Honoring 70 Years of British Motoring: The Best of Goodwood 2018
The Goodwood Festival of Speed has reached the grand old age of 25. It scarcely seems possible that the one day trial event from June 1993 that attracted a healthy 25,000 spectators has grown into one of the premier motoring events on the planet. It has become a Bucket List item for all of those who like their cars and stars, especially in the alluring atmosphere of a traditional English summer garden party.
This year the Festival was spread out over four days, Thursday through Sunday, and was witnessed by a reported 200,000 enthusiasts. There is almost too much to see and do, from the Hill Climb to the Rally Stage to the stalls, the Concours and super cars and the manufacturers' displays, then there are the car parks. Overload is the word that comes to mind, so perhaps the way forward is to pick a few of the highlights to show the flavour of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Right from the very first Festival of Speed, the centrepiece has been the Hill Climb that snakes its way up through the show and past the front of Goodwood House, the residence of His Grace, The Duke of Richmond, the driving force behind the whole shebang. So it would seem appropriate to start the journey there. Fresh off their triumph at Pikes Peak, Romain Dumas and his Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak took everyone else down in Sussex and came out on top.
The VW prototype is the first fully-electric racer to top the time-sheets at the Goodwood Hill Climb. This run was also a new record for electric powered-cars with a time of 43.86 seconds, 3.48 seconds faster than the previous best.
70 Years of Land Rover
Also famous for climbing hills, albeit at a much reduced pace, is the humble Land Rover. 2018 sees the 70th birthday of this most British of vehicles, a favourite of all levels of society from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll to the humblest sheep farmer in the hills with his flock. Celebrating this anniversary was a convoy of 70 examples from all eras assembled for Goodwood.
The Land Rover has evolved into many forms, notably the Range Rover, a luxury item that sells in great numbers. The affection held for "Landies" was evident from those lucky enough to run on the hill to the appreciative spectators enjoying the spectacle.
Seventy was was the fashionable number at this year's Festival of Speed. I will have a look at Porsche in another piece, but there was also a hat tip to Colin Chapman and Lotus. 1948 was the first year that the effects of World War Two began to recede, at least for motor industry, and this is the 70th birthday of that date. A birthday needs a birthday cake, so the Duke of Richmond, Feng Qingfeng (Lotus CEO) and Clive Chapman (son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman and head of Lotus Classic) did the honours.
Lotus also had another milestone with their 100,000th car coming off the production line. This special edition Lotus Evora GT410 Sport is being put up as a prize to raise funds for the Jim Clark Trust, a salute to the two-time World Champion who was a Lotus man through and through.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. Having Fun
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is not all about anniversaries and looking back to the past. Contemporary trends are also welcomed. Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his Mustang have become firm favourites with the crowd who really appreciate the car control and exuberance on show. The Festival of Speed should be fun as well as educational.
Vaughn and his colleague "Mad" Mike Whiddett put on a great display, showcasing the drift car culture and are now a fixture at Goodwood.
F1s Getting in on the Fun, Too
The drifting fraternity has obviously had some influence on the normally conservative Formula One stars. Valtteri Bottas was kicking up the dust with the best of them in the 2016 Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport F1 W07 Hybrid.
Regulations restricting the running of the 2018 F1 cars means that the older cars get another outing. The rules are in place to prevent teams from testing new bits away from the Grand Prix meetings. That is how crazy and competitive the Formula One circus is these days. The Festival of Speed is a rare chance for the public to get up close and personal with these exotic creations.
Astronomical Aston Martin
No major motoring event these days is complete without an auction. As one might expect, there was something more than a bit exotic to come under the hammer at Goodwood. The Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, 2 VEV, is the very definition of a special motor car. Considered by many to be one of the most desirable and beautiful sports cars ever built, the fusion of British engineering and Italian style is almost irresistible.
Only 19 DB4GT Zagatos were built back in the early '60s, and this example was crashed hard at Spa in 1962 while on loan to the factory. By way of recompense to the owner it was completely rebuilt around a lightweight MP209 chassis, some 300 pounds lighter than a standard DB4GT Zagato. The car enjoyed a successful career with the great Jim Clark driving it twice at Goodwood. It has been in the hands of one family since 1972, who offered it for sale this year. This amazing Aston Martin achieved a staggering £10,081,500, making it the most valuable British car ever sold at European auction. Needless to say I am not the lucky new owner, roll on the Lottery win.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed sets the bar high for the variety and quality of the cars on show. Whatever your motoring inclinations, there's something for you to enjoy. See you next June!