51 Photos Of Porsche’s Birthday Party At The Goodwood Festival Of Speed
Photography by Nat Twiss
No matter where you were on the grounds of the Goodwood House last weekend, and despite the incredible efforts of every marque and owner who attended, there was really only one name on everyone’s lips: Porsche. From the moment you walked through the estate’s gates you were greeted by what might be one of Gerry Judah’s greatest-ever installations, a six pointed star, its points decked out in some of the most iconic Porsches from the manufacturer’s 70-year history of building sports cars.
More than perhaps any other of the sculptures over the years, this was truly a guiding star for the throngs of pilgrims flocking to the action on the driveway-cum-hillclimb course. And if the sculpture wasn’t enough to make you fall in love, the sound of flat sixes and twelves screaming up the hill would have done the trick too. I’m still in awe of these machines, even the ones I’ve seen before at this event and others—some cars you just don’t get tired of, and it happens that many of them wear the same crest.
Whether you prefer options from their modern portfolio like the 918 Hybrid to the near-991 Speedster concept, or their original machines like the 356, or their glorious Le Mans and Can-Am racers, or quirky third-party projects like the new Paul Smith and Sports Purpose “Art Car,” all the bases were covered at this year’s Festival of Speed. The impact of cars you’d be awestruck to see on their own is only amplified when they’re surrounded by a troupe of their relatives firing up their engines and turning the decibel levels in the tented paddock up to 11. The drivers at the wheel are the true icing on this sweet birthday cake though, with contemporary racers like Le Mans star and recent hotlapper Neel Jani alongside the the legendary Derek Bell and Jochen Mass, who helped galvanize the brand’s endurance racing success with the 956 and later the 962.
With such heritage and historical value in the Porsche car collection, one would completely understand if they spent the remainder of their years roped off in museums, or at the most, placed on the lawns at Pebble Beach. Instead, they’re handed to drivers who know how to push them, and sometimes too far—after finishing their runs, a 911 Cup car ran into the rear of a 962C. Quite an expensive fender bender I think, but nothing that won’t be fixed up promptly.
Between their runs up the hill, the cars gathered in front of Goodwood House with orchestral music blaring across the grounds and daytime fireworks exploding overhead. It was an interesting spectacle, but the pomp and circumstance would be nothing if the men and women from Stuttgart didn’t bring some great machines over to back up the party. They definitely didn’t take half measures on that front. This may just be the greatest gathering of Porsches this year, but we’ve still got the Rennsport Reunion later this fall…