...with the sound of tyre squeal. It’s that time again, when petrol-heads gather to celebrate the joy of motoring – Goodwood Festival of Speed. 2009 has proved as spectacular as ever, with no sign of the economic situation having an impact on the car-loving public.
Lord Marsh has once again delivered a thoroughly enjoyable experience, outdoing the British Motor show and any number of outdoor motoring events.
Half the fun of Goodwood is spotting well-known faces in the crowd and on the track, either motorsport heroes – Stirling Moss, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton or enthusiasts such as Rowan Atkinson, Michael Jackson and Andy Murray (OK, the last two were conspicuous by their absence this year – the Scot sat at home with an excuse to look miserable at last and Mr. Jackson honouring a previous commitment in LA).
As mentioned in my last blog entry, Audi were the featured marque this year, celebrating their centenary with the Gerry Judah-designed sculpture on the lawn outside Goodwood House. This dramatic freestanding steel structure featured a dynamic swoop with the trails of two iconic Audi’s from past and future – the 1937 Auto Union Streamliner and the new V10-engined R8. Beautifully simplistic in its concept, yet a masterpiece of construction in order to stand without the need for additional bracing.
The Sunday Times Supercar garage and hill run gave a glimpse of some exotic metal and debuts – the Bugatti Veyron Targa Gran Sport (and a chromed version costing a cool £2million!), a Mercedes Benz McLaren SLR Stirling Moss, Pagani Zonda R and Lexus LF-A (hurry up and launch the bloody thing as we’re all getting bored with the tease – but we like the glass version below).
One spectacular debut that failed to materialise was the GTbyCitroën on the hill climb. A burned out clutch sustained at Silverstone earlier in the week put a stop to this. However, as the car looks as if it’s traveling at 200mph even when it’s standing still, the GT was stunning (if not beautiful) in the flesh. The gong for best interior is awarded here, the copper dash is inspirational.
So to the list of the rest of my Goodwood awards...
And the prize for impact goes to the Infiniti Essence Concept, this stunning hybrid coupé sat within the technology pavilion and tackled the hill climb, its aluminium bodywork glowing in the bright Goodwood sunlight.
Another hill-climber, and winner of most beautiful car (for a second year running) goes to the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. An effortless modern design classic.
The show low was provided by BMW – the forthcoming 5 Series GT (the only BMW on the stand) is a bit of a letdown with it’s saloon/hatch/Skoda Superb boot. The saloon opening is more like a glove box so why bother? I also overheard a conversation with someone saying “thank God Bangle has gone now, at least this one looks better”. This always annoys me as BMW owes much of its success as a forward-looking cutting edge automotive manufacturer to the vision and commitment of former design head Chris Bangle. Rant over.
I love Goodwood and its embodiment of all things automotive. It celebrates the passion that we feel for cars, not just an acceptance of their necessity. The motor industry has a lot to learn from an event such as this. In times of economic uncertainty, manufacturers must tap into the personal connection we all have with our vehicles, the independence they provide and the individuality they project.
Praise the Lord (March).