Nick Mason at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Written by Matt   
Saturday, 03 July 2004

Last weekend (June 25th-27th 2004) saw Pink Floyd's Nick Mason making his annual pilgrimage to the wonderful Goodwood Festival Of Speed, which is held on Lord March's front lawn in Sussex. The event involves the finest vehicles from all over the world coming together with the finest drivers, who drive up a hill trying to miss hay bales and stone walls, whilst trying to beat the time set by others.

There were doubts about the event this year, after 80mph storm winds hit the Goodwood estate just 36 hours before it was due to start. Marquees and tents were ripped from the ground, grandstands were damaged, advertising hoardings were ripped off, and fencing and trees were damage, littering the track. The team there had 36 hours to repair what took almost a month to build - but they did it, and Friday saw an immaculate site.

Nick was asked what he was driving over the weekend. "Well, er... rather glamorously, I think I'm not driving at all! I seem to be [being] constantly replaced; I was going to bring the 512S, but then [Lord] Charles [March, owner of Goodwood] called and asked whether I'd bring the Porsche instead so that Bruno Giacomelli could drive. I think Bruno's the most marvelous character, and it would be wonderful to see him in the car. So I said, 'OK, well, we'll do that'. And then I got ANOTHER call saying, could I bring the T3 Ferrari, with the idea that Jacques Villeneuve might drive it. Now, since this was the car that his father won the Canadian Grand Prix in '78, I would ACTUALLY rather watch Jacques driving up the hill in that car, than drive it myself!"

Talking about that call from Lord March, asking for the Ferrari: "We dithered, we weren't sure that we could get the car ready in time, but I'm just so pleased that we brought it, because it was very emotional, it was just the most wonderful thing to see a great racing driver, who had a great racing driver father, driving this very important car."

On not driving during the weekend: "I am being le patron [loosely "the owner"] this weekend and it's GREAT! I had a glass of wine at lunchtime yesterday and it was SO wild, I can't tell you!! My wife Annette's driving the Bugatti Type 35 [pictured here, left and below], I brought the 962 Porsche that I ran at Le Mans in 1990 with Richard Lloyd. We ran the car with Bruno Giacomelli driving, with John Watson and Alan Burg. Bruno is back here driving the car, which is lovely, and he STILL has his race suit that he had in 1990, and he can still fit in the race suit - which is a lot more than I can say about MY 1990 race suit!"

When asked if he was planning to appear at September's Revival Meeting (also held in the grounds of Goodwood, at the race track there), Nick remarked "I would assume so, but I haven't decided what yet. The GTO is still in need of a little bit of repair after last time...[a crash in his priceless Ferrari 250 GTO, at the 2003 Revival meeting]"

What's happening on the music front? "Well, nothing new, I'd have to say. I'm hoping that we're going to have a DVD out of the last concert that we did... four... five or six years ago, now [actually, 10 years ago - 1994!]. It was released on video but we've been putting it into DVD format which is, I have to say, stunning - the quality is just SO much better, and of course then it comes then with 5.1 sound which is also terrific. That was intended to be out last Christmas but I think we ARE going to get it out this year."

For many people the Goodwood Festival Of Speed is a chance to see some of their you find that's still the case for you? "Oh, definitely, yes. What's great is after 10 years, they even recognise me and say 'Hi Nick' which is FANTASTIC! I have to work very hard not to simper! [quiet laugh]"

In one of the Festival's most significant moments, Jacques Villeneuve wore his father's helmet to drive the Grand Prix-winning Ferrari up the Goodwood hill. "It was really great, and very special, even if it was short," the former World Champion commented. "I never thought I would do this. It's something you do once in a lifetime, and that's what it will remain. This run was like thank you and goodbye to my Dad."

He enjoyed the experience of driving a car from an earlier era. "The safety levels aren't exactly the same but it doesn't feel like an old car. I could still imagine racing in it."

Our thanks to the organisers of the event for their help in another memorable weekend, and especially to Alan Hyde and the rest of the team at FoS Radio 2004 for sorting us out with the Nick Mason interviews!