The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a Mecca for all things motorsports. Held in late June or early July, you’ll find everything there, from pre-war cars to prototypes and modern electric race cars. The best part? Easily it’s the races, especially watching vintage rivals engage in wheel-to-wheel combat.
Fortunately, Goodwood makes many events available on its YouTube channel, including the vintage races, like this one featuring 10 minutes of pre-war cars battling and drifting. And before you turn up your nose, pooh-poohing the idea of some stuffy aristocrat leading a parade of cars before the unwashed masses, know that there’s more passing and drama in 10 minutes at Goodwood than a season of Formula 1.
Cars on spindly wheels fly by, going flat out on the straights. The drivers pitch them into the corners, narrow tires sliding on a damp track. Drifting may be fairly new to motorsport, but the art of drifting a car on a wet track is as old as motorsport itself. Watch one 90-year-old car take a corner sideways, and you’re hooked.
A Bentley pulls away from a Talbot-Lago, chased by a Frazer Nash. The weather continues to deteriorate, as does the track surface. Some drivers appear to let up on the chase, deciding prudence is the better part of valor. Others seem not to care. They are hellbent on maintaining the pace.
The biggest battle is between two Frazer Nash cars, a red roadster and a dark green saloon nicknamed “The Owlet.” Both cars weave through traffic yet are alone in a private battle. The pace picks up with every lap, and the slides grow longer and wilder.
Roy Salvadori once said, “Give me Goodwood on a summer’s day, and you can forget the rest of the world.” Watching these drivers will their cars around a damp track with a mixture of stamina and concentration will do that. It’s work, wrestling a big steering wheel and controlling the car by its throttle. Shifting a non-synchromesh gearbox requires patience, finesse, and the occasional swear word. But whether you’re behind the wheel or watching a video of one of these epic battles, there’s nothing like it.
Source: Goodwood Road & Racing via YouTube
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