Stars & Cars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Last weekend saw the cream of the motorsport world descend on the world-renowned Goodwood estate for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Designed to celebrate the very best of both two and four wheels, the event has quickly become the jewel in the crown of the world motorsport calendar.
Whatever your particular automotive affection, there is much to see at the festival and this year the event celebrated some major milestones with Aston Martin taking centre stage with their 70th-anniversary celebrations.
Naturally when a milestone this significant comes around it is only right that it is celebrated and when it comes to a British brand as illustrious as Aston Martin, there is much to celebrate. It’s fitting then that Aston Martin was presented centre stage outside the front of Goodwood House on this year's central sculpture.
With a 1959 Le Mans 24 hour race winner in the form of the Aston Martin DBR1 rising high into the air above the festival, Aston was celebrated every day at noon against a backdrop of fireworks whilst a live orchestral band performed Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory to gathered crowds.
Across the site there were several other manufacturers taking a moment to look back. Over at Mini the was the appreciation of the iconic cars 60th birthday, whilst at supercar royalty Pagani, two decades of being at the forefront of the hypercar world were being savoured.
Whilst, as ever, there are many reasons to look back, the annual event also takes place with one eye firmly on the future and this year there were some groundbreaking machines on display.
Over the last decade, electric technology has developed at a pace and so naturally, there were a significant number of all-electric vehicles making their debuts in the UK. Thanks to ever-tightening emission and government regulations the rise of the electric car continue unabated and thanks to a concerted shift towards the technology from the worlds car makers, there is now an unrivalled selection of electric vehicles available on the market.
Of all of the electric tech on display, there was a selection of standout vehicles. From a mass-market point of view, Honda’s all-new e-prototype looks to capitalise on the electric revolution. A small city car, the e-prototype is designed to bring the electric car to the masses and revolutionise inner-city travel.
Away from the more mass-produced vehicles there were a number of all-electric displays all aiming to prove that electrification can still be fun and something to savour from a driving point of view. One of the best examples of this was the Aston Martin Rapide E. Taking the standard Rapide, Aston has forged and engineering alliance with Williams to deliver their first all-electric machine.
Whilst other electric machines are designed with total efficiency in mind, the Rapide E retains one eye firmly on the driving as it only employes two electric motors to allow for increased driving thrills. Whilst this machine may not be as technologically advanced as it’s counterparts, the Rapide E is a truly astonishing bit of kit with a limited top speed of 155 mph and a total range of 250 miles.
If the thought of electrification makes you yearn for the machines of years past there was still much to enjoy at this year's festival. With a vast variety of road and race cars from a number of eras on display, there was much to delight the crowds.
A highlight over in the motorsport paddock was the 50th Birthday celebrations of Michael Schumacher. Whilst the F1 legend still recovers from his terrible accident, a number of milestone machines from his remarkable career took to the famous Hillclimb with a number of star drivers at the wheel.
Also present at this year's festival was technical F1 chief Ross Brawn, who played a vital role in what Schumacher achieved in Formula One. He was in attendance with Jenson Buttons championship-winning Brawn GP entry from 2009, a car which resides in Brawn’s personal collection.
A truly eclectic event, every aspect of motorsport and road car royalty is celebrated. Whilst there is much to see in the static paddocks, what makes this event special is that a majority of the cars and bikes on display take to Goodwood's own Hillclimb in anger to claim overall honours at the top of the timesheets.
Whilst a variety of vehicles compete for glory, there was one standout performer this year and this came in the guise of Volkswagens almighty I.D. R machine. An all-electric race car, the I.D. R has recently been on a global tour collecting new, electric car records as it goes. Fresh back from taking that title at Germany’s infamous Nurburgring, the I.D. R came to the event looking to take overhaul hillclimb honours. What it possibly didn’t bank on was claiming a new overall event record.
Toppling the 41.1 seconds Goodwood Hill Climb record that has stood since Germanys Nick Heidfeld set it in a McLaren Formula One car in 1999, the Volkswagen I.D. R didn’t take long to smash through this barrier, lowering the overall time to a new benchmark of 39.8 seconds. This milestone is somewhat fitting at an event that showcased the future of the motorcar so prominently.
Whatever your take on an electric future, what is clear is that its prospect is becoming increasingly exciting and machines such as the I.D. R are a fantastic display of the technologies potential. Only the Goodwood Festival of Speed could make moments like this possible. Heres to the 2020 event.
Our gallery of images from the event can be viewed here.