Goodwood 2014: the world's fastest garden party.

Impressions from the Festival of Speed 2014.
The meeting point of art and culture, past and present: The Goodwood festival's anniversary year.

Fascination for 120 years.

Chichester in Sussex is less than two hours to the south of London. Yet instead of the lively metropolis one finds rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Connected by narrow country roads which elegantly wind through the landscape. Alongside the roads: dense forests or the perfect lawns of the occasional idyllic cottage – peace and pure relaxation.

But once a year this idyllic scene is transformed by the engine sounds of the world’s most successful and rarest racing vehicles. When these vehicles and drivers meet to compete against each other on the hillclimb before the eyes of tens of thousands of motorsport enthusiasts. When Charles Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March and Kinrara, extends an invitation to the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Spectacular anniversary sculpture.

The fastest garden party in the world, as Festival of Speed fans like to call it, is about more than just motorsport. This is where art and culture combine, as with the installation from the British artist, Gerry Judah. This year, his breath-taking central feature spanned Goodwood House at a height of more than 25 meters and width of 60 meters.

The 150 tonne arch was welded together out of individual steel plates and embodies this year’s festival motto “addicted to winning”. The arch brings together classics and contemporaries in the form of the W25 Silver Arrow from 1934 and the Mercedes AMG W04 Formula One racing car from 2013.

Geryy Judah's Silver Arrow sculpture truly frames the festival.

Indeed, no other manufacturer can look back on a motorsport history as long as that of Mercedes-Benz.

This year's Goodwood Festival celebrates two anniversaries.

Absolute giants - Where winners meet.

120 years ago, the first vehicles with Daimler engines won at the Paris-Rouen, laying the foundation for an incredible motorsport tradition. Exactly 20 years later the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft celebrated a historical triple victory at the Grand Prix in Lyon with three Grand Prix racing cars built specifically for this race. This remains one of the greatest motor racing victories of all time.

All three winning cars raced against the mountain this year to celebrate the hundred anniversary of their victory. The sound of the 4.5 liter 4-cylinder engines was only drowned out by the mighty SSK. The white elephant from 1928 delivers an impressive 228 hp with its supercharged 7 liter straight 6-cylinder engine – However, the sound of the pre-war racing car is far more breathtaking than its technical specifications.

Mercedes-Benz classics are an absolute must at the fastest garden party in the world.

The legendary silver arrow.

Last but not least, the legendary Silver Arrows with which Mercedes-Benz gained its reputation as one of the most successful motorsport brands. The mighty W 125, for example, which created a sensation among the masses in 1937 and again today at Goodwood with its roughly 600 hp.

The lightning-fast Grand Prix racing cars were driven by the legendary drivers Hans Herrmann, Klaus Ludwig and Jochen Mass along with the British heroes, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart.

These racing cars stand eye to eye with the great classics.

Wild newcomers.

Alongside the heroes of the past Mercedes-Benz’s recent motor racing history also plays a thrilling role at the Festival of Speed. Especially the Sauber-Mercedes C9 and the Penske-Mercedes PC23. With top speeds exceeding 400 km/h, the two racing cars are among the fastest participants to tackle the 1.16 mile long hillclimb.

A demonstration run by the “Blue Wonder” rounded out Mercedes-Benz’s appearance. The racing transporter built on the basis of the 300 SL “Gullwing” created a sensation together with the turbocharged 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut Coupé” as did the ambitious appearance of the 500 SL Rallye prototype from the 1980s. The DTM series winner, Bernd Schneider, with his C-Class touring car and the current SLS GT3 racing car were also essential guests.

Top-class star guest.

Despite all of the history, the highlight of the Festival of Speed remained Lewis Hamilton’s appearance in last year’s Mercedes AMG W04 Formula One on Sunday. With smoking tires the world champion presented a fantastic show for eyes and ears. Because that is what Goodwood is all about: the fascination of motorsport. The great smell of gasoline, burnt rubber, hot oil and warm grease.

The opportunity to see the legends very close, take photos and obtain autographs then have a casual picnic on the lawn while watching 120 years of motorsport history roar past is what makes the Festival of Speed a unique event found nowhere else in the world.

In top form on the track and among his fans: Lewis Hamilton.

After three days the tire rubber on the road and lawn slightly ruined by enthusiastically driven racing cars are the only reminders that the idyllic countryside in southern England transforms into the heart of motorsport once a year.

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