What is the theme for this year's Central Feature at the Goodwood Festival of Speed?
The Central Feature at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed is a design creation to highlight and celebrate one of the iconic names in motor racing.
A 30-metre high swooping, metallic sculpture, with the iconic Aston Martin DBR1 racing upwards towards the sky after accelerating through a Scalectric-style, twisting, never-ending race track.
Set in the front of Goodwood House the Special Feature celebrates Aston Martin’s 70 years racing at Goodwood, beginning in April 1949 when W.G. Bingley became the first person to race an Aston Martin at the track, starting the link between two British institutions.
The sculpture was designed by Gerry Judah, whose previous sculptures include a Ferrari F310 Formula 1 car hanging from an Italian arch. He has designed the Central Theme at each edition of the Festival of Speed since the first one in 1993 and has created designs celebrating Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Ford, Rolls-Royce, Honda, Toyota, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Mazda and BMW.
This time he has selected the most celebrated of all Aston Martin’s—the DBR1—as fast as it was beautiful, the car fulfilled Aston Martin owner David Brown’s ambition to triumph at Le Mans as well as winning the World Sports Car Championship at Goodwood in 1959.
In that race the DBR1 staged an incredible comeback to win the Tourist Trophy with Stirling Moss, Jack Fairman and Carroll Shelby at the wheel, achieving Aston Martin’s most famous and dramatic victory on the Goodwood Motor Circuit.
Aston Martin has a celebrated history in world motorsport and a very special bond with Goodwood itself where it has raced and won on numerous occasions over 70 years. “Give me Goodwood on a summer’s day and you can keep the rest of the world,” so said Roy Salvadori, who won at Le Mans in 1959 in an Aston Martin.
The DBR1 was suited to the Goodwood circuit for its ability to drift around corners like Woodcote and St Mary’s.
Central Feature “special moment”
On each day of the festival there is a front of house Central Feature ‘special moment’ presentation which sees Aston Martin’s of all eras, shapes and sizes perform circuits of the gravel drive circle in front of Goodwood House, accompanied by fireworks, flares, flag-waving and coloured smoke bursting upwards behind Goodwood House all launched to a ceremonial soundtrack, including the James Bond theme and ‘Land of hope and glory’.
Models from throughout the manufacturers celebrated history parade around the mini circuit, including the early 1.5 litre four-cylinder ‘Green Pea’, entered in the 1922 French Grand Prix and the 1923 ‘Razorblade’ a single-seater with a narrow body designed to set speed records, through to the DB4 GT Zagato, experimental ‘project’ cars and also the very latest GT endurance racers, including the 4.0 litre V8 turbocharged model that is competing in the 2018-19 FIA WEC Super Season.
Visitors can see plenty more of Aston Martin in various guises over the weekend. A class of V8’s, including a 1971 DBS V8, a 1985 Lagonda and a 1988 V8 Zagato are on show at the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ pavilion where six of the most elegant Aston Martins will be presented.
The Vulcan AMR Pro, alongside a series of Zagato-bodied Vanquish specials will be part of the Michelin Supercar Run where eight different Aston Martins will line up alongside the latest luxury road cars, including Ferrari’s Porsche’s, McLaren’s, Lotus, Lamborghini’s, Bentley’s and more, in action on the hill.
The DBX is a new model that will make its debut in camo wrap in the First Glance Paddock. On the Hill, Matt Becker will be driving high-performance models including the Vantage AMR.
The history of the Manufacturer is fully represented with over 20 models on display or being entered for various events right up to the latest Aston Martin 2020 DBX prototype and the 2020 Aston Martin Rapide E.
The third ever Aston Martin built is at the festival. Founded in 1913, by Lionel Martin and Robert Barnford, the company was named after a hill climb event in which Lionel competed racing up Aston Hill in a car whose history was unknown until it was put up for auction in 2001 when it was discovered that the chassis number was ‘A3’, the third ever built and the oldest still in existence.
Aston Martin’s special “Q” department has put together six special Vantage racing editions, with liveries inspired by the DBS3, Gulf Le Mans and AMR1 Group C racer cars. In total, 60 cars are being prepared and examples of all six editions take part each day in the Central Feature ‘special moment’ in front of Goodwood House.
Ben Salisbury is an experienced journalist and has covered the automotive sector for Yahoo! and also writes about the business of selling cars covering the rise of the online marketplace.