The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK is like Mecca for motorists, paradise for petrolheads, Canaan for car lovers, nirvana for, well, you get the drift (pun intended). Billed as the world’s largest automotive garden party (how very British), the Festival of Speed (FoS) has something for everyone from vintage and classic motors to Formula One and Group B rally cars, supercars, hypercars and ‘what the hell are those’ cars. It caters for every enthusiast. What’s more, even if you don’t particularly like cars, the FoS still offers lots of things to see and do, including a Ferris wheel, children’s crèche and play area and live music and DJs, so it is the perfect weekend for everyone.
Here are just some of the top reasons you need to go to the Goodwood Festival of Speed (as if you need a reason):
1 – You get to see some bonkers cars up close and personal. Here are the top five coolest cars at this year’s event:
- A Kamaz Dakar Rally all-wheel-drive truck.
- The phenomenal Aston Martin Vulcan, which was voted Michelin ‘Showstopper of the Festival’.
- The ultra-rare AC Frua or AC 428, built by AC Cars at the Thames Ditton production facilities in the UK, is a true hybrid with its Italian body, British chassis and American big block V8 engine.
- The Fiat S76, a 28.3-litre (that’s not a typo) flame-belching behemoth – known in 1911 as the ‘Beast of Turin’.
- The Subaru Impreza “Gobstobber II”, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing an insane 860hp.
2 – At Goodwood, you get to walk around the paddock and see and hear loads of historic race cars. Here are the top five race cars in the paddock this year:
- A newly restored 1964 Cheetah-Cadillac.
- 1972 Dodge Charger, a classic Nascar racer driven by Richard Petty.
- Mazda 787B, one of Mazda’s famous rotary-engined Le Mans cars.
- McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’, finished in the iconic blue and orange Gulf livery.
- The Renault RS01, Renault’s first Formula One car.
3 – You get to rub shoulders and have your photo taken with the rich and famous. Here are the top famous folk that we stalked bumped into at this year’s festival:
- Keanu Reeves, who rode his Arch KRGT-1 motorbike, which he designed himself. When not riding the hill he was posing for photos with fans.
- Nico Rosberg, who took to the course in the W05 Mercedes Hybrid F1 car, which carried the Mercedes team to victory in the 2014 World Constructor’s Championship.
- Ken Block, who wowed the crowds and covered them in tyre smoke from the epic donuts he was doing in his Ford Fiesta RX43, the star of Gymkhana 8.
- Derek Bell, the five-time Le Mans winner, F1 driver and endurance racing legend, took to the hill in the 1972 Mirage GR7 of James Hunt and the new Bentley Bentayga SUV.
4 – See the future. You get to be the first to see future models and concepts before anyone else. Here are some of the best of this year’s first glance cars:
- Aston Martin DB11.
- Bugatti Chiron.
- Lexus LC.
- McLaren 570S Sprint.
- Renault Twingo GT.
- Volkswagen Golf GTI Club Sport.
5 – You also get to lust after some jaw-droppingly expensive cars. Here are some of the most valuable cars at this year’s FoS:
- The beautiful BMW 507, worth a cool €1.2 million.
- The bonkers Bugatti Chiron, worth €2.4 million.
- The ultra-rare McLaren P1 LM, worth €3.6 million.
- A gorgeous 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL worth €1.9 million.
6 – The hill climb shoot-out is one of the best things about the weekend as crazy drivers in even crazier cars attempt to get up to the top of the course in the quickest time. These guys were the fastest this year:
- Olly Clark in the Subaru Impreza ‘Gobstopper II’ with a time of 46.29 seconds.
- Kenny Brack in the McLaren P1 LM with a time of 47.07 seconds.
- Mike Skinner in the Toyota Tundra with a time of 50.44 seconds.
- Andrew Newall in the McLaren-Chevrolet M8F with a time of 51.01 seconds.
- Charlie Eastwood in the Porsche 911 GT3 with a time of 51.34 seconds.
- Jordan Grogor in the Hesketh-Cosworth 308B with a time of 52.49 seconds.
- David Franklin in the Ferrari 312 P Spyder with a time of 53.33 seconds.
- Ed Berrier in the Chevrolet SS with a time of 53.81 seconds.
- Pat Doran in the Ford RS200 ‘Pikes Peak’ with a time of 53.97 seconds.
- Peter Pentell in the Lancia Lasupra with a time of 55.17 seconds.
7 – Stuff your face! Goodwood has some tasty treats to keep you fueled and here are just some of the best things to put in your mouth over the course of the weekend:
- Goodwood has its own farm so all the fast food stands around the paddock area sell meat reared right on the estate grounds, so it is all organic, local and fresh.
- You can have a sit-down meal created with ingredients from the Goodwood Farm in the Richmond Arms restaurant.
- There are also plenty of food tents dotted throughout the place selling champagne, oysters and seafood, as well as ice-cream, drinks and coffee stalls.
- Over by the manufacturer area, there are loads of traditional festival foods like hot dogs and burgers but also treats like fresh Belgian waffles, cakes, sandwiches and of course there are beer tents too.
- And this wouldn’t be a British garden party without afternoon tea or a proper posh picnic hamper and both of these can also be had at the festival.
8 – One-upmanship! Check out the elaborate manufacturer display stands, which showcase the newest and forthcoming models. The stands themselves are mega. Here are just two of our favorites from this year’s event:
- The Honda stand was a recreation of an old toy car garage, complete with turning handle and slide that the cars roll down.
- At the Ford stand, you could climb up the top to get a better view and then by-pass the steps down by jumping off the stand
9 – And if you still aren’t convinced that you should go to the Goodwood Festival of Speed then how about this one final reason: there is a car auction. Bring your cheque book and you could bag yourself a bargain. This year the following cars were up for auction:
- A 1949 Aston Martin DB Team Car, which sold for €822,652.
- A 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Berlinetta.
- A 1981 BMW M1, number 413 of only 453 built, which sold for €368,140.
- A 1985 Lister Jaguar 7.0-litre Le Mans coupe, which sold for a bargain €42,398.
So book those tickets for next year’s festival and enjoy the world’s largest car garden party whilst scoffing and quaffing in the beautiful English countryside and, perhaps, drive away in the car of your dreams. It’s not to be missed