In-the-know fans and auto industry professionals will tell you that the Goodwood Festival of Speed (FOS) is one of the biggest–if not THE single biggest–car festivals in the world. There are a ton of diverse activities, including test drives, races and even a Concours d’Elegance or two. The FOS is such a popular event primarily because of its prestige, notoriety and automobile unveilings. Let’s take a closer look at this festival, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
History of the FOS We should begin by clarifying the date of birth of the FOS. It’s easy to get confused since the Goodwood site actually hosts a number of events, small and large, all year long. For our purposes, two dates stand out.
In 1998, Charles-Gordon Lennox acquired the racing circuit to create the Goodwood Revival in which vintage race cars take to the track. In fact, Charles-Gordon Lennox, the son of the 10th Duke of Richmond, was organizing a gathering of collector race cars. Since he couldn’t get permission to use the Goodwood Circuit, created by his grandfather in 1948, he simply invited everyone to his own estate: Goodwood House. And so the Goodwood Festival of Speed was born in 1993. With more than 200,000 attendees, it is the site's most popular event.
But why is it so popular? The FOS attracts a large number of visitors and its popularity is growing unrelentingly year after year. Even before Lennox purchased the track, the circuit was already notorious in the region. It played host to tragedies like the death of Quebec race-car pilot Bertrand Fabi and that of Bruce McLaren, famous creator of the eponymous automaker.
Since the track was purchased by the son of the 10th duke, the festivities have been diversifying. Auto manufacturers the world over use this festival to launch products, like Toyota is doing with the Supra this year. You can even walk right onto the track alongside new and classic models. For spectators, the event is unique because it allows them to get really close to the track to watch races. And the FOS also features one of the most prestigious Concours d’Elegances. The cars presented are simply breathtaking. Enjoy the festival!