Words and photos by Shaun Lay, Goodwood, BritainGoodwood Photo Gallery (Must See!)I’d just like to remind everyone that we are currently in a recession. Please make doubly sure that you scrounge away any spare dollars/pounds/yen/rupees because you never know what’s around the corner.And if recently you were on the A287 just north of Chichester in sunny England, then around the corner you’ld find arguably the most overwhelming experience on the automotive calendar.Anyone who has anything to do with Goodwood (including the guy who runs the show, Lord March) hasn’t obviously been watching the news recently.While the rest of the media is predicting doom and gloom global economy, CarAdvice (well at least the British contingent) is basking in the sun and breathing in the emissions from a select bunch of motor cars.By select, I mean that these cars have been important enough to be selected to drive the hill climb at the 17th Goodwood Festival of Speed.
What a bunch of cars. The estimated cost of the 350 odd motors taking part in this year’s FoS is £257million. That’s a whopping A$525million, which is about how much Ford of Australia spent developing the FG Falcon. If it was my choice, I know what I’d have. Clearly “recession” is not in Lord March’s vocabulary.
I was going to write a long article about the many highlights of this year’s FoS but I would’ve run out of cliché’s way to early so instead I’m going to make an orderly list (which is in no particular order) and insert witty comments where my limited humour allows.
1. Seeing some Aussie heroes give it a poke up the hill climb. These included Mark Webber, Mick Doohan and Troy Corser.
2. Witness some swinging action. By swinging I mean the sidecar racing variety.
3. Getting waved at by Peter Fonda. Apparently he is Mr Easy Rider. I think if you’re of similar vintage to our own Anthony Crawford then you’ll know who he is. Being a late Gen X’er Mr Fonda was a bit before my time.
4. Hearing the new and old F1 cars scream, roar and howl their way up the hill.
5. Getting up close to some of the legendary historic race cars, like Ayrton Senna’s Lotus.
6. Watching about £15 million race up the hill in the Super Car Run. I got a little homesick and Aussie proud when the Vauxhall VXR Bathurst got it’s tail out on the second corner.
7. The eerie silence of the electric and hybrid cars running up the hill. Something about motor cars with no engine noise is not quite right.
8. Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss. These two blokes are 70 and 80 years old respectively and can no doubt still show us mere mortals a thing or two about braking points and apexes (while being perfect gentlemen as well).
9. Checking out the really old school vintage technology in the pre-World War II cars in the Cathedral Paddock. These were before the days of right pedal accelerator, middle pedal brake and left pedal clutch so there’s plenty of knobs, levers and dials that look totally unfamiliar.
10. The Howmet gas turbine powered Le Mans car. Sounds like your washing machine on spin cycle only louder, cooler and faster.
11. Squeezing into the back seat of a Toyota iQ. You wouldn’t do it for a trans-Australia road trip but you’d do it for a maximum of 30 minutes, provided there was no other option.
12. Standing next to a Cummins diesel engine. You’re thinking “Wow, great highlight Shaun” but wait for the numbers. It weighs 6000kg, twin turbo V12, 45-litre, 2000bhp and a literally earthmoving 7871Nm of torque. The snails on this beast were twice the size of my head, and I’ve got a fairly big head.
13. Jesse James’s (husband of Sandra Bullock) trophy truck. 1000bhp of craziness coupled with one metre of suspension travel makes for lots of body roll but endless hours of off road fun.
14. Auto Union Type C and D … nuff said.
15. Star spotting the massive chin of Jay Leno.
16. The Citroen GT Concept Car. Much like the Mazda Furai last year, this car won me over. I love the wild and low slung styling of these cars. Unfortunately the Citroen GT didn’t make it up the hill and neither did they start it up. I doubt it would’ve sounded anywhere as cool as the triple rotor Furai.
As a final note, I had a quick chat to the Aussie bloke who brought over Allan Moffat’s Number 9, 1969 Ford Trans-Am Mustang.
I asked him how much did it cost him to bring the car over for FoS and he nonchalantly replied “about ten thousand pound or twenty thousand Aussie”.
To which I said “now that’s a bit much ain’t it?” And without hesitation he claims, “I guess, but what else do you do on your holidays?” What recession I hear you say?
That’s the problem with these events, the tremendous wealth that surrounds you is quickly ripped out of your reach as the weekend closes.
Which leaves us bottom feeders to slink back to our much-publicised recession, but rest assured come rain, hail or the deep dark depths of recession, the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed will the here to bring a smile and a sense of joy to petrol heads out there.
There’s just no event anywhere in the world that brings together all these varieties of motorsport with such fun and excitement. I’m looking forward to next year already.
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Goodwood Photo Gallery (Must See!)