Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. A sign that the summer is definitely here. This year we were treated to a full selection of weather: hot and cold, light drizzle and torrential downpours, overcast skies and blazing sun, skipped on the ‘surprise hail’ but had storm winds instead that cancelled Saturday.
It was entirely ‘on brand’ for Goodwood this year, in the sense that almost every box was being ticked – EV’s, Hydrogen based concepts and ‘traditional’ ICEs. There was a superstar talking about sustainable fuels, classic cars that were very futuristic in their time and concept cars for our future looking more than a little retro.
This year the celebrated marque was Porsche. Aside from the cars displayed on the sculpture outside the main house, all the race winning cars featured in their anniversary parade, the LeMans winners, the classic 356’s and Ken Block’s Hoonigan 911. Three Porsches in particular that caught my eye; the Vision 357, the Misson X, and of course the Junior Tractor – I love it so much I want to buy a farm so I can own one.
The Porsche Mission X is without doubt a future car that takes inspiration from the past, as does the Porsche Vision 357 Speedster, and posters of either would have a place on my bedroom wall if my wife would still let me do that.
Also on that ‘poster’ list from this year’s pageantry would be the Ferrari KC23, the Czinger C21 in ‘shouty orange’, and the Speed 6 Continuation from those chaps up in Crewe. Taking pride of place would be the Renault 5 Turbo 3E – an out-and-out homage to one of my all-time favourite cars the R5 Turbo 2.
The Hyundai N Vision 74 gives more than a nod to the past and has definitely put its hand up to be the star of Back to the Future 4 if they ever make it. It is going to be built around a Hydrogen fuel platform, so along with the hydrogen powered Toyota Yaris GT driven by Sir Rowan Atkinson this year, means we now have EV’s and hydrogen stating their case for consideration as alternative’s to the polluting ICE platforms of yesteryear. The hydrogen platform is by no means fully solved, and I’m not about to start unwrapping that ball of knots, but two alternatives are better than one.
This year’s human star at Goodwood was Sebastien Vettel, who was driving from his personal collection – a Nigel Mansell “Red 5” Williams and an Ayrton Senna McLaren, both converted to run on sustainable fuel. Since retiring Sebastien has been a huge advocate of sustainable fuels launching his “Race without Trace” initiative to support and develop their use. In an interview with Ed Foster on the Goodwood website, Vettel said
“We use e-fuels in an old car, which was not designed for them but it only takes a small adjustment. We use them in old cars, we use them in new F1 cars, we can use them in your road car. It’s just to show that there is an alternative. The world is changing but we don’t have to give up on these things, we can enjoy them in a more responsible way”
With Porsche fuelling the Mobil 1 Supercup and their Porsche Experience Centres using their eFuel, and Sebastien running his F1 stable on P1 Fuel, it appears that we might actually have three alternatives to traditional ICE. Options, options, options.
For now though, the near future is very much focused on EVs. Over the past three years I’ve watched Electric Avenue go from being ‘new’ brands like Polestar, to EV models from mainstream brands last year, and a healthy balance of the two this year, with BMW and KIA sat beside newcomers like HiPhi Y with its gullwing rear doors, and the Ora Funky Cat.
The Ora was a lot bigger than I thought it would be, while the new Ford Explorer was, surprisingly, smaller than I thought it would be. The other feature of Electric Avenue was main sponsors BP addressing the topics of range anxiety and recharge time, promoting their network of charging stations while also offering a phone charging station for visitors that was powered by a Hyndai Ioniq 6.
As at last year’s Goodwood Festival, Polestar had their own presence away from Electric Avenue, as did Tesla, Lotus, and the new Mini Concept Aceman. Renault’s concept stand had the all-white Renault 5 Roland Garros prototype that was full of some really nice details, and was sat alongside the 4Ever Trophy and this R5 Diamante.
The latter has a definite retro feel to it and was very reminiscent of the original Renault 5 L, whilst around the corner was Caterham’s stand where they were launching the Project V.
This was of particular interest to me as Drive worked on the Caterham C120 project – a joint venture with Renault that saw the French marque develop the award winning Alpine A110. Just over a decade on we wish them every success with the Caterham Project V and bringing something new to the market.
All this means we can potentially have a much wider choice in the not-too-distant future. Amazing new EV’s like the Porsche Mission X, the Charge ’67, or the Polestar 2 coupe. Hydrogen options like the N Vision 74 or last year’s hypercar concept from Viritech. We could still watch cars like the FW14B and the McLaren MP4/6 race each other at events like the Revival, series like the Porsche Supercup won’t be consigned to history, and maybe we won’t have to sweep our current cars under the metaphorical rug and replace them straight away. If we do want to buy a new car there will be new visions like the ones listed earlier, the slightly more retro styled R5 Diamant or the new MG Cyberster to choose from.
So many options … we like options, but we also like it in red.
Goodwood Festival of Speed