The bucket list-worthy celebration of all things speed
For many racing fanatics and car enthusiasts, there is a common item on almost all our bucket lists. Around this time of the year, there is an event that is perfectly designed for every single type of car person. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a celebration of motoring from all ends of the earth, shining the sport light on every type of motor race and manufacturing spectacle out there. And what a show it is…
“It’s the best event in the world and I don’t know who’s second, but it’s a long, long way behind.” Mark Webber, Formula 1 driver and 2015 WEC Champion.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the pinnacle of motoring exhibitions. It is an event where the world focuses on a spectacular hill climb and show grounds where the best from manufacturers and racing teams show off their skills and youthful passion for racing. Where cars from the early 20th century sluggishly roar up the hill in a rather old-school fashion and drift cars cover the British sky with the very distinct smell of burning rubber. There is something for your toddler, and there is something for your grandpa, in fact, there is something for everyone.
This year, there was no shortage of weird and wonderful cars. The weekend of racing kicked off on Thursday with a collection of production vehicles, motorbikes, rally cars and the odd airshow in between. Throughout the weekend, there was an endless stream of high-performance cars and tough competitions, with the competitive nature getting stronger with each passing day. From rally cars to Nascar, drift cars to Formula 1 cars, pre-war classics to EVs and classic saloons. The point is that there is a little bit of everything and anything racing.
With such an extensive event, it’s hard to nail down any one specific highlight… Having grown up not far from the Isle of Man, the sidecar racing bikes especially piqued my interest thus, seeing a selection of these unique vehicles was a sight which I thoroughly enjoyed. The 1,500 kW Ford Pro Electric SuperVan came to take names. At first, it just looks like a modified Ford van, but it is lightning fast and not just in the straights. Romain Dumas wasn’t holding anything back when taking on the hill and it showed. I must say I did enjoy watching George Russell wrestle with Lewis Hamilton’s W10 Formula 1 car, as he tackled the hill in a display of smoke and noise. I have always loved the structure of a Hillclimb competition as every car seems to be mere seconds faster than the car before, forcing classic rally cars to face modern JDM drift rockets and in the process creating a progressively more exciting experience.
Now, what is a hill climb without cutthroat racing and the latest record-breaking engineering? Well, let me introduce you to the all-new Hillclimb record holder at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. With a time of 39.08 seconds, 0.8 seconds faster than the previous record held by the VW electric Hillclimb team. The McMurtry Automotive Sperling electric fan car. It's a tiny vehicle which can only be described as ludicrous. It weighs in at 750 kW per ton and it's outfitted with a fan that provides 500 kg of constant negative lift and when it goes, it looks like a movie in fast-forward. They claim it can do 0-300 km/h in 9.0 seconds. Max Chilton has set the bar high for the future of the Hillclimb and I recommend that you watch his run if you haven’t already.
Once again, the Goodwood Festival of Speed provided a spectacular celebration of motoring. It was a place of constant thrills and incredible noise where we can enjoy the classics and clearly compare the past with the present in racing. It's clear that electricity is the way forward, which to me is a big shame. However, I feel that so long as the world still has the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the celebration of combustion engines will not die anytime soon.