Thursday evening, thunder and lightning made for a spectacular reveal of the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed Central Feature that revealed this year’s Honored Marque. BMW took center stage the world’s most luxurious motoring event, celebrating 100 years of BMW, just as promised. The evening may not have been the most interesting moment for car enthusiasts around the world but what awaited throughout the next days was truly spectacular.
Epitomizing this year’s Festival of Speed theme, ‘Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power’, the magnificent Central Feature was made of three sweeping steel forms put together in a celebration of speed and dynamism. BMW’s myriad motorsport successes are represented on each arm, with the legendary BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster, the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham-BMW BT52, and the Le Mans-winning BMW V12 LMR featured.
Visitors were able to see and hear many products from BMW’s past that continue to leave their mark on the company today. Cars steering their way up Goodwood’s famous 1.16-mile course included a beautiful 1957 BMW 507, the Mille Miglia-winning BMW 328 Touring Coupé from 1940, and a 1965 BMW 1800 TI/SA – an early example of BMW’s unparalleled success in touring car racing. Meanwhile, motorcycle enthusiasts were treated to an array of classic and modern bikes including a 1966 BMW R50 S Kaczor, a 1976 BMW R90S TT and legendary WR750 Kompressor from 1929.
Unfortunately, the promised opening run of Lord March aboard a 1957 BMW 507 Roadster didn’t happen, instead the host of the Festival of Speed completing the run aboard a brand new BMW i8. However, those who wanted to admire the 507 in the metal, had the chance to do so nonetheless, when it arrived at Goodwood and dazzled the crowd with its red paint.
BMW’s centenary celebrations continued until the last day, as 28 automobiles from its rich motorsport history took to the Hill, most driven by past works drivers. Cars ranged from the sublime pre-war 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé to the latest M6 GT3 via a be-winged M1 Procar and a raft of BMW-engined Brabham F1 cars. BMW old boys in attendance include the likes of Marc Surer, Harald Grohs, Johnny Cecotto, Yannick Dalmas and the irrepressible Allesandro Zanardi.
British ace Steve Soper was reunited with the BMW-engined McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ which he drove at Le Mans in 1997. He enthused after his run up the Hill. ‘I”spent the early part of my career wanting to drive for BMW, and then enjoyed so many years as a factory driver. BMW really understands motor racing. It just gets it.”
Fortunately, we have a complete photo gallery for those that couldn’t be there, as you’d do well to check it out, in its entirety, below.