The annual Goodwood Festival of speed never disappoints. Every year I think it has the potential to become the victim of its own success as it borders on being too crowded, but there is no denying it is still one of the automotive and motorsport highlights of the year.
This year it was Aston Martin’s turn in the spotlight with an elegant 31m high sculpture towering above Goodwood House, which had a beautiful DBR1 balanced as its centrepiece. Celebrating 60 years since it first won at Le Mans, the marque had every era of their history represented with many taking part in the main event, the hillclimb. The weekend was split by contrasting weather conditions: Saturday’s spectators hid from the blistering midday sun, with Sunday seeing incessant rain. VW brought along it’s ID-R electric race car, and made the best of Saturday’s grippy conditions and during the official timed session at the end of the day, it broke the hill climb record that had stood for over 20 years crossing the finish line in 39.90 seconds. Given that it was a car tuned for specifically for the climb, it was then astounding to see the WRX cars climbing the hill only a handful of seconds slower.
The festival speed is usually dominated by modern day race and supercars and often the only place in the UK that you’ll be able to see new rarities in the metal. Indeed, given Goodwood’s prestige, some OEM’s use it to launch new cars. One of the most talked about new releases was the new De Thomaso that made its public debut at the event. Beautifully finished in a deep burgundy with Rose Gold trim finishes, it was on the whole very well received, as were the quartet of Zagato’s that were lined up alongside the Aston Martins. McLaren showed off their new 3 seater Speedtail hypercar alongside the 720S Spider, and being a family event, they made their stand even more appealing to the dads with their full size Lego model of their Senna. Given that the new Lotus hypercar, the Evija, was released to the public only a week after Goodwood, it was surprising to a few that Goodwood wasn’t used to at least provide a sneak preview of the car, but it could be argued that in such a crowded space some of the impact would have been lost.
As impressive as it is walking around the Supercar Paddock getting close to cars retailing at 6 figures or more, the event always attracts the old favourites. The supercars you remembered from your childhood, the rallying icons, or the famous race liveries. A Sainz era Toyota Celica parked next to a Martini liveried Delta Integrale. A GT40 in classic Gulf colours parked next to another Martini Porsche. And then a collection of classic Stirling Moss era Mercedes Mille Milia cars. We all love modern day exotica, but we all still love the romance that comes with such historical cars, and this year it was impossible not to well up slightly at the sight of thirteen F1 cars that were all driven by Michael Schumacher throughout his racing career. Celebrating 25 years since Schumacher won his first world championship, the cars lined up next to each other which as well as serving as a wonderful tribute to the great F1 driver, for the F1 fans it clearly showed the progression of the design changes over the past three decades.
As always, Goodwood put on an event that showed why it is still the centre piece of the British motoring calendar. Next up, the Revival!