As a kid, I grew up dreaming of supercars, going to the big motorshows, watching Grand Prix’s…. pretty much everything automotive that Australia lacks (well except for the GP in Melbourne). I guess what I’m trying to say is that the big brown land I call home is very isolated from the rest of the world in terms of automotive toys.
– Shaun Lay (UK)
Well at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed today, my eyes were opened a little wider. This festival is by far and away the best, most extravagant and breathtaking automotive event I have attended. The cars are numerous, expensive and completely unique. Pretty much all your senses are given a good long tickle at Goodwood.
Let’s talk first about how much there is to see at Goodwood. As you stroll through the paddocks, yes paddocks of cars, ranging from modern day supercars, old F1s, historics, motorbikes, Le Mans etc etc you’ll hear cars and spluttering to life as they try and make their way to the staging areas then they scream and roar up the hill climb. You’ll also smell the burnt tyres from the numerous burnouts on the hill climb and the petrol from the paddock as the old cars are fired up.
Some of the cars in the paddocks include a collection of original Bond cars (complete with rockets), cars as old as some towns n Australia, Maserati MC12, collection of MacLaren Formula 1 cars, the new Tesla electric car, Bowlers (not the hat, the Paris to Dakar type), a collection of Gulf Le Mans cars and believe it or not, a Vauxhall VXR8. The trusty Commodore was thoughtfully located next to a Bentley Flying Spur Speed, an interesting combination if you ask me.
Now lets talk expensive cars. Rolls Royce contributed to the hill climb event with a Phantom coupe for the course director. The friendly car club RPM were here showing off their Zonda, Koenigsegg and Spyker.
If you have a lazy £5,000, the Zonda’s can be yours for the weekend. The Supercar paddock was chock full of cars that you need to devote your entire working life towards… and then some.
For uniqueness we have the 2008 GT Le Mans winning Aston Martin DBR9 (yes the dirt on the car in the photos is real Le Mans dirt, how cool is that!), one of the Gulf GT40s from 1965, Mazda Furai (wow that car looks and sounds the business) and a number of concept cars that never made it onto the production line (including the previously mentioned Peugeot Proxima and Bugatti Chrono, VW Syncro and Ford GT90).
Crammed into the already full festival were numerous flybys by the impressive Airbus A380 “Super Jumbo”, Wacky Racers, a forest rally stage, Porsche off-road experience (pretty much a fleet of Cayennes doing some circle work in a lot of mud) and a whole lot more.
Needless to say, I did a lot of walking and still didn’t get to see absolutely everything.
But the beauty of Goodwood is the intimacy the greater public get to experience with the cars. Nowhere have I been can you get so close to the hero cars of yesteryear. Take for instance the old Ferrari F1 cars, in their day they were shrouded in secrecy and these days they’re normally locked up in a museum.
But at Goodwood, they’re right there in front of you, you can see the racing battle scars from many years ago, you can see the worn seat padding and you can even see the faded original stickers on the cars. And what’s even better is that you can reach out and touch the cars. Unfortunately though, some other lucky folks get to drive the things.
It is this ability to connect with all the cars at Goodwood which makes this event so special. Unless you have some friends in high places, there’s nowhere else in the world can you get so close and personal with cars of this calibre. There is absolutely nowhere else can you hear the glorious sounds of so many of these old cars coming to life and ripping up some tarmac.
For me, the Goodwood Festival is truly the most amazing event on the automotive calender and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be back next year to see, hear and smell the greatest cars in the world. And for any folks planning on making a trip to the UK, make sure Goodwood weekend is in your itinerary. It is not to be missed!