Goodwood Festival of Speed (2012) preview

Published: 26 June 2012

The 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed runs from Thursday 28 June - Sunday 1 July, as Lord March once again throws open the gates of Goodwood House to 150,000 petrolheads. Read on for CAR Magazine's preview of the 2012 Festival of Speed.

It's set to be the largest-yet display and demonstration of classic and modern racing cars, world-class drivers, and exotic supercars.

In addition to the timed runs up the famous hillclimb route, manufacturers will also be showcasing their latest models on show stands, while there will also be motorbikes and helicopters present along with the hoards of legendary automobiles.

What's the theme of the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed?

This year's theme is 'Young Guns - Born to Win'. It'll celebrate drivers, riders, designers and engineers who shocked the establishment, affording them immediate superstar status. 

To that end, there's a glut of young F1 world chamions present over the weekend, including Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

They'll be joined by Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Christian Horner and Adrian Newey - alongside some of the legendary cars they've been involved with over previous seasons.

Formula One racers from Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari, Vodafone McLaren Racing, Lotus, Mercedes GP and Caterham will all be taking to the 1.16-mile hillclimb at the 2012 Festival of Speed.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed record

Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld will be reunited with the McLaren MP4/13 in which he set the still-standing 41.6-second hillclimb record at Goodwood in 1999. Nowadays, runs are not officially timed, after health and safety fears clashed with the period hay bales which line Lord March's front drive.

Lotus will be one of the major focal points of the festival, with 40 cars spanning seven decades all charging up the hill, from F1 championship-winners to GT and rally racers. Modern-day Lotus will be reperesented by the Exige R-GT rally car, making its UK debut, the Lotus T125 and the new Exige S. Eco-consciousness isn't quite forgotten either, thanks to the Evora 414E, an electric range-extender Evora with 408bhp and a 4.0 second 0-60mph time.

Watching on will be past F1 masters including Alain Prost, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Nick Heidfeld, Jochen Mass, Emerson Fittipaldi and Martin Donnelly.

There's even a world-first gathering of the three six-wheeled cars to compete in Formula One: the Tyrrell P34, March 2-4-0 and Williams FW08B will be brought together in the F1 paddock for a unique photo opportunity.

It's not just F1 at Goodwood 2012, right?

No, there's also WRC, Indycar, touring car and road-legal machines to pour over. Making their debut at Goodwood in the Moving Motor Show on 28 June, or the show stands over the weekend are:

Bentley Continental GT Speed
Bentley EXP9 F SUV concept
BMW M6 coupe and convertible
Chevrolet Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition
Infiniti Emerg-E concept
Jaguar F-type prototype
Jaguar XF Sportbrake
Mazda MX-5 GT Concept
McLaren's newly-updated MP4-12C
Mini Clubvan
Volvo V40

After the popularity of Goodwood's Aviation Exhibition in 2011, this year will see an expanded celebration of aircraft at the main event sight, alongside the motoring exhibits.

There'll even be an unusual record attempt: Terry Grant will seek to set a record reversing up the Goodwood hillclimb route in a zero-emission Nissan Leaf. The electric hatchback has been chosen for the run as its motrs can power the wheels just as fast in reverse as in normal forward motion.

I'm sold. How do I get involved with Goodwood 2012?

If you're excited by this celebration of petrolhead heaven, then you'd better already have tickets - this weekend's event has already sold out for Saturday and Sunday. Better get in quick for the 2013 Festival of Speed, then...