The weekend of The Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017 has to come to a close and we are reflecting on this unique automotive event; it literally seems like a dream - the people, the cars, the sounds in fact the whole atmosphere of the festival was like nothing we've ever attended before.
The Festival of Speed has been running since 1993, when Lord March decided to bring back car racing back to the Goodwood estate. Since then it has grown to astronomical proportions - it hit 153,000 visitors in 2003, and since then the event has been capped at 150,000 and these numbers aren't really surprising, with everybody in the car world wanting to be a part of the Festival of Speed in Chichester.
Each element makes its own mark on the show, with the greatest car manufacturers, utilising prefabricated buildings to display their latest models and give the visitors of Goodwood something to be a part of, whether it's social media opportunities or a car experience. For example JLR offered their guests two unique experiences - one being an off-road track in front of their stand, to demonstrate the Velar, Discovery and Rangerove models off-road capabilities, the other being a performance Jaguar experience where a visitor can sit with a performance driver while they take round a short circuit, demonstrating how an F type handles and performs with the pedal to metal.
FOS highlights we're hard to rank, the first look sets the standard with the first thing you see being a vista of automotive paradise, with buildings, cars, grandstands etc. To the left is the famous Goodwood hill climb, and beyond that - as far as the eye can see - you can just make out the manufacture offerings from the likes of Ford, Renault, Audi, Lamborghini, Mercedes, and many more, and manufacturer has gone above and beyond to make their exhibit an outstanding example.
Ford acheived this with their three-storey building, displaying the latest models including the Fiesta and the Ford GT, and a dedicated acrobatics team jumping off each stage of the building onto an inflatable mattress really performing for the crowd. The Festival of Speed is not all - Lord March loves everything with an engine, as you get to experience the Red Arrows each day, and a performance by a Typhoon in the afternoons.
This is every car show you have ever been to, vastly increased. It is more like a Formula 1 event, rather than a festival - it's phenomenal. It has to be seen to believed. Everywhere you go, it's Cars, Cars, Cars. Vintage, Future, even Classics have raced down the track, performing time trials. The guys in the Mustangs couldn't help themselves, wheel spinning all the way down the track, performing for the visitors, for the crowd and each day you get to see various batches of cars, with everything from pre war through to the modern car.
This year the Festival had something really special to celebrate - two things in fact, with the five era's of Bernie Ecclestone, covering everything he did for motorsport, including owning his own racing team, and then becoming part of the FIA, bringing the sport of Formula 1 to a a vastly increased audience. The other crowning acheivement is the 70th anniversary of Ferrari, the Italian supercar manufacturer, founded by Enzo Ferrari 1947.
If you love the Italian Marque, this was the perfect place to witness a range of Ferrari models from 1947 up to 2017, each racing car being put through their paces on the Goodwood Hillclimb, including the GTO, the La Ferrari FXX K, the Dino, the California, and even a beastly F40. It was a feast of the senses.
Now in its 24th year, the FOS has reached new heights, with highlights including the Hillclimb, Bonhams the auction house, as well as the Cartier collection, Veuve Cliquot, and a Michelin supercar paddock.
Everything about the Festival of Speed is well engineered - to the event, to the management, to the location. It was the only car event on this scale that we've ever been to where the traffic flows freely out of the event, onto surrounding roads and back onto main roads with no delays, except maybe a five minute delay in the field. As you arrive and leave the event, there are tractors and trailers to ferry visitors to and from the car parks. It is an extremely well oiled process.
You could spend literally days just walking around the trade stands, and the manufacturers exhibits, And if you want immerse yourself in luxury experience, including seafood and champagne, Goodwood organic food, Veuve Cliquot Champagne bars, and many brands and manufacturers offering their VIP guests hospitality packages in private areas. When you have had your fill of opulence, you can head up to the pits we can get up close and personal with all the cars performing on the Hillclimb, rally cars, vintage cars, Formula One cars - every type of car you can think of, and others that you only see in pictures. Not only that, you get to see the mechanics and pit teams working in real time on tuning their engines. Literally every couple of minutes you will hear one start up, and the sound will amaze you. We were lucky enough to hear some 1980's Formula One cars, a 1960's Alfa Romeo Giulia, and even a 1980's RS200. Whilst in this state of bliss, you may experience one of these behemoths brush past you on its way back to the pits - it is amazing how close you to get these vehicles as they are literally inches away, escorted by their overseers.
If you are scouting for out of this world, we witnessed the Rolls-Royce Sweptail - a £10 million coachbuilt Rolls-Royce, which took three years to build. Not only did we see it just sitting there in the paddock, we saw it drive out onto the Goodwood Hillclimb - truly a phenomenon. The rush, the exhilaration, of so many beautiful machines just took our breath away, and if you wondering what other rare marques made an appearance at Goodwood this year, we saw at least five Bugatti Veyrons, and two Chiron's.
New, unrealeased models are also a big part of the FOS, with JLR, their new range Rover Velar, which was on the track as well as got up close and personal in their showroom. There was even one, parked in the car park with the word Prototype printed on the back. Other vehicles included a Q2, the new Renault Zoe. We even saw new Renault sport which we believe was a Twizzy, however it was unbadged.
Honda outdid themselves, with not just new cars, racing cars, there was also the evolution of the Honda Civic, with each MK of the Honda Civic driving up the track including the infamous EK9, what a sound - generations of Honda technology performing.
If you are on with your own project car (or cars) there were no end of parts, detailing, and tools and trade stands to whet any appetite, and carry out any task. There's nothing that can prepare you for the experience of Goodwood. I know weare really raving about this event, the FOS delivers every single year - it gets better and better. The whole atmosphere is pure octane, accompanied to a symphony of the motor engine, with the orchestra being the V8, the V12,etc.
Thank you Goodwood - you treated our team like royalty. See you at the Revival.