Goodwood to host Speedweek digital motoring festival in October

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The Goodwood Estate has confirmed plans to host a behind-closed-doors motoring festival in mid-October in place of its cancelled Festival of Speed and Revival events, placing an equal focus on new metal and classic cars.

The Duke of Richmond has said that a digital event would allow the West Sussex venue to “keep the flame alive”, after its well-attended automotive fixtures had to be cancelled in light of the ongoing social distancing restrictions.

The new event, called Speedweek, will take place at the Goodwood Motor Circuit on 16-18 October, rather than in the estate itself, meaning that the Festival of Speed’s hillclimb centrepiece will not feature. Instead, activities will revolve around the 3.86-kilometre race track that runs around the perimeter of Goodwood Aerodrome.

Highly valuable classic cars will be driven competitively around the circuit by celebrities and famous drivers in Revival-style historic racing events, while rally stages will take competitors on, around and under the Tarmac track. The new Goodwood Gymkhana will see cars driven to parts of the estate that are usually out of bounds, exploiting the absence of spectators.

On the final day, the circuit will host a “winner-takes-all shootout over one lap”, which will feature some of the fastest cars in motorsport history and is likely to set a number of speed records for the venue. The organisers said: “The official Goodwood lap record has stood for 55 years, and with modern cars never likely to return, it’s entirely possible that the times recorded at Speedweek will remain unsurpassed for the next 55.”

The three-day ‘extravaganza’ will be broadcast free of charge globally through Goodwood’s website and social media channels, and a number of new car launches – a mainstay of the Festival of Speed – are expected to go ahead. Global auction house Bonhams will also be present to host an online auction, with prospective bidders invited to book viewing slots in the week leading up to the event.

The Duke of Richmond said: “Having taken the heart-breaking decision not to hold the Festival of Speed and Revival this year, we were determined to find a way of bringing motorsport to Goodwood in 2020. Speedweek will be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion – the fastest, most exciting and spectacular event we have ever staged. I have been overwhelmed by the positivity and support offered to us by our partners and friends.”

When it was forced to cancel its motoring calendar, the Goodwood Estate relaunched its Supporters’ Association – founded 25 years ago to recommission the circuit – in an effort to recoup some of the revenue lost in 2020.

Ticket holders for any of the cancelled events can transfer part or all of their refund to this organisation, which, the Estate says, will help it “weather the storm” of the pandemic.

Goodwood has long been considered the heart of Britain’s motoring enthusiast community. The annual Festival of Speed – which this year was scheduled to take place on 9-12 July – is regarded as the UK’s primary motor show.

Last year’s edition hosted important unveilings and public debuts from an array of manufacturers, including Bentley, Ford, Mercedes-AMG, Radical and Volkswagen.

The Revival and Members’ Meeting celebrate classic road and racing cars and provide a rare opportunity to see highly valuable historic metal being driven competitively, in many cases by well-known racers.

It’s expected that all three events will be able to return to a more conventional format in 2021, and any purchased tickets will remain valid.

Felix Page

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