Indianapolis 500 to be honored at famed English racing festival
Dario Franchitti joked that he'd like to find a two-seater race car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed so he could drive his mother up the hill. Or was he joking?
The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion, current points leader and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion is joining other series drivers and Indy 500 winners at the annual event in West Sussex, England.
He'll drive a Lotus 38 that his racing hero, Jim Clark, drove to a runner-up finish in the Indianapolis 500 in 1966 and the 2008 Indy 500-winning car of Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon. Not to worry; Dixon will drive the car, too, on another day of the three-day event.
"I've driven on the Revival track, which is the racetrack, and we're doing the Festival circuit, which is a demonstration up the hill," Franchitti said. "It's a special place and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to going as a fan. I'm going to take my camera and walk amongst all the cars and meet all the great drivers - rally drivers and motorbike riders - that I admire."
The Goodwood Festival of Speed - known as FoS in western Europe - is a celebration of vintage motorsports and road cars, airplanes and equal part garden party on the grounds of Goodwood House, the Earl of March's ancestral home. The theme is 100 years of racing at Indianapolis. Lord March watched the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 in person on May 29.
Fourteen other Indianapolis 500 winners will drive open-wheel racing cars at Goodwood: Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Arie Luyendyk, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr., Eddie Cheever Jr., Kenny Brack, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon, Danny Sullivan and Bobby Rahal.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, Penske Racing, Parnelli Jones and numerous private collectors have provided cars that will be part of the FoS - either driven or on display, including the 1911 Marmon Wasp, 1949 Blue Crown Special, 1986 Rahal winning car, 1970 Al Unser winning car, 1968 Joe Leonard Pole winning car, 1974 Johnny Rutherford winning car, 1980 Johnny Rutherford winning car, 1983 Al Unser Jr. Indy 500 rookie car, 1981 Bobby Unser winning car, 2008 Scott Dixon winning car.
A replica Yard of Bricks was installed as the starting line for the hill climb, and course marshals will be outfitted as "Yellow Shirts."
"The Goodwood Festival of Speed is something I look forward to each and every year," three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser said. "Lord March sure knows how to put on a show and with the Indy 500 being showcased this year this is something I didn't want to miss. I always enjoy my time here. Driving my 1981 winning car up the hill will be really, really fun and be super special for me and all the fans that come out to this amazing event."