The Goodwood Festival of Speed always stuns. This year is probably my eighth or ninth, to be completely honest, I have lost count. Despite having enjoyed so many encounters with the behemoth event, I come back surprised, awed and impressed by, what must be the single biggest celebration of motorsport in the world.
The Festival of speed is more than that though. It has evolved, expanded and moved on from the years it focused solely on traditional motorsport. It has stepped into the void left by the now-defunct British Motor Show, it has taken on cutting edge motorsport in the shape of Formula E and Drift racing, it is a more rounded celebration of speed. Race teams come from all over the world to demonstrate their own unique niche.
The mainstay is obviously still motorsport. It dominates the paddock space too with areas dedicated to modern endurance racers and multiple Formula 1 teams, Indycar and Nascar. Even Formula E had a space this year too. From the Audi R8 LMS Ultra to the Porsche 919 Hybrid which won Le Mans for a third consecutive year, everything is there.
Alongside the modern machinery, sits classics from the ages. Machines like the iconic giant-beating McLaren F1 GTR, a Jaguar XJR-12D and a Ferrari 512 BB/LM. There is everything from pre-war grand prix cars to cutting edge pikes peak hill climb racers. Our favourites included the Beast of Turin, a restored 1911 Fiat S76.
Such an eclectic mix of top end race machinery has peaked the interest of the road car manufacturers too. Porsche for example used this year’s Festival of Speed to launch its range-topping 911, the Porsche 991 GT2 RS. Jaguar also had fun with the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8 whilst McLaren unveiled the 570S Spider. Our favourite? Possibly the stunning Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro.
Alongside the supercars this year, there were two tributes. The first was to AMG in its anniversary year. To celebrate, it took some of it’s most iconic cars including the CLK Black Series and the SLS AMG Black Series. Ferrari had a bigger tribute to its 70 year anniversary, bringing together a huge collection which included a Ferrari 250 GTO and a LaFerrari Aperta.
Gerry Judah’s art installation attracts the crowds each year too. This year it paid tribute to Bernie Ecclestone. The cars fitted to its circular spines were borrowed from Bernie’s own collection and rarely see the light of day. For Goodwood, they were hoisted on spires and hung over visitors to create a stunning centre piece.
Our final stop is the Cartier Concours lawn. This year one of the categories included a step-by-step walk through the evolution of the hypercar. Starting the iconic McLaren F1 and ending with the Bugatti Veyron, it charted a course through Koenigsegg, Pagani and Ferrari.
The Festival of Speed is also about the people who pilot the machines. With reigning Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg stepping back into the seat of his 2014 Mercedes W05 Hybrid. Lewis Hamilton put in an appearance the prious day while we walked past a myriad of former and current racers each day in the paddock.
Will we be back next year? You bet we will!