The 26th edition of the ever-growing Goodwood Festival of Speed closed on Sunday after another four days of West Sussex’s answer to ‘What happens when you cross a global motor show with a quintessentially British garden party?’
Apologies to those who were only present on the Sunday, my visit completely avoided the rain and I’m pleased to be boasting the bronzed extremities to prove it!
This year saw centre stage occupied by Aston Martin, to mark 70 years at the festival. A simple but beautiful central sculpture was supported each day with a short musical and automotive showcase, taking in fireworks, Land of Hope and Glory and, of course a certain James Bond.
For me though, the manufacturers’ stands are the main draw and first mention has to go to the fine men and women of Potash Lane, Hethel. Lotus Cars of course and they were signalling their serious ambition with a thumping, green-and-yellow-tastic stand, showing the full range of current production cars and the obligatory historic F1 car. Not just any F1 car this time around though; this year’s display included the very special Lotus Type 25 – the fabled 25/R6 – the actual car in which Jim Clark set the best ever time of 1:20.4 for a lap of the Goodwood circuit, all the way back in in 1965. Still unbeaten! A very pleasant surprise for a very lucky few was a behind-closed-doors preview of the Type 130 EV Hypercar, the Evija. Give me a call and I’ll take you through the correct pronunciation…
From there is was off to Jaguar Land Rover, a stand resonating to the screech of expensive rubber as visitors are given the opportunity to observe the local flora and fauna at close quarters through the side windows of a fleet of oversteering F-Types. For me though, the highlight of the stand was just set apart from it, as it happens, with Land Rover teasing a camouflaged brand new 110” wheelbase Defender, just in advance of its planned launch in the autumn. An equally-disguised 90 also ran up the hill. Still a British icon, even if manufacture is planned for Slovakia? The debate rages on!
Over to the other side of the bridge to catch up with the latest news from everyone’s favourite orange-coloured supercar brand, McLaren. I think they really get it right, bringing the best of their offering to the fans at the show as well as the VIP owners. This was epitomised by the placing of the genuinely beautiful Speedtail front and centre in the public area of the stand, making for perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime personal viewing for so many. Why is it that so many other new cars are just not particularly beautiful these days?
Famous Italian brand De Tomaso took the opportunity to debut its brand new P72, an homage to the 1965 P70 prototype racer brought bang up to date. Absolutely one of the stars of the show and that was before we were all able to experience it firing up and going up the hill!
There was just enough time to catch the Lamborghini stand, very cleverly positioned right in the very middle of all the action. The company is currently riding on the crest of a wave with the new Huracan EVO, the evergreen Aventador and now the Urus, which has effectively doubled the company’s sales, all on display. Any self-respecting Lambo owner has to these days also give garage space over to the official Lamborghini massage chair, ‘road’ tested by yours truly and available in colours to match your latest four-wheeled Italian thoroughbread!
See you all next year!