The Goodwood Festival of Speed unveiled its new Central Feature courtesy of Mercedes-Benz on Thursday, June 26, to the delight of the gathered crowd. According to Goodwood via press release on Friday, June 27, Lord March said this year's feature is the "most architecturally and artistically challenging sculpture that we’ve ever had at Goodwood."
The sculpture soars 85 feet (26 meters) over Goodwood House. Weighing 160 tons and nearly an American football-field length long (90 meters), the feature was unveiled by both Goodwood's Lord March and Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic, Michael Bock.
Created by artist Gerry Judah, Goodwood says "the sculpture is the most complex and ambitious yet conceived at Goodwood and is a fitting celebration of 120 years of motorsport participation by Mercedes-Benz."
Swooping over Goodwood House, the curve – which spans 50 yards (45 meters) – tested the artistic and engineering ingenuity of the team of specialists assigned to making Gerry Judah’s concept a reality.
Two cars spanning 80 years form an integral part of the sculpture – a replica of the 1934 Mercedes-Benz W 25 Silver Arrow of the kind raced by Manfred von Brauchitsch to victory at the Nurburgring Nordschleife and a MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 W04, the same chassis raced by Lewis Hamilton in 15 Grand Prix in 2013.
The newer race car forms a part of recent racing history in its own right. It took Mercedes Formula 1 driver and Brit, Lewis Hamilton, to five pole positions and to victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mercedes-Benz's Michael Bock commented, "The sculpture goes beyond my wildest expectations. It’s truly amazing and an apt focal point for what promises to be a vibrant celebration of the most thrilling, most charismatic and most beautiful racing machines ever created. Our support of the Festival of Speed is stronger than ever this year as we celebrate 120 years since Daimler-powered cars won the first motorsport events in 1894. These tentative first steps set us on a course that’s led us to where we are today – here’s to the next 120 years of thriving competition, both on and off the track."
In unveiling the sculpture, Lord March commented, "This year’s Central Feature is the most architecturally and artistically challenging sculpture that we’ve ever had at Goodwood and it’s a testament to the out-of-the-box thinking of Gerry Judah, which is very much aligned with our philosophy of constant innovation around the Festival of Speed. The result is a truly
spectacular sight for all our Festival of Speed visitors to view"
The unveiling was accompanied by an evening fireworks show and a fleet of Mercedes-Benz road and race cars making a dramatic run up the Goodwood Hill as the sun set.
A century-old Mercedes Grand Prix car, an SSK from 1928, the "mighty" W 196 R from 1955 and a "fire-breathing" Sauber-Mercedes C9 from 1989 joined by a SLS AMG Black Series, emerged from the darkness with glowing bodywork for the occasion, according to the estate.
All five cars were joined by an array of iconic Mercedes-Benz cars from over the decades.
Track action at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed begins on Friday. The entire festival runs through Sunday, June 29.