Taking place at the renowned Goodwood Estate, the Festival of Speed has quickly become one of the Worlds blue ribboned and must attend Motoring events.
Founded back in 1993 the Festival has been a constant on the automotive calendar ever since and this year celebrates an important milestone, it’s Silver Jubilee. Whether you are a fan of bikes or cars, the Festival brings together the best of the best in a completely unrivalled surrounding.
The theme of this years event was the 70th anniversary of Porsche. For such an illustrious and successful manufacturer it’s 70th anniversary is certainly a moment to be celebrated. In attendance at the Festival was a range of classic and contemporary Porsche’s, all of which holding major significance in the manufacturer’s history. A prestigious line-up comprising of early and classic 911’s right through to the current 918 road car and 919 Evo tribute LMP1 car, via some iconic motorsport winners, all took to the famous hill climb to celebrate the marques successes.
The impressive centrepiece sculpture also celebrated the last 70 years of Porsche in style. Comprising of an eye-catching multi-spiked design, a landmark car from the companies history featured on each individual spike and demonstrate, in a visually striking way, the models that helped shape the brand into what it is today.
The festival offers visitors an unrivalled opportunity to get up close and personal with their motoring icons and heroes. Featuring open and inclusive paddocks you can get within touching distance of a majority of the machines to really appreciate the importance and engineering that earned these machines legendary status. This extends to the riders and drivers who also make themselves present to meet fans, sign autographs and pose for photographs, all of which make this event truly unique.
Whilst you can get up close to the cars in the care of their race paddocks, you are also afforded the fantastic opportunity to see these great machines in action. With a selection taking to the 1.2 Mile Hillclimb it truly is a sight to behold as cars and bikes are taken to the limit in front of one of Sussex’s grandest homes. If drivers can keep their foot in and survive the infamous flint wall, participants will be aiming to topple Nick Heidfeld’s McLaren MP4-13 Formula One car time of 41.6 seconds, which has stood as the record for nearly 20 years having been set back in 1999.
This year the likely challenger to this time was German manufacturer Volkswagen as they brought their all-electric Pikes Peak Hillclimb car to Goodwood. An all-electric machine capable of producing over 600bhp from its twin electric motors the Volkswagen I.D. R machine was making its first public appearance since toppling the Pikes Peak Hill Climb record a matter of weeks ago. Whilst taking the electric car record up the Hillclimb during Sunday’s shootout, the I.D R narrowly missed out on the all-time record by 2.26 seconds.
The festival is also a must-see event for Formula One fans. Attracting a number of current Formula One teams, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the largest gathering of contemporary F1 machinery outside of an official Grand Prix weekend. This year Mercedes-Benz was a star attraction in the F1 pit lane as they brought their last four consecutive F1 World Championship winning machines. Another notable attendee was the, also Mercedes Benz powered, Brawn BGP001 which powered both Briton’s Jenson Button and the Brawn team to double championship glory back in 2009.
Other notable race prepared machines included Porsche’s 919 Evo Le Mans LMP1 tribute machine and Fernando Alonso’s 2018 Le Mans Toyota in which he won the famous enduro a mere few weeks ago.
Whilst there is significant focus on race machinery, current supercars and new vehicles also have a large stage to promote themselves. This year the supercar paddock featured some of the most expensive automotive exotica ever taken to the festival. In the supercar lineup were the likes of McLaren’s 720s, Ferrari’s 488 Pista, Lamborghini’s Centenario Spyder and Aston Martins, recently launched, DBS Superleggera.
As the Festival of Speed has grown in popularity over recent years, it could be argued that the success of the event has ultimately led to the demise of the British Motor Show. With visitor numbers well over 100,000 on each of the three days throughout the weekend, it’s not hard to see why manufacturers are increasingly choosing Goodwood to showcase their latest wares to potential new customers. The manufacturer stands can only be described as vast with the Jaguar Land Rover ‘pavilion’, in particular, being on a scale and standard to rival a franchised dealership.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed truly does have something for everyone. Additional entertainment and interactive experiences from air displays to passenger rides, simulators to children’s activities ensure that even non-petrol-heads are just as enthralled. Couple this to a beautiful Midsummers weekend and you have the recipe for a fantastic event, fully worthy of the acclaim it receives.