Wednesday the 14th March is a day when Goodwood hosts a smaller and more intimate event, a combination of a mini Festival of Speed and Revival to give the media a glimpse of what to expect at this year’s events. 2012 is a special year for Lotus as they are the main sponsor of the Festival of Speed and as such will be designing the sculpture which forms the centerpiece of the event on the lawn in front of Goodwood House. No details of this are forthcoming, even after Lotus were lubricated with a glass of champagne so we’ll have to wait like everyone else to see what they come up with.
Lotus were, as is to be expected, appearing in force with a collection of classic F1 cars and contemporary models, complete with well known drivers to take the press up the famous Goodwood hillclimb course. From Classic Team Lotus were there with a collection of ex F1 cars including the Type 29, the bi-plane rear winged Type 76, the ground effect Type 88B and the Lamborghini V12 powered Type 102. From Lotus themselves we had ex-F1 driver Martin Donnelly driving the Evora S up the hill, Le Mans racer Johnny Mowlem was in Dany Bahar’s own black Evora GTE and Matt Becker was in the Exige S V6. Also in attendance was a very rare BMW powered Type 23B, an ex-Jim Clark Lotus Cortina, original Lotus 7 and famous Lotus Europa ‘snorkel’ car as driven by John Miles & Jackie Oliver in it’s past.
Lord March opened proceedings with an outline of what to look forward to this year. In addition to 7 F1 teams attending the FoS there will the usual Forest Rally stage, this year a Michelin Supercars event and also the Cartier Style et Lux will feature the Queen’s transportation including her cars, cars she’s used and even some Royal trains! There will be for the first time an aviation show both on the ground and in the air and an impression collection of 2 stroke racing bikes plus celebrations of 50 years of Brabham and 30 years of Group C racing. The theme for the year will be ‘Young Guns, Born to Win’ where we’ll see Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull F1 car and Mark Webber will drive the new Infiniti Emerg at it’s dynamic debut at the Festival. Expect to bump into Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton there too if you’re lucky.
The Revival will celebrate racing with a nod to the RAC Tourist Trophy and will also celebrate 50 years of the AC Cobra with a single model race at the event. They’ll be paying an homage to Dan Gurney as the featured driver and of course the Mercedes Benz Silver Arrows are being celebrated.
Catching up with Lotus at the media day it appears that the engineering side of the company is ever expanding. Their currently pipeline of upcoming consultancy work has expanded five-fold in the last quarter with expected revenues of £200m. Motorsport are also busy with 2012 featuring involvement in: F1, Indycar, American Le Mans, European Le Mans, LMP1, LMP2, British GT, German F3, ADAC Formula Master, Formula Monza and rallying. 2012 looks like it’s going to be non-stop for the team up at Hethel and their representatives on racetracks around the world.