Goodwood’s hill tamed by Subaru and Noble

The 1.16 mile Goodwood Hillclimb saw the spoils go to Time Attack and Pikes Peak machines again this year, with a winged Subaru taking the ultimate prize.

On Sunday, Britain’s Olly Clark, son of four-time British Rally Champion Roger Clark, won the Top 10 Shootout in his 769bhp Subaru Impreza. Dubbed “Gobstopper II”, the time attack car did it in 44.91 seconds.

Second and third respectively went to Jean-Phillippe Dayraut in his Mini Pikes Peak, and Rod Millen in a Toyota Celica Pikes Peak.

In the Supercar Run on Saturday, Anthony Reid took the win in 51.33 seconds in a Noble M600; 0.78 seconds faster than Chris Ward’s Lexus LFA. Third went to the Aston Martin GT12 driven by the carmaker’s Chief Engineer of Vehicle Attributes, Matt Becker.

All comers still have a long way to go to beat the course record, set in ‘99 by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren Formula One car (when McLaren was fast), with a 41.6.

Goodwood 2015 Day 1 Highlights

The first day of the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed has seen more action than an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie night, with debuts, crashes, world records, and some amazing metal on display at the annual carlover’s pilgrimage.

Highlights from the famous Goodwood hillclimb included the 2010 F1 V10 with Kimi Raikkonen taking on the clock; the 854hp Mustang of Ken Block from his latest Gymkhana flick burned some fat rubber, the latter also driving the new Ford Focus RS in its debut; and a fleet of Mercedes-Benz 300SLR’s led by Sir Stirling Moss.

Nissan’s world record was also set on the hillclimb by stunt driver Terry Grant in a Juke NISMO RS, breaking his own 2011 record for driving up the hill on two wheels by 35 seconds in a 2:10 lap.

In not so good news, the 001 chassis 767B Le Mans Mazda of Seniji Hoshino hit the hay bales at speed, wrecking the beautiful GTP-winning vehicle and breaking hearts of the Mazda fans. The Japanese car marque heading the famous Goodwood sculpture display this year, with the car’s successor, the Le Mans winning 787B, featuring on the statue. Hopefully the 767B can be repaired and restored.

Goodwood hits the go button

Goodwood 2015 is go, with the Earl of March opened the event behind the wheel of the new 2015 Mazda MX-5 roadster up the 1.16-mile Hillclimb course.

Why the MX-5 and not the Focus RS, or Brits Bentley, Aston-Martin, or Jaguar?  This year, Mazda has the famous Central Feature outside Goodwood House, with two of its iconic racing cars adorning the 37-meter high feature - the Mazda 787B and LM55 Vision Gran Turismo Concept. The Mazda 787B was the only Japanese car to ever score an overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will see 21 brand-new models making their first UK public appearances, three of those from Mazda alone.

Aston’s CEO to debut GT12 at Goodwood

Aston Martin will use the Goodwood Festival of Speed to mark the home-town debut of its fabulous Vantage GT12.

Dubbed GT3 on its worldwide reveal at Geneva this year, the GT12 was forcibly renamed after Porsche claimed dibs on the nameplate. The GT12 caries the 600-odd horsepower 6.0-litre V12 engine, and weighs 120kg less than the V12 Vantage S.

Aston Martin’s CEO Andy Palmer will drive a GT12 up the hillclimb. Considering all 100 examples are already sold, we wonder who said yes to such a venture?

Aston Martin will also have the Lagonda Taraf carbon fiber four-seater, the Vantage S Roadster, Rapide S, and the Vantage GTE Art Car from the recent Le Mans 24hr on display.

Lap times banned at The Ring?

The Koenigsegg One:1 is admittedly an insane car. One would need to be quite the driver to tame both it and the Nurburgring Nordschleife in the one run, and also aim to beat the Porsche 918 Spyder’s sub-7 minute lap time. But is the very thought enough to scare Ring management into banning the attempt, and future manufacturer attempts at the Ring production car record?

According to a production company setting up a doco on the Koenigsegg attempt, they are. The documentary crew were set to fly out when Ring management called to veto the attempt

Speed limits have been put into operation at parts of the track as a reaction to a spectator losing their life after the Nissan GT-R of Jann Mardenborough became airborne in a recent VLN race.

While it may just be the speed restrictions that stay in place rather than an outright banning of all record attempts, it still could be the end of an era - and the end of bragging rights for manufacturers - at the famous Nordschleife.

Mid-race refuels rejected by F1 principals

Despite yet another monotonous Formula 1 race in Canada this past weekend, it would appear the attempt to reinvigorate the sport by bringing back mid-race refuelling has hit its first hurdle.

Proposed by the Formula One Strategy Group, mid-race refuels would undoubtedly bring back some excitement, switching up the order mid-race, allowing the cars to race at full pelt without conservation (another big part of the processional boredom that was Canada, and previous GPs this year), and of course, the cars would be lighter and faster.

Overnight, it was revealed that all of the F1 team principals have rejected the idea. However, the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council gets to make the final decision. Stay tuned.

Race director spanks unruly F3 drivers, cans Monza race

The race directors and driving standards observers at race meetings have a heck of a job trying to keep racer egos in check while enforcing the rules of sportsmanship. They wield great power from the control room, and their decisions can dictate the direction of a race like no other.

But it is very rare that they see such atrocious driving, that the race is canceled altogether.

This is precisely what happened at last weekend’s Fia F3 European Champs round at Monza. In an embarrassing move, the race was shut down completely by the stewards after three races over the weekend went from bad to worse to downright terrible.

By all reports, the first Saturday race was tame and uneventful, however the second saw two rollovers and the safety car deployed three times, ending the race under the red flag with only half of the laps completed.

A driver’s briefing followed, with all competitors warned by the race director to pull themselves together for the Sunday races. Unfortunately, some seemed not to heed this advice. After two safety cars in only nine laps, the race was red flagged. It was a big call, particularly as race director Nils Wittich was a stand in for the usual series’ director.

“During the briefing we informed the drivers that it was not acceptable or the way we want to present F3,” Wittich said in an interview with Autosport. “I was talking with the stewards and they said this is the only way to do it – you could see pushing on the straight and overtaking manoeuvres off the track.”

Consider your wrists firmly slapped, young would-be F1 upstarts!

Do you even drift at Goodwood

In a sign of the times, the infamous Goodwood hillclimb will see a specific category for the sideways.

The brand new Catch My Drift category will see Ken Block go head-to-head with Mad Mike Whiddett, the Gymkhana star bringing his 850bhp Ford Mustang to the fray, while Mad Mike will be armed with his quad-rotary RX-7.

Other drift identities include Buttsy Butler (Toyota Soarer), four members of the Drift Allstars team including continuous drift record holder James Deane and his Nissan 200SX S14 (Deane’s record was set at 17.72 miles), Poland’s 2014 Drift champion Piotr Wiecek and his 1000bhp Budmat R34 Skyline, and Norway drifting star Joachim Waargaard debuting his BMW M4.

Ken Block to debut new RS at FoS

Mister Gymkhana himself, Ken Block, will debut the latest Ford Focus RS at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 25-28.

Block was on hand for the global launch of the new Focus RS, even launching it with a Gymkhana-style video. Check out the vid HERE.

The new RS moves from its Volvo/Ford 300hp inline five to the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo four derived from the new Mustang, but with a different turbo setup, tune and cams/internal componentry bringing hp to around 315 horses.

Block not only races Fords, builds spectacular cars and stunts for his Hoonigan videos and cult car drifting gymkhanas, but he also runs select rounds of the World Rally Championship. He should feel right at home on the 1.16-mile Goodwood Hillclimb course.

Seat wagon its tail at the Ring

An estate has set a sub-eight minute time at the Nurburgring; and believe it or not, it’s a Seat.

The Leon ST Cupra 280 made the sprint in 7min 58.12sec. This is three-tenths faster than their hot hatch, the latter having the same drivetrain but the advantage of a much smaller boot(y) and 45kg less weight.

The record was set with the 276bhp 2-litre TSI engine matched to the DSG gearbox, put through the front wheels.

With half the paws and half the cylinders of the previous record holder, the Audi RS4, and shaving 11 seconds off in the process, theres no doubt the Germans will hit back hard, and soon.