Thursday, 23 June 2011

GOODWOOD CONFIRMS INDY 500 CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS AT 2011 FESTIVAL OF SPEED

Authentic Indy 500 bricks at Goodwood to become a permanent feature.


In little more than a week, over 40 significant and rarely-seen Indy 500 race cars will assemble at the annual Festival of Speed (30 June – 3 July), as Goodwood stages the largest centenary celebration of this great American race outside of the USA.

In anticipation of the arrival of the first shipment of Indy cars from the USA, Festival of Speed founder Lord March has laid the first of a number of genuine 1911 Indy bricks - sent over especially from Indianapolis for the Goodwood celebrations – at the iconic Festival hillclimb start line.

The famous Indianapolis bricks are significant as the Indiana track’s surface was made up of 3.2million of these bricks, ultimately leading to its nickname of ‘The Brick Yard.’ The authentic Indy 500 bricks at Goodwood will now become a permanent feature of the 1.16-mile West Sussex hillclimb.

As with the Indy 500 grid, 33 Indy cars will be lined-up on the Goodwood hillclimb to reflect the number that traditionally start the 500-mile race. A total of over 40 Indy cars will be displayed together in the Festival’s Formula One Paddock to create Goodwood’s very own ‘Gasoline Alley’.

Most of the cars will be appearing in the UK for the very first time, as will many of the famous Indianapolis drivers, all accompanied by the fanfare and pageantry that is synonymous with the world’s biggest single-day sporting event, so Festival goers can expect real razzamatazz, with music, colour and wild flag waving.

Indy 500 drivers in attendance at Goodwood will include the winners of the last five Indianapolis, plus 14 winners, victorious in 25 races, including the 2011 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon. He will be joined by three-time champion Helio Castroneves, Indy legends Bobby Unser and Al Unser Junior, Bobby Rahal, driving his 1986 Indy 500-winning March 86C, plus Gil de Ferran in his 2003 Indy-winning Penske and Dario Franchitti, driving the Lotus 38 that Jim Clark drove to second place in the 1966 race.

Indy car highlights include the 1911 Marmon ‘Wasp’, 1928 Miller Special, 1947 Deidt-Offenhauser ‘Blue Crown Special’, 1968 Lotus-Pratt & Whitney 56 ‘STP Special’, 1970 PJ-Ford ‘Johnny Lightening Special’, 1980 Chaparral-Cosworth 2K and 1994 Penske-Mercedes PC23. An example of the 2011 Indy 500 Pace Car – a Chevrolet Camaro convertible – will lead the pack.

Commenting on Goodwood’s Indianapolis centenary celebrations, Lord March says: “I am delighted that we are able to honour this momentous anniversary. American motor sport has always been an important element of the Festival of Speed, and there is no bigger event in the American sporting calendar than the Indianapolis 500. To be able to honour the centenary in such a major way, and now have a bit of Indianapolis permanently at Goodwood with the start line bricks is a real honour.”

Source: Goodwood

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Following the format of the authors’ award-winning The British at Le Mans, this book recounts the history of the Indianapolis 500 race through the eyes and actions of those British-born or British citizens who have driven in it, or been involved in any way – be it as designer, mechanic, or official. More info.