Renault can justifiably look back on the 2004 Goodwood Festival of Speed with an immense sense of pride after a hugely successful celebration marking some major milestones in the manufacturer’s history.
The reunion of Jean-Pierre Jabouille with Renault’s first-ever Formula One car, RS01, was planned as the major highlight of the weekend but the Goodwood spectators then witnessed something equally as special when Rene Arnoux, driving RE30B, joined his former Renault team-mate on Goodwood Hill – the first time two F1 cars have ever run simultaneously.
Speaking on the wonderful occasion, Renault UK Press & PR Director Tim Jackson commented: "We had three main celebrations this year – the 30th anniversary of Renault UK Motorsport, the 20th anniversary of Renault Espace but most importantly for Goodwood, and for the majority of spectators at the event this year, the 25th anniversary of our first Grand Prix win at the French Grand Prix at Dijon in 1979.
"It was a very special victory for two reasons. Not only did we win the race, one of the great duels in the history of the World Championship took place with Rene Arnoux in his Renault fighting hard against the Ferrari of Gilles Villeneuve. This was a truly iconic battle at up to 180mph, banging wheels and containing all the things we don’t see in Grand Prix racing today.
"We were fortunate to have Jean-Pierre and Rene with us at the weekend with both our cars, RS01 and RE30B, running up the hill together to celebrate that historic win. I think this year has seen one of Goodwood’s biggest ever crowds so a very large number of people helped us to celebrate some of the most important occasions in Renault’s history."
An unexpected surprise, however, was when 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve joined Jabouille, Arnoux and also Renault rallying legend Jean Ragnotti for a special photograph opportunity on Saturday.
As the son of the legendary Gilles, the former Williams-Renault driver didn’t hesitate to spend time with his father’s great friend Arnoux who, of course, enjoyed the most famous on-track duel in the history of Formula One along with Gilles at the 1979 French Grand Prix.
Tim Jackson added: "It was a marvellous weekend and probably a more satisfying event for the enthusiast than in 2002 when we were the main act at Goodwood and had a central display. The fact we’ve had something very special to celebrate this year with the right people, the right cars and at the right time has been excellent.
"It was great to see Jacques Villeneuve on Saturday in his father’s old car and it was a magical moment when he joined Rene and Jean-Pierre to have his photograph taken. Once again, we’ve exhibited a broad spread of competitive machinery from 1902 and the Paris-Vienna Type K through to the present day with Franck Montagny and the Renault F1 Team.
"With Franck driving both Type K and the R23 at Goodwood he really did experience the alpha and omega of Renault motorsport in one quick weekend. I don’t think we could have had a line-up any more appealing for the spectators – it really was a superb festival."Published 29 June 2004