One of Goodwood’s Best Events Is Unofficial: The Hill Climb Turnaround
Some fun moments happen here that don't seem to draw the biggest crowds, but is a cool feature nonetheless.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of the biggest annual automotive events on the calendar. Supercars, racing cars, old and new, are on exhibition at the hands of some elite drivers. They zoom up a famous hill and then… they have to turn around. The hill climb is cool to watch, but sometimes the turnaround is just as entertaining.
I love learning about not-as-well-known features of various famous automotive events and race tracks around the world. You know, things that seasoned attendees flock to that aren’t loudly shouted from marketing and PR offices. At Road America in Wisconsin, it’s tradition to eat gigantic bratwursts and drink New Glarus beer. At Buttonwillow Raceway Park, it’s customary to pay a visit to the best BBQ restaurant in California, Willow Ranch.
Elsewhere in the world, there are activities that are kind of in-the-know and lesser-known to the general population, and not just great food you must stuff your face with and get fat on (like I always do at Buttonwillow). The turnaround at the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb is one of the best examples.
Goodwood is world-renowned known for its historic hill climb, but it seems like not many people know about this slightly behind the scenes part of it. This year, some great little moments were captured:
This simple turnaround is a neat little skid pad for anyone brave enough to rip a quick little drift/powerslide. Luckily in the video above, nothing bad happens, like a priceless GT1 car smashing into a vintage Group B rally car, or some kind of similar horrifying incident.
What’s cool is it says a lot about the car and driver. The old, early ’90s GT1 and prototype cars need help turning around, because they either don’t have a reverse gear, have way-too-big of a turning radius, or both. Some cars have really tiny turning radiuses, whereas other have massive ones, which you wouldn’t expect.
Some drivers rip the teeniest of power slides or don’t do one at all. Possibly due to a lack of tail-out talent, but probably, actually due to just not being into such hooliganry. Or, they don’t want to chance damaging a priceless vintage race car. A more recent LMP car has some trouble coming off the clutch in first; woe betides that poor gearbox and the techs who service it next.
The best donut by far, though, was done by a McLaren GT — this is the least-wild new McLaren, and the driver even waves his hand out the window while doing more than one complete three-sixty. God bless that man. Of course, any car that’s designed for sideways racing lines has a ball; pretty much every rally car rips a nice little donut, and all of the drift cars go hog-wild.
Here’s another fun one from 2016. Of course the NASCARs have no issue lighting up their rear ends.
And another from 2018. Naturally, the bikes don’t wait patiently for, or give enough room to, the F1 car. It’s also got a ton of cool vintage 1970s/1980s F1 car content, including crew members in tow with portable starters!
People went absolutely wild in 2019 — this YouTube video covering it has 28 million views!
The cherry on top is it’s just so cool to see all of these cars at low speed, from several angles, and hear the aggression in their wild, un-happy-anywhere-below-redline powerplants.
So if you didn’t know about Goodwood’s turnaround, you’re welcome! One more reason to keep your eyes open for good images out of this event.