It’s all over for another year! Once again, Goodwood Festival of Speed has been bigger and better than ever. Whether you are interested in seeing – and hearing – Formula 1 cars and drivers up close, studying the latest new cars on the market, or just lusting over the supercars of the world, this event has something for everyone.
This years event was notable for the number of new cars launched to the public at the show, not for nothing is the Festival now being described as the British Motor Show. From the new Citroen Cactus to the Ford Focus ST to the Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid, they were all there, and far from being isolated from the public by ropes and barriers, they were there to be climbed in, discussed and generally given a good going over.
Despite the well-tried formula mixing old and new to delight petrolheads of all genres, Goodwood usually manages to come up with something new, and for me at least the most striking thing this year was the way in which, after traditionally having computer game racing simulators on a number of stands to seek to give drivers of all ages a taste of driving some of the new metal, the wheel has come full circle and several manufacturers had produced full-size replicas of virtual reality cars seen previously in the computer racing games! Aston Martin & Nissan were just two of the manufacturers aboard this particular bandwagon.
The supercar paddock was, as ever, full of the sort of cars most of us can only dream about, but with the big bonus of being able to see, and hear, them run up the hill in anger. One new entrant this year was the Sin R1, an all-new supercar with all the right bells & whistles, but to be priced at around £60,000, a fraction of the cost of its peers from the likes of McLaren. As yet in prototype form, albeit well-finished, it would be great to see this one do well.
Another arena of awesome automobiles was the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’. This has often featured primarily cars from the early years of motoring, but this year displayed more up-to-date machines, including a number of incredible american automobiles, or “yank tanks” together with some superb supercars from the last generation such as a Lister Storm and Ford GT40.
On two wheels the Goodwood Action Sports arena, GAS for short, contained incredible displays daredevil riding from the worlds best on both BMX and moto-cross bikes, including Britains very own Dougie Lampkin.
In the air, superb air displays from the Red Arrows as well as the RAF Typhoon, Canberra and Hunter thrilled the crowds at various times over the duration of the show.
At the top of the Goodwood hill, the forest rally stage again seems to grow, and gives rally enthusiasts an opportunity to get really “up close & personal” as a range of rally cars & stars hurtle round the tricky and sometimes slippery course. One of the favourite here is always the “Flying Finn” jump, where many of the cars become airborne, drama indeed!
And last but not least, not forgetting where it all started, the hill-climb itself. Apart from the chance to see everything from century-old race cars to the latest in Formula 1 machinery do its’ thing on the hill, a highlight this year was the “timed shoot-out” where twenty of the fastest drivers competed to break the course record of 41.6 seconds for the 1.16 miles, set by Nick Heidfeld in 1999. Sebastien Loeb was hotly tipped to beat the record this hear, driving the fearsome Pikes Peak Peugeot 208 T16, however although he ended up winning the day with a time of 43.6 seconds, Heidfelds 15-year old record still stands.
If you were fortunate enough to go this year, I’m sure you will have lots of other highlights beyond the few I’ve mentioned. If you have never been, then don’t miss next years Festival – you won’t be disappointed!