“You drove within your limits and you didn’t crash,” he says. “So many people get carried away on their first run and come to grief on a corner.”
How to build an enormous sculpture
Gerry Judah has been here 17 times before. The giant sculpture that will serve as the centrepiece of this year’s Festival of Speed – and thus be viewed by more than 150,000 people over four days – is the 18th to be created on the lawn outside Goodwood House by the London-based sculptor and, as usual, it’s all his own work.The ‘own work’ thing may sound obvious, but it isn’t. Not necessarily.
As is well known, each year Goodwood’s mighty installation celebrates the spirit and values of a single manufacturer – this year Mazda – and car manufacturers come with designers of their own. Early in the piece, the Judah-client relationship can sometimes get a little tense.
“I need the company’s people to help me understand a client’s DNA, and something of their priorities, but I’m always the one who comes up with the idea,” says Judah. “That’s how it has always been. I’m a very good team player as long as the team does what I want.”
Judah is particularly happy with this year’s festival installation, a flame-like structure formed as a stack of gigantic steel piers, narrowing and twisting as it climbs, then cantilevering out and away from Goodwood House to suspend two of history’s most important Mazdas: the revered 787B Le Mans winner and the LM55 GT1 concept.
“The whole thing is safe but, like things I’ve done here before, there’s a sense of danger,” he says. “I think that’s an important element.”
The idea for stacked piers refers to a particular form of traditional Japanese construction and came from Judah’s contacts with Mazda. However, it is his relationship with Goodwood’s kingpin, Charles March, and with local engineering and fabrication experts, that steers each project.
Judah is already considering Goodwood’s 2016 centrepiece. Does he know how it will look? “Sure,” he replies, “but I’m not going to tell you.”
How to appreciate the art of drifting
For the first time, Goodwood will feature a special category dedicated to the art of drifting. A number of the discipline’s biggest names have lined up to take part, including festival stalwart Ken Block, who will be driving his 850bhp Ford Mustang, dubbed the ‘Hoonicorn’.
That’s pretty much all the reason you need to watch the drifters do their stuff up the hill on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
How to prepare a race car
The great thing about magnesium is that it’s strong and light, which makes it a great material from which to construct components in a racing car’s suspension. You get a lot of strength for a relatively low unsprung mass.
The bad thing about magnesium is that it’s so prone to corrosion that you don’t need salt water to make it oxidise – just air will do it.
So if it hasn’t been treated, or alloyed, from the start, it’ll just sit there, gently weakening.
This makes it a terrible thing to make a racing car’s suspension from, especially if you think you’re still going to be driving the car in 50 years’ time, and of course no one considers that. People make racing cars to win today. There’s one Porsche 917 with a magnesium chassis that now cannot be driven properly at all.