OVER THE last 25 years, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has seen many a phenomenal car roar its way past Goodwood House in the event’s timed runs. From pre-war Grand Prix veterans to the latest and greatest road and racing cars, some very special machines have been put through their paces on the 1.16-mile course.
With so many different vehicles being unleashed on the Goodwood hill since 1993, it’s unsurprising that there have been some quick runs, and here are the five fastest in the event’s first quarter century.
5 Justin Law, Jaguar XJR-8
- Year 2009
- Time 44.4sec
In 2008, Justin Law set a blistering time in the Jaguar XJR-8 (see below), a Group C sports prototype built for the 1987 World Sportscar Championship. In 2009, he wasn’t able to best his previous time but he still went quick enough to make the top five times in 25 years of the Festival of Speed.
4 Justin Law, Jaguar XJR8 (again)
- Year 2008
- Time 44.19sec
As mentioned above, this faster time of 44.19 seconds was set by Law in 2008 in the same XJR-8. It’s great to see this car getting extra limelight at Goodwood, though; although it won the driver and manufacturer titles in the 1987 World Sportscar Championship, it missed out on victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the crown jewel of endurance racing.
3 Romain Dumas, Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak
- Year 2018
- Time 43.86sec
Yes, 2018 saw a new entry in the top five fastest times ever at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Being the current Pikes Peak record holder, Romain Dumas and the Volkswagen ID R were odds-on to take an outright victory at the this year’s timed shootout. Sure enough, Dumas managed to blow onlookers away with an outright electric car record of 43.86 seconds, and the third fastest timed run ever.
It could have been faster, too: the VW ID R had qualified for the official shootout with a run of 43.05 seconds.
2 Graeme Wight Jr, Gould GR51
- Year 2003
- Time 42.90sec
When the 2002 British Hillclimb Champion Graeme Wight Jr rocked up to the following year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, many expected a quick time from the driver. Few would’ve expected him to get so close to the outright record, though — but that’s exactly what Wight Jr did when he completed his run of just 42.9sec in a Gould GR51 hillclimb-special.
1 Nick Heidfeld, McLaren MP4/13
- Year 1999
- Time 41.60sec
The fastest official hill climb run that Goodwood’s ever seen, though, is a time set by Nick Heidfeld all the way back in 1999.
Behind the wheel of the McLaren MP4/13 with which McLaren comfortably won the 1998 Formula One World Championship, Heidfeld went on to set a blisteringly quick time of just 41.6 seconds, at an average speed of just over 100mph.
With a ban now in place that prohibits F1 cars from setting timed runs, there’s a very good chance that Nick Heidfeld’s record will remain unbroken for the foreseeable future.
The top 10 fastest times at Goodwood Festival of Speed
|1||1999||Nick Heidfeld||McLaren MP4/13||41.60|
|2||2003||Graeme Wight, Jr.||Gould GR51||42.90|
|3||2018||Romain Dumas||Volkswagen I.D. R||43.86|
|4||2008||Justin Law||Jaguar XJR8/9||44.19|
|5||2009||Justin Law||Jaguar XJR8/9||44.40|
|6||2008||Anthony Reid||Williams-Cosworth FW07B||44.58|
|7||2014||Sébastien Loeb||Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak||44.60|
|8||2012||Gary Ward||Leyton House-Judd CG901B||44.64|
|9||2015||Olly Clark||Subaru Impreza “Gobstopper II”||44.91|
|10||1996||Jonathan Palmer||Williams FW07B||45.00|
Bonus 1: Allan McNish, Toyota TF102
- Year 2002
- Time 41.565sec
Nick Heidfeld may have the official fastest ever Goodwood hillclimb time, but there is one car and driver combo that managed to just about pip that incredible run.
In 2002, Allan McNish managed to thread his Toyota TF102 Formula One car up the course in a time of 41.565sec.
As the ban on timed runs for F1 cars was in place ahead of 2002, though, Allan McNish’s incredible drive isn’t officially recognised as the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s fastest ever hill climb attempt.
These days, F1 cars aren’t timed up the hill and instead are left to do spectacular burnouts to please the crowds.
Bonus 2: Peter Dumbreck, Nio EP9
- Year 2018
- Time 44.32sec
Petrol power had comfortably dominated previous Festival of Speed timed shootouts, but a changing of the guard was seemingly in order at Goodwood this year.
As of 2018, the fastest ever road car up the hillclimb course was powered purely by electricity, with the 1,320bhp Nio EP9 (as driven by Le Mans veteran Peter Dumbreck) setting an incredibly brisk time of 44.32 seconds.
Had Dumbreck not dipped two of the Nio’s wheels onto the grass, he’d have almost certainly gone even faster.