Nick Mason returns to Goodwood Festival of Speed
Written by Matt   
Monday, 29 June 2009

fos_2008_nick_2The Goodwood Festival Of Speed is a must-attend annual celebration of motor racing held in Sussex on an Earl's estate. Gathering cars (and bikes), drivers, and enthusiasts from all over the world, the event celebrates motor racing from the very early days, through to the very latest F1 cars. It is held in the grounds of Lord March's estate, near Chichester, Sussex, in the south of England, and has static displays, demonstration runs, and timed runs, up the hill past Goodwood House.

Nick Mason is a regular each year, having driven a range of classic cars from his and other's collections. At this year's event - being held this weekend (from July 3rd to 5th) - he will be taking the wheel of an Auto Union D-type - an incredibly rare classic, Grand Prix winning racing car from 1939, which should excite many of the petrolheads in the 150,000-strong crowd! Last year, he took another, earlier D-type up the hill [click thumbnail, left], and he remarked that it was "fairly good for an old banger!"

Talking recently about the upcoming event in The Times, Nick said: "This is a real thrill for me. Auto Union, for the uninitiated, is the forebear of today's Audi. The company made its name in the golden age of pre-war grand prix racing and, along with Mercedes, dominated the sport. Well, until Ross Brawn came onto the scene, that is. For racing fans, the idea of getting behind the wheel of a car from that time is pretty much as good as it gets.

fos2008: nick mason"Of course, despite the D-type's place in the car-maker's history, any similarity to a modern Audi is hard to discern. Once a D-type is running, the noise is terrific. These are quite big engines — 3-litre V12 with a supercharger — and the cars tend to have stub exhausts and no silencing of any sort.

"Funnily enough, I think it would be far more intimidating to drive a modern F1 car, because there are so many things to concentrate on. Compared with the information a modern F1 driver has, there's very little to look at: a rev counter, an oil-pressure gauge, a temperature gauge and that's it. And there's definitely no speedometer — that would be far too frightening."

Nick's thoughts about taking it a little slower than he normally would are clear. "This year, in an original, which is probably one of the most valuable cars at the show (and there is some pretty stiff competition for that title) I think I will be taking things a lot easier. It would be truly horrific to damage the car — and not just from a financial point of view: I don't think I would ever forgive myself for damaging a piece of racing history."

To see Nick driving the D-type in last year's event, click the thumbnail to the right.

Full details of the Festival can be found at, where you can also still purchase your tickets for the event. Entrance is by advance ticket only, and there is plenty of free parking to be found at the venue, reached easily from the main A27 coast road in Sussex.

In 2004, a lavish book was written to commemorate the Festival, and included within its pages is an article by Nick Mason, along with pictures of him at the event. Click here to see our review of the book.