Pending a city contract, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is coming to Miami Beach, promising to bring luminaries of the world of racing, car collectors and exhibitors, with a focus on the future of transportation and the end of fossil fuels usage.
Established by the current Duke of Richmond in his Goodwood House in Chichester, West Sussex, South of England, 30 years ago, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the largest celebration of motorsports, automobile design and car culture in the world, said Tim Bulley, international director of The Goodwood Group. “This is the greatest collection of cars in the world,” he said. “Appearance is by strict invitation only. The car gets the invite, not the owner.”
The event would encompass parts of Ocean Drive and Lummus Park, from Fifth to 15th streets, including Collins Park, because that’s where the Concourse d’Elegance – a world-famous auction of historic vehicles – would be, said Marcia Monserrat, Miami Beach chief of staff. “They anticipate that just their partners and their vendors will take up [most of] the hotel rooms on Ocean Drive,” she said. “They truly can change what our March will look like. It really will be the audience that we’re looking for, in a very family-friendly event.”
The festival is planned to take place during the third weekend of March 2024. The heaviest build-out is to be on the sand, where the team would set up the Future Lab, an innovation pavilion with “dynamic, interactive technology to inspire everyone from industry, from enthusiasts to the next generation of scientists, inventors and explorers,” according to the Goodwood website. The tech pavilion would highlight sustainable development, electric cars, motors, and robotics.
The festival is to come as part of the targeted programming that the City of Miami Beach started producing beginning in 2021, called “Miami Beach Live!”
Next year’s programming for March will start with the ITF Beach Tennis World Cup Qualifier, March 1-4; Miami Beach Brazil versus Colombia Tennis Challenge on March 4; Miami Beach US versus Brazil Beach Soccer Challenge, from Sixth to Ninth streets at the beachfront; March 8-12, King of the Court Crown Series; March 10-12, Major League Baseball “World Baseball Classic Fanfest”; Lummus Park, Sixth to Ninth streets and Ocean Drive; March 17-19, Kiwanis of Little Havana “Art on the Drive: a Carnival Miami Experience” in Lummus Park, Sixth to 13th streets and Ocean Drive; March 24-26, Miami Beach Fitness Festival powered by M Athlete at Sixth and Ninth streets at the beachfront.
For the following year, the city partnered with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) “to find out what large-scale event could we entice to come to Miami Beach, and specifically to South Beach,” said Ms. Monserrat, “and the GMCVB and Miami-Dade County connected us with Goodwood.”
With over 30 car manufacturers exhibiting, “it was an event that we wanted to bring that would highlight the culture of the future of transportation, and it’s not just automobiles, but also boats and anything going into the future that is not fossil fuels-based,” said Jose Sotolongo, director of sports and entertainment tourism at the GMCVB.
“The fact that they’re going to be involved with the educational aspect of it, with our kids in the future is also very exciting for us. Because of the amount of hotel room nights [generated], the employment opportunities for our local residents, we are completely behind it.”
During the 2022 Festival of Speed event, last June at the Goodwood House, “we had Edison’s first electric car of 1908,” said Mr. Bulley. Other legendary cars included James Bond classic Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, Jaguar 3.5 Litre Roadster, Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe, Force India F1 Car, and the Ferrari Dini GTS. Celebrity appearances included ex-soccer player David Beckham, TV chef Gordon Ramsay, and NFL players Danielle Hunter and K.J. Osborn.
This year’s event supported the Race Against Dementia charity, founded by Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Steward. “Each year, we celebrate a theme, an anniversary or a moment in time, which makes no festival same as the other,” said Mr. Bulley.
Goodwood Group, he said, has worked with sports consultants and has calculated the economic impact to reach 121,500 hotel room beds, worth about $17.8 million per year, $27.6 million in non-accommodation, $6 million in non-local sponsor activation and $12 million in media revenue. Organizers expect about 102,000 attendees and 69,860 spectators, “in addition to the $45 million that we will be spending to put the event in the local economy.”
If the contract is signed, the city is to agree to cover security services, facilities, and other city items, such as waste management and a clean zone, said Mr. Bulley. Goodwood Group would also require a long-term commitment from the city of a five-year plus five-year agreement.
“We ambition to take the event around the world,” he added. “We have, to date, explored several options in the US, but the city of Miami Beach ticks all the boxes. It’s a world-leading glamorous location that our owners’ clients and customers will want to travel to. It’s in close proximity to South America, and very importantly, to Florida technology.”