The fantastic feature of this event is the sheer number of different types of cars that are brought together, from modern Formula One cars to priceless modern Supercars, together with all the important vintage racers.
What really sets Goodwood apart is that not only are all these vehicles on display, they are also driven around the infamous Goodwood hill-climb, the centrepiece racetrack that runs right through the centre of this special event. As a visitor you are actively encouraged to get up close and personal with every one of these cars by visiting the paddocks and if you’re really lucky, you can meet the famous drivers too. Watching all of these cars live in action around the hill-climb is where you get to savour all the glorious and delicious engine noises, combustion never sounded so good!
In keeping with previous years, a centrepiece sculpture has been erected outside Goodwood House itself. This year, being the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type, it was only fitting that a memorial should be created to celebrate a car that changed the world of car design forever.
And what a sculpture it was:
The magnificent structure was designed by Gerry Judah and stood 28 metres high with its steel construction weighing in at 150 tonnes.
So, to the Cars that were on display:
A special place in my heart is given to the all-new supercar, the Pagani Huayra (pronounced Why-eera).
Named after an ancient Argentinian god of wind, this car aims to change the supercar game once more, just like Pagani did with the launch of the Zonda back in 1999.
Statistics? Well, it has 700 BHP (the latest Ferrari makes do with ‘only’ 562) and it should achieve 235 mph and get from rest to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. The heart is a Mercedes twin-turbo V12 which at full chat makes a noise that would make grown men weep.
As befitting a car that will cost over £1.0m, the interior is incredibly bespoke and a very, very special place to sit:
I was fortunate enough to catch up with my old friend Mr Pagani (founder of Pagani Automobili S.p.A) where he expressed his genuine excitement for his new car. I simply stood there and could only offer one word in reply ‘bellissima’.
Another incredibly special car on show was the Aston Martin One-77, Aston’s new £1m supercar. The name is derived from the fact that only 77 will ever be built. ‘Exclusive’ has a new name.
Statistics? Tests indicate it will do 220 mph and get from rest to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Power comes from a naturally aspirated (no turbo or super-charger) 7.3 litre V12 engine producing 750 bhp.
The hardest choice to make would be whether to have this or the Pagani Huayra. Decisions, decisions although there are worse positions to be in!
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A were also present with their new show-stopper the Aventador. Named after a prized Spanish bull incidentally. Less bull-like, more bat like to me:
Nevertheless a stunning piece of design that will continue Lamborghini’s tradition of the supercar that school boys want a picture of on their bedroom wall.
And dare I say, at £247,667 it’s actually a relative bargain. Ridiculous? Well, here is a car that has moved the supercar game on a notch with the performance it offers – 217 MPH, 0-60 MPH in 2.9 seconds. For that level of performance at under £250,000, nothing else comes close and considering the Pagani and Aston (above) are close to £1.0m for similar figures, you can see why I consider it to be a bargain, albeit a relative one!
Of course special mention has to go to the Bugatti Veyron Supersports – the fastest road car on earth. Numbers? £1.72m a piece, 1,183 BHP, 258 MPH. But what does this actually mean in reality? At top speed this car will cover the length of a football pitch every second.
An absolute master piece of engineering:
Other highlights were the static display of the new BMW M5:
This is an important car for BMW, as they have traditionally always led the four door performance market. Hence, all the motoring press are desperate to know, will this new model reclaim BMW’s crown? There is after all tough competition within this market from the Jaguar XFR, Mercedes E63 AMG and the upcoming Audi S6.
Initial signs are that this car will offer explosive performance, offering 550 BHP from a 4.4 V8 twin turbo. However, the previous model was considered by many to be ‘too sporty’ and at times hard work to drive slowly. This new model has to combine the rare ability to entertain but also to relax when required, something that the Jaguar XFR manages so well. This is the car the BMW M5 needs to beat.
A car that highlights an interesting future trend is the MINI Goodwood:
This is a MINI that will cost £41,000. I will say that again for effect, £41,000! Why? Because it is a MINI that is a ‘Rolls-Royce edition’. That is to say that the materials used in the interior are of the same quality that you will find in the Rolls Royce Phantom, a car that costs £285,000.
Crazy you may think but this car is an example of a growing trend – upmarket superminis are on the rise as wealthy individuals abandon their gas guzzling luxury cars in favour of these cheaper-to-run alternatives. But in doing so, they do not want to abandon the luxuries they have become accustomed to. Aston Martin are doing it with their Cygnet model and Fiat are doing the same with their 500 Tributo Ferrari edition. Both of these cars cost over £30,000.
These cars are also incredibly popular in the growing economies of the East, notably China and Russia, so although expensive and seemingly ‘out-of-touch’ in the UK, they will sell well in export markets.
Other highlights include all of the Jaguar E-Types on display. Even 50 years on, its striking design never dulls or ages:
The British company, Eagle, have managed to successfully update the E-Type with their drop-dead gorgeous Speedster (you may have seen Jeremy Clarkson recently fall in love with it on BBC TopGear):
Combined with its agonisingly beautiful interior, this for me was the car I would most like to take home:
After all, this automotive art is still formed from an original E-Type, albeit with modern brakes, cooling, electrics etc. Nostalgia at its modern! The downside is the £500,000 list price.
Other highlights included a flight display of the one remaining air-worthy Avro Vulcan, the only machine that bettered anything for engine noise. Absolutely magical:
The Cartier Style et Luxe is worthy of a special mention too as it highlights the finest of automotive design by gathering the world’s finest cars in terms of beauty, value & style. Where else would you get these two models side by side, neither of which are the poor relation:
The Goodwood Festival of Speed really is a magical day out for any car fan simply because it allows you to get up close and personal to some incredibly rare and beautiful cars. And yet, what makes the festival so special is that you do not even need to be a car buff to enjoy it. It provides entertainment for all ages and interests and my recommendation is to pack some camping gear and go for a weekend as there is far too much to see in one day and given the displays on offer, it would be disrespectful if you didn’t!