Where did the idea for the Festival of Speed come from?
In 1948, Frederick Gordon-Lennox, the 9th Duke of Richmond, had the racetrack built on a disused military airfield. His grandson, Charles Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March and Kinrara, remembers: “I was eleven years old back then. I have never forgotten the sound of the race cars, the smell of fuel and tyres and the weary look on the drivers’ faces. Way back then, I promised myself that someday I would bring racing back to Goodwood.” The founder’s grandson kept his word: in 1992, he inherited the Goodwood estate and just one year later hosted the first Festival of Speed.
How many spectators came to see the first Festival of Speed in 1993?
Nobody really knows, although some estimate 25,000. After the entry tickets had run out people just came in through the woods without paying at all! Today, the two main events each attract approximately 180,000 visitors.
Why are tickets only sold in advance?
This allows for excellent event planning. And it also means that people will attend regardless of the weather.
Why didn't they begin racing on the old circuit right away instead of the Hillclimb in front of Goodwood House?
It took a few years of planning and some tough battles with the authorities before the Earl of March was granted permission to race on the old circuit for five days of the year. But he wanted to get racing as soon as he took control of Goodwood in 1992. That’s why the first event held there was the Goodwood Hillclimb – also a tradition. In 1936, the Earl’s grandfather had held a hillclimb in the park, which he won at the wheel of a Lancia.