This coming weekend, Ed Berrier, my longtime racing partner (and JKS Incorporated’s Fabricator and Motorsports Coordinator), and I will be making the trek across the Atlantic Ocean to compete in our eighth Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Held in the beautiful countryside surrounding Goodwood House in West Sussex, England, the Festival of Speed was founded by the Duke of Richmond in 1993 as a way to bring racing back to the Goodwood estate—a location steeped in British motor racing history. Over the past thirty years, the weekend-long event has continued to cultivate an impossibly heady mixture of cars, motorcycles, and drivers and has come to be known as the only attraction of its kind that showcases more than a century of racing history through competition.
The Festival of Speed is perhaps best known for its 1.17-mile-long Hillclimb Track. The infamous run features a series of challenges, including an average gradient of 4.9%, the left-handed Molecomb corner, a sweep around the daunting Flint Wall, and a narrow rush to the finish line.
Eighth Time’s the Charm
In the past decade, Ed and I have competed in the Festival of Speed seven times. Each year we’ve gotten more and more comfortable with the tracks at the Goodwood estate.
Last year, at the wheel of a brand-new build, Ed took home a second-place finish in his division with a time of 51.38 seconds—only .06 seconds behind the first-place winner. The car, which we nicknamed 007, was hand-built inside our fabrication shop with the Hillclimb Track in mind.
With all of our calculations, the absolute best the car would have ever run on the Hillclimb Track—if you did everything perfectly—was 47 seconds flat. With Ed running at 51.38 seconds, he used up 92% of the car.
This year, Ed is determined to cut the corner on the second turn a little closer and shave 4.38 seconds off his time to secure a first-place win.
Honoring NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary
In addition to marking the 30th anniversary of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2023 honors the 75th anniversary of NASCAR. In celebration, Ed’s car has been wrapped to commemorate the sport’s diamond anniversary.
The wrap is even more fitting when you consider that Ed is a second-generation NASCAR driver. He participated in all three national series of the sport in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Ed was the only NASCAR driver (former or present) that ran in the timed runs last year at Goodwood and will be the only one for this year’s event as well.
While Ed is behind the wheel of his No. 75 2022 Chevrolet Camaro, I will be driving a No. 1 “Winston” 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.
In 2003, at the end of the Winston Cup Series, this car closed out the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s 33-year sponsorship with NASCAR at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway. Following Matt Kenseth’s Championship victory, Richard Petty drove this exact 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona while Kennseth’s team owner, Jack Roush, followed in a 2003 Ford Taurus for “The Victory Lap”—the final Winston Cup Series lap ever.
As an added bonus, we’ve also prepared Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s No. 3 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for our European friends to drive in exhibition runs.
Each year we have our cars sent over to the U.K. in shipping containers—it usually takes them two or three weeks to make the trek across the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily for me and Ed, the trip is a little shorter and we’ll be on our way in a couple of days.