The motorsport calendar has been impeded largely by the ongoing pandemic, with almost every event being cancelled or postponed until next year. Goodwood, along with many other organisers had to make the difficult decision to postpone the 78th Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed and the Revival. But all was not lost, as the West Sussex estate came alive with the sound of roaring engines again for Goodwood SpeedWeek, an event combining every discipline of motorsport for a three-day extravaganza!
Much to everybody’s disappointment, the event was closed to the public but was streamed live, which was a worthwhile sacrifice instead of having no motoring events at Goodwood during 2020. The live streams hosted many exciting happenings, presented by Dermot O’Leary, Mark Webber, Rory Reid and Siân Welby along with guests such as Keanu Reeves and Jay Leno to make SpeedWeek more than “just a live-streamed event”! Throughout the three-day festival, the Goodwood Motor Circuit hosted racing cars from pre-1923 monsters of the S.F. Edge Trophy to Group B rally cars in the SpeedWeek Super Special rally stage. The event featured many fan favourite races from the Goodwood Revival such as the RAC TT Celebration and the Gerry Marshall Trophy along with many thrilling supercar debuts. Goodwood introduced the first Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy race at SpeedWeek, previously the Kinrara Trophy featuring pre-1963 GT cars. As always, the race was a highlight of the festival, with some of the most beautiful and eye-wateringly expensive cars battling around the rapid circuit in memory of the late, great Sir Stirling Moss who died in April 2020.
The Vintage Bentley team attended Goodwood SpeedWeek with the 1936 Bentley Pacey-Hassan Special to tear up the tarmac in the Goodwood Trophy. The raucous Bentley raced alongside the 1934 Bentley Barnato-Hassan Special, Bugatti Type 51s, numerous ERAs and a glamorous Alfa Romeo 308c. The Pacey-Hassan Special put on a great show of power during the race, clipping both of the chicane walls and thundering around the circuit to bring home the car’s best lap time of 1 minute 43 seconds, which is highly respectable for a car made to tackle the Brooklands banked racing circuit!
A first for Goodwood was The Shootout; a rare opportunity to see unbelievably rapid race cars storm around the circuit as fast as they can, vying to break the outright circuit record of Nick Padmore in a Lola T70 Spyder set in 2015. Typically contemporary F1 and LMP-style machinery are limited to demonstration laps due to the limited run-off space at the largely original Goodwood Motor Circuit. However, due to the nature of the live-streamed event, Goodwood was awakened with F1 cars such as a Lotus-Cosworth 91 and the Arrows-Ford A11 racing at full pelt. Nick Padmore managed to improve on his previous record, with a new outright circuit record of 1 minute and 9 seconds. A record that will most definitely stand for some time!
Goodwood SpeedWeek provided a much needed few days of booming engine notes and squealing tyres to claim back what would’ve been a year of limited motorsport. The impossible was pulled off, an event that was carefully planned to stick to the strict government guidelines yet giving fans their fix of Goodwood racing. While the event didn’t provide the lively and vibrant atmosphere that the Festival of Speed and Revival are known for, Speed Week will go down in history as a significant and unforgettable event in a momentous year.