It’s almost time for one of the most exciting public motoring events in the world – the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Shortly after completing this story, I shall be heading to the airport and jumping on a plane to the UK. My destination – Goodwood House, home of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Over the past 20 years, the Festival of Speed has grown from a small gathering of car enthusiasts to one of the biggest events on the international motoring show calendar. It’s now described as “the largest motoring garden party in the world”, with 150,000 tickets sold for this year’s event.
Goodwood is not a race meeting, nor is it a traditional motor show full of static exhibits. It’s… well, it’s everything. There’s a racing aspect to it – cars of all shapes and sizes race up the hill to see who can get the quickest times. But it’s also a history lesson, a social occasion, a shopping trip. In short, it’s an English idyll for anyone with petrol flowing through their veins.
Each year has a different theme and different attractions, so let’s quickly run through a very small portion of what we’re expecting.
With the demise of the British Motor Show, Goodwood has become the default place to launch new cars to the British public. So we expect to see the new Porsche Panamera, as well as McLaren’s new 12C GT Sprint for the first time. The Porsche 911 GT3 will make its first UK appearance, as will the Bentley Continental GT3 race car, which those present can see blasting up the hill. Other new models on show will include the Rolls-Royce Wraith, and the 310bhp Caterham Seven 620R. As if that’s not enough, what about the Aston Martin CC-100 concept? Yep, that’s in action too, alongside the forthcoming V12 Vantage S.
In addition, Jaguar will debut three new high-powered cars – the XFR-S, the XJR and the XKR-S GT – as well as the new Project 7 design study. Want more supercars? Well then, enjoy the Vencer Sarthe, Alfa Romeo 4C and Eric Clapton’s Ferrari SP12 EC.
There’s plenty more than this, but, well, you get the idea. Lots of cars.
2013 marks 50 years of the Porsche 911, and the company has pride of place at the show, with a sculpture outside Goodwood House commemorating its anniversary. In addition, Porsche is gathering multiple examples of all seven generations of 911, both road cars and racers, and plenty of non-911 Porkers, including a 1970 Porsche 917 KH, with original drivers Hans Hermann and Richard Attwood reuniting to drive it.
Legendary Racing Drivers
As well as Hermann and Attwood, expect to see a wealth of racing talent at Goodwood. Those expected include five-time Le Mans winner, Derek Bell, six-time Le Mans victor Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass and John Surtees, as well as Sir Stirling Moss, Martin Brundle and Nelson Piquet in his newly-rebuilt 1983 championship-winning Brabham BT52.
It’s not just the oldies though – current Formula 1 drivers confirmed include 2009 champion Jenson Button and his McLaren teammate Sergio Perez. Former Ferrari pilot Marc Gene, Nico Rosberg and 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton will also be in attendance.
Rally stars include Hannu Mikkola, Sebastien Loeb will be sadly absent, but his Pike’s Peak-winning Peugeot 208 T16 will be in action up the hill. Three-time Le Mans-winner Allan McNish will be piloting the 2013 race-winning Audi up the hill, while Hans-Joachim Stück will be in his 1988 Audi 200 Quattro Trans-Am
It’s McLaren’s 50th anniversary, and the British racing team is bringing a huge heritage of cars to Goodwood. These include some of its world championship-winning Formula 1 cars, as well as Can-Am racers and Le Mans cars. And there’s the road cars too – the forthcoming P1 will be making an appearance.
The Goodwood Aviation Exhibition is now part of the Festival of Speed. This year’s even will see the Red Arrows return with their displays of skill, daring and general lunacy. There will also be flying demonstrations from the Vulcan bomber and Eurofighter Typhoon, and static displays from many of today’s aviation manufacturers.
That gives you a flavour of what to expect over the next three days. We’ll be there on Sunday, tweeting and Instagramming away, and there’ll be a write up next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out our coverage from last year’s event.