The sweet smell of exhaust fumes and near-deafening roars of engines fill the air — the three-day Festival of Speed has officially gotten under way. This is more than just a motoring event. It’s the product of one man’s passion for all things automotive, fueled by hundreds of thousands of the worshiping faithful. Lord March, as Charles Gordon-Lennox is called, took possession of the 12,000-acre Goodwood Estate in 1993 and almost immediately started the Festival in the name of bringing racing back to its traditional home in West Sussex. He’s effectively created a playground for both the annual event’s spectators and its drivers.
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The main event is the Hillclimb, where fans can watch up close as a wide range of vehicles — from a high-tech Nissan GT-R Nismo to a historic Porsche 917 to a Nascar Sprint Cup Car — barrel up the 1.16-mile course. But the festival isn’t just raw speed. There’s car culture here, too. As motorbikes and cars duke it out for record times on the track, the Cartier Style et Luxe, a respectable Concours of its own, takes place on the grounds of Goodwood, where the likes of blood red vintage Ferraris and hulking Mustang GT350s share space on the grass. Fascinated children can step away from the noise of the Hillclimb and remove their ear protection to enjoy the forefathers of today’s far more potent race cars. Whatever your fancy, you’ll likely find the right motoring flavor to keep you satisfied at Goodwood. God bless you, Lord March.