Even among the legends who make the annual Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard the world’s greatest celebration of motorsport and car culture, there is a group who stand head and shoulders above the rest. Goodwood calls them “The Maestros”; those rare individuals with the skill, courage and determination to win across multiple motorsport disciplines. Whether on two wheels or four, on tarmac or gravel, tortuous street circuit or high-speed oval, in sprint races or 24-hour marathons, these are the consummate champions.
- Theme for 2020 Festival of Speed will be “The Maestros – Motorsport’s Great All-Rounders”
- Jacky Ickx, a maestro in sports cars, touring cars, Formula 1, cross-country rallying and motorcycle competition, is named as the first legend to be celebrated
- Festival of Speed features more than 600 vehicles, including global debuts of new passenger cars and electric vehicles, with a total value of £2 billion
- Four-day Festival of Speed set new attendance record of more than 200,000 in 2019
From 9-12 July 2020 this pantheon of greats will be the focus of the Festival of Speed, brought to life by the central theme: ‘The Maestros – Motorsport’s Great All-Rounders’. As well as drivers and riders, the event will feature a spectacular line-up of teams and manufacturers who’ve taken on and conquered motorsport’s greatest challenges.
The first Maestro to confirm his attendance at the Festival is a man who has won races on six continents – the brilliant Belgian, Jacky Ickx. His record of achievement includes six Le Mans 24 Hours victories, back-to-back drivers’ titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship, eight Grand Prix wins, the 1979 Can-Am championship, the 1965 European Touring Car Championship, the 1967 Formula 2 championship, two Spa 24 Hour wins, victories in the Paris-Dakar Rallye Raid and Australia’s fabled Bathurst 1000, as well as the Belgian and European motorcycle trials titles that started his career.
Winning in different disciplines has long been the mark of the greatest champions; in the 1930s, former Italian motorcycle champions Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari continued their thrilling rivalry on four wheels at the pinnacle of grand prix and sports car racing at a time when it was far more common for drivers to switch between disciplines, sometimes competing in multiple different races on the same weekend.
There were many homegrown heroes, of course, like John Surtees, still the only man to win world championships on two wheels as well as four, when he switched from motorbikes to Formula 1 and then Can-Am sports cars before successfully running his own team.
Perennial Goodwood favourite Sir Stirling Moss won in Grands Prix, endurance races, saloon cars and even rallying, while his contemporary Jim Clark was twice Formula 1 World Champion, British Saloon Car champion and Indy 500 winner as well as competing in NASCAR and the RAC Rally. Other British multi-discipline winners include Graham Hill, the only man to win motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’ of Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours – a feat which has become the defining ambition of Fernando Alonso’s career.
Drivers from further afield will be represented at the Festival, including American Dan Gurney, who won in Formula 1, sports cars, Indy cars, touring cars, Trans-Am and NASCAR, and the ‘Father of Drifting’, Kunimitsu Takahashi, a Japanese motorcycle champion who went on to compete successfully in Formula 1 and sports cars.
The roster of manufacturers and teams who’ve competed successfully in multiple different forms of motorsport is also a stellar one. Names like Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Porsche, Lotus, Honda, McLaren, Ford, Williams, Penske and Ganassi. All of these, and many more, will be represented at the 2020 Festival of Speed, with many of the greatest competition cars and motorcycles ever built.
Jacky Ickx commented: “The Duke of Richmond has built up a monument based on respect and with that special touch that we probably call soul. Without doubt it’s touching to have been invited to such a celebration. Years ago, we were freelance in a way: we could race everywhere, in different categories – it wasn’t a narrow path.
“The driver, however good his talent is, only represents the know-how of the entire team. If you receive a good car, as I have often, it is easy to win. My results and my part in the Festival of Speed are recognising that most of the work was done by people you never see, and I am sure that the event will be another fantastic occasion with a special atmosphere.”
The Duke of Richmond commented: “The heyday of the Goodwood Motor Circuit coincided with a time when some astonishing talent could be seen winning in different cars from one week to the next or even during the same race meeting. It is this level of artistry which we will be paying tribute to with our 2020 theme: ‘The Maestros – Motorsport’s Great All-Rounders’.
“I am delighted that Jacky Ickx will be leading the celebrations of this very exclusive group at the 2020 Festival of Speed and bringing together drivers, manufacturers and teams who have been captivating motorsport fans of all interests for so long. It promises to be another thrilling Festival of Speed, celebrating the absolute superstars of the sport.”
First staged in 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrates the full scope and scale of motorsport’s greatest disciplines in an all-action schedule played out across an array of viewing areas throughout the four days.
In 2019, a total of 22 new production models from 21 motor manufacturers were launched or alternatively appeared in pre-launch camouflage or ‘closed room’ presentations. A further 26 recently-launched cars made their first dynamic appearances anywhere in the world as part of a collection of more than 600 cars and vehicles with a combined value of almost £2 billion.
Central to the event is The Hill, where road and racing cars and motorcycles perform on the fabled 1.16-mile course, passing in front of Goodwood House and its iconic Central Feature sculpture. In 2019, a watershed moment occurred when Volkswagen’s all-electric I.D.R broke the outright Hill record; Romain Dumas’ time of 39.90 seconds breaking the 20-year-old mark laid down by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-13 Formula 1 car in 1999.
At the top of The Hill the off-road heroes of rallying are to be found on the Forest Rally Stage, designed by 1983 World Rally Champion Hannu Mikkola. Historic and contemporary cars from the WRC, British Rally Championship and Dakar-style Raid events leap and slither on the loose gravel in spectacular style throughout the four days of the Festival of Speed, creating an unmissable spectacle.
Fans of urban sports such as flatland BMX, freestyle motocross and mountain biking can enjoy a feast of action at GAS – the Goodwood Action Sports arena. In addition to savouring the aerial action on show, there is the chance to take part in the eSports activities in the dedicated zone adjacent to the GAS arena.
New for 2019 was The Arena – a gladiatorial amphitheatre for some of the world’s biggest Drift and Gymkhana stars including Ken Block and ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett. The opportunity to watch these phenomenal automotive artists up close as they showcased some of the world’s finest precision driving was a popular addition to the event schedule, and will make a welcome return in 2020.
Throughout the Festival of Speed, there are plenty of opportunities to stroll through the picturesque Goodwood Estate among the cars in their paddocks, on the Cartier Lawn and in the Michelin Supercar Paddock. Spectacular displays are put together by motor manufacturers on The Grid, while for many there is an unmissable opportunity to learn about future technology and the drive for sustainability in FOS Future Lab.
With immersive 5G experiences, insights into the future of mobility and the chance to get hands-on with a range of scientific innovations, Future Lab completes the all-round experience that draws more than 200,000 people to the sell-out event each year.
Report by goodwood.com