8 Memorable Goodwood Festival Of Speed Hill Climb Runs
There are many reasons to visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but there’s one attraction that tops the rest – the famous hill climb. Taking place on a relatively narrow private road that winds its way past Goodwood House, it gets spectators seriously close to the action.
With everything from the latest supercars to classic Formula 1 cars belting their way up the hill between hay bales, with very little room for error, the setup makes for some hugely exciting motorsport moments.
Want to see for yourself? Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022 takes place from 23 – 26 June, and tickets are on sale here from £47.
To whet your appetite, here are some of the most memorable runs in FOS history:
'Quick Nick' does his thing
Nick Heidfeld enjoyed three years on the bounce topping the Shootout timesheets in various V10 McLaren F1 cars when he was a fresh-faced test driver for the team, with the final run in this hattrick delivering a record that would stand for two decades. In 1999, he climbed aboard the driver’s and constructor’s championship-winning McLaren MP4/13 and clocked an incredible 41.6-second run.
In the name of safety, F1 machines were banned from performing timed runs the following year, helping Heidfeld’s record stand all the way up until 1999, when a certain electric Volkswagen entered the scene.
A 20-year-old record tumbles
As part of Volkswagen’s record-hunting campaign with the all-electric ID.R, the manufacturer had its sights set on the longstanding outright record at Goodwood Festival of Speed. Which in 2019, it did, and quite spectacularly.
Having already gone faster than the MP4/13 in a practice session, Romain Dumas – the chap who’d steered the ID.R to victory at Pikes Peak and used it to snag a Nurburgring record – knocked it out of the park with a 39.90sec run. Dumas’ journey to Festival of Speed glory wasn’t without its moments, however, which leads us to our next entry.
World's fastest lawnmower?
The previous year, Dumas was pushing hard in the ID.R, which resulted in a violent snap of oversteer on the exit of the hill’s second corner. The electric hypercar was seen wildly sliding and bouncing over the grass, but Dumas was able to make it back onto the tarmac with the car unscathed. As for the condition of his Nomex underwear, we can only speculate.
That year, Dumas and the ID.R topped the Shootout, but the fastest time of 43.86 seconds was still some way off Heidfeld’s McLaren run.
Mad Mike lives up to his name
Michael ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett has put on some brilliant tyre-torturing performances as Festival of Speed over the years, making it hard to pick a favourite. For us, though, his 2017 effort in the 1,200bhp ‘Radbull’ rotary Mazda MX-5 just about wins it. With a four-rotor engine stuffed under the bonnet, this tiny ND Miata made an enormous noise.
Ferrari-powered cloud machine
Mad Mike is far from the only sideways specialist to have laid down rubber on the Duke of Richmond’s driveway – drift cars have been a Goodwood mainstay for a few years now. Not so long ago, Ryan Tuerck drifted his way up the hill in a Ferrari 458-engined Toyota GT86, leaving us in awe of both car and driver. Here’s hoping the Formula Drift ace will be back at some point in his bonkers Judd V10-engined ‘Formula Supra’.
Still drifting at 110 years old
The Darracq is often referred to as an ‘engine on wheels’, an apt description since its structure is dominated by a 25.4-litre V8. Good for around 200bhp, the Darracq was able to clock 122.5mph at Daytona Beach in 1906, but its talents go beyond straight-line speed.
Around the time it turned 100 years old, the car was seen sliding its way up the hill with style and a surprising amount of precision. Not bad for a centenarian.
A different kind of two-wheeled lap
Terry Grant is no stranger to performing ridiculous stunts, often performed at Goodwood. But even for Grant, his exploits at the Festival of Speed in 2018 were pretty wild. He managed to get a Range Rover Sport up the hill on two wheels, a feat in itself which was made even more impressive by the speed. It was brisk enough to place Grant in the record books for the fastest mile on two wheels.
Like father, like son
Aged just 17 at the time, Oliver Solberg caught everyone’s attention at the Festival of Speed in 2019. Son of two-time World Rally Champion Petter Solberg, Oliver was competing in the Shootout with a DS 3 World Rallycross car, although his wild run up the hill looked more like a playful demo run.
Solberg mixed flair with outright pace, going to the top of the timesheet with a 49.39sec run. He went even faster later in the weekend, clocking the fastest time in the rally car category.
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