walk around the Formula 1 Paddock to see what delights it holds.

This is a far busier paddock than the other one as it contains F1 cars, plenty of sportscars from Le Mans and elsewhere as well as various racing bikes, and these are all very popular. It means you can’t get a good look at the cars unless you are either very patient or you can push your way through.

If you’re approaching from the House (and the other paddock) you’ll first pass the ‘assembly area’ which is where cars and drivers form up before a run, unfortunately it was empty when I first came through so I made my way to the first row of cars.


Audi R15 Plus with the ugly tusks on the front (unusually for a car coming straight from Le Mans this one had been washed, normally they leave the dirt on); Next to it is the Audi R8 LMS which raced at the Nurburgring 24 Hours (with Marco Werner’s helmet on the roof – he drove at the Festival);


Next to the Audi R8 LMS was the BMW ‘Art Car’ from this year’s Le Mans, and you can see the other sportscars lined up in that row including the CRS Racing Ferrari from the Le Mans Series, at the very end of the row was the 1991 Silk Cut Jaguar XJR14 which is just gorgeous!


One of the great things about Goodwood is how you can walk alongside and behind the cars to get a good look at them, the by-product being you get to check out the rear view of the adjacent row such as with this 1954 Mercedes W196 sitting behind the Audis. Just around the corner you find other classic Grand Prix cars including the legendary Maserati 250F, and this BRM and Ferrari 246 Dino.


This is a Vanwall and a Brabham. Behind the Vanwall you can see a classic Lotus and the ‘new Lotus’ transporter. There’s a small Indy car presence too, the third shot here shows classic cars from 3 eras, the red car is a Maserati converted from Grand Prix racing.


One of the highlights of the entire day was this 1965 Lotus-Ford in which Jim Clark won the Indy 500, I saw it here last year mid-restoration as a static display and they promised to bring it back this year and run it up the hill, which they did all weekend.

They cars are exhibited in widely-defined collections, so you have a line of sportscars, a line from Lotus, a line from Williams, a line of pre-war GP cars and so forth. I really enjoy seeing the lineage and the development of a team’s cars over time particularly when they wear the same livery.


The Lotus collection including the 72E, 79 and 95T. In the middle photo of the 79 you can see some of the other cars lined up with the Indycar at the end, the car with the gold scheme is the 56B with a turbine engine.

Just as with the lower paddock, in the top paddock you can turn a corner just as an engine near to you is fired up. Here is what I believe is the Tyrrell 006, minus engine cover.

Ahh the sweet DFV. Sorry it is such a short clip and the camera is being waved around, better than nothing right?


A couple of shots of the 1994 Lotus because I’d never seen it before, it is quite a rare car to see in public nowadays. I’ve seen the 1993 Williams here several times but I never pass up an opportunity to take a look at my favourite-looking Formula 1 car of all time.

All that remained to be seen in this paddock were the contemporary Formula 1 cars. I’m afraid I skipped the motorbikes, I do watch MotoGP but I can’t say I’m a huge fan of bike racing in general and know little of its history.


Mercedes GP brought the championship-winning Brawn GP 001 painted in this year’s colours – I understand the PR reasons for doing so but really, a championship winner needs to remain in the original colours.. McLaren brought the MP4/23 from 2008 as well as a 1986 MP4/2C. Williams took Keke Rosberg’s FW08 which Karun Chandhok drove up the hill and what was reported as the 2010 FW32 which Sam Bird drove that day, though usually F1 teams aren’t allowed to run their current cars due to testing restrictions so I’m not sure how true that is. You can see members of HM Armed Forces having a quick tour at Williams.

I actually saw Chandhok and Bird while I was snooping around the Williams garage, unfortunately I only got the back of Karun and my shot of Sam didn’t come out well at all.

He did come back but I was too shy to say anything to the man or get a photo with him, I’m not very good with famous types when I’m on my own, not a clue what to say! Not sure why that guy is smirking at me..

One last thing in the paddock..

Red Bull RB5 being warmed up with the great juxtaposition of the music before and after! For those who have never heard a Formula 1 car in person, know that the music was fairly loud and the car really genuinely is that much louder. Apologies for two videos, I stopped it when the woman walked in front.

That about wraps it up for the content in the main paddock, I’ll be back in a couple of days with a report on another aspect of Goodwood!

This post is part of a series on the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed, you can read my previous updates here:

Outtakes
1929 Bugatti
Cathedral Paddock

All images and the YouTube video used in this post were taken by Patrick Wotton. You may use them if you assign the appropriate credit and link to this blog.