OllieF1
2009 Goodwood Festival Of Speed

2009 Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The Earl of March has announced the dates for the 2009 Goodwood Festival Of Speed, held on the Goodwood estate in Chichester, West Sussex. The annual festival comprises of a celebration of motor sport, it’s heritage and future as well as being a superb venue for fans of anything automotive to get very close to their heroes and their cars. The Festival Of Speed also features a hillclimb, where all day cars from many eras run up and down. 2009’s festival will take place on the weekend of 3rd to 5th July, 2009.

Having been for the past two years, I can thoroughly recommend the Festival and the weekend is truly a great experience. Although it can get crowded at times, and if the weather turns nasty it can dampen the spirits a little. But to be able to get so close to some of the world’s greatest cars is one memory you’ll never forget.

Last year while in the Formula One paddock, Christian Klien almost ran me over as he rolled back to his enclosure in the BMW. I’ll never forget the wave he gave me when I gathered myself together and crouched down in front of his car for one final photograph. Unfortunately, I was too late to capture the wave, but it does show just how close you get to the cars if you have to leap out of the way of a Formula One machine.

Christian Klien - 2008 Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The weekend isn’t just about Formula One though, and while the theme for 2009 hasn’t been set yet, there is so much to do you will never be able to fit it all into one day. Cars old and new tear up the hillclimb where the drivers and riders sign autographs and pose for photos. The rally stage is situated in the woodland area off the side and the paddock for the rally cars is also at the top of the hill. At the bottom there are displays galore, plenty of refreshment stands, a music stage and plenty of things to keep you occupied. The Formula One paddock is located just off to the side of Goodwood House and the Cathedral paddock and Cartier Style et Luxe are situated near to the the main entrance.

To get a feel for just how busy the schedule is, and to see what was driven up the hill and by whom in 2008, please visit BlogF1’s previous article which lists all the main runners and riders. Photographs from last year’s festival can be seen in the 2008 gallery post, while more from the previous two years can be seen in the gallery.

Although expensive, the Festival is well worth a visit and great fun for all the family. You’ll rarely get a chance to get your smudgy fingerprints all over a Bugatti Veyron, a Ford Thunderbird and a McLaren MP4-23 all in one day.

More information is available at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed website.

Thumbnail image by Harry_S, uploaded to Flickr and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic.

Oliver White

11 comments

  • Thanks for the question Tom, it’s a good one. I actually need to call Goodwood tomorrow and ask them about FOS 2009, because the website is a little confusing. The dates have been up for about a month now, and tickets went on sale as of November 1st. However, the site still says the dates are “Provisional”, and the online booking form is different to last years.

    In 2007 when I booked my tickets online, I had the choice of gucci-posh grandstands (with champagne and caviare*), or regular tickets with optional standard grandstands as extras. However, this year’s form doesn’t mention standard grandstands at all. So I will call them tomorrow and enquire.

    As for your question though…

    …grandstands are great for when the weather turns. In 2007, our covered seating area was a blessing – it rained a lot that year! Also, the sides of the hillclimb obviously get very crowded and pushing your way through to the front can be a nightmare.

    Having said that, the stands are further from the road, but you get to see more because you are looking over the crowds and the hay-bails. However, if you know where to go and and when to go, it’s actually easy to position yourself correctly, as I found out almost to the cost of my foot last time around. I forgot to mention in the post about coming to within a gnat’s knacker of Marc Gene when his Ferrari bolted forward unexpectedly in the paddock! I almost had to change my underwear!

    I can’t remember what the grandstands cost last year, but I remember thinking that I probably wouldn’t bother again. Rain doesn’t annoy me that much and you can always sit it out in one of the manufacturer stands if it gets really bad. Oh, and to any non-UK readers thinking of coming over, it doesn’t always rain; I actually caught the sun last year and had a sore nose for a couple of days. But as it’s England, you should be prepared for the worse.

    It’s also worth mentioning that there are some smaller (non-covered) free stands dotted around the climb as well, and if you time it right, you can nab a decent place on one of those, then roam around a bit until the next of-interest-to-you thing happens.

    Aaand, grandstands are a free-for-all on Friday, I seem to remember.

    Hope that helps, and I hope I get to buy you a pint next July. 🙂

    *That may not be strictly true, but there are reserved grandstands away from the crowds for Club members and rich people who don’t want to mix with the riff-raff.

  • There are two must attend events every year. Autosport International and the Festival of Speed. For numerous reasons last year was the first time in 5 or 6 years that I made both of them and I intend to be at both again this year. I am really looking forward to Goodwood.

    Much as I love my racing there is nothing to beat the Festival of Speed. Most of the genuinely quick cars take a fairly leisurely approach to the hill but there are drivers in very quick cars who still go for a time. The onboard footage of Justin Law and Anthony Reid this year was stunning. Then from the sublime to the utterly, utterly ridiculous you had Dougie Lampkin going through Goodwood House on his trials bike ending up with a butler serving him with champagne from a silver tray on the roof. There really is nothing like the Festival of Speed.

  • This year was my first year at the festival and I must admit I absolutely loved it. It was such a great day out and I left there, not only with happy memories, but with a sense of disappointment that I would not be going back on the Sunday. I seriously can not wait until the FOS next year, it’s worth every penny 🙂

  • Ollie

    Thanks for that – once you’ve confirmed the dates are accurate can you let me know and I’ll look into getting some leave from work and finding a hotel…

    Tom

  • Email response from Goodwood:

    Dear Mr White,

    Unfortunately our dates are still provisional but we’re not expecting them to change. In the past 15 years the dates have only changed once. Should this happen we would announce a change in dates, as well as contacting customers who have already bought tickets. We are hoping to have confirmation within the next two weeks, but we are still waiting on the FIA to confirm their dates.

    All the grandstands are now sold as a roving ticket. The roving ticket is one ticket which allows you to sit in any grandstand in any seat. It allows you to see the hill climb from all different stages which has proven really popular over the years. We used to just have this option on the Friday, but we have now decided to do the roving ticket all weekend following on from a lot of feedback we received last year. You can still sit in your preferred stand but you won’t have a specific seat number.

    If you have any further questions please feel free to call us on 01243 755055.

    Kind regards,

    Alison Thorpe

    Many thanks Alison.

    So Goodwood are just waiting for confirmation from the FIA regarding the Formula One calendar (as they don’t like the weekend to clash with a race), but the grandstands are now roving, which is actually a good idea as it does work nicely on the Fridays.

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