BOTB’s Goodwood FoS 2017 Highlights {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

6 Jul 2017

Many people have never been to Goodwood, some have never even heard of the Festival of Speed, but if you’ve got even a tiny amount of petrol running through your veins (not literally – if you do you should probably go to hospital) you need to visit this car mecca next year. There have been many people complaining about the lack of a proper British Motor Show these days (I’m ignoring the Battersea thing because it was rubbish) but if you want a Motor Show, Goodwood is now the place. In the central area most manufacturers have a stand, though the word ‘stand’ is a little limp. Ford, Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, they all had two or three storey buildings erected to display their ranges, far larger than you get even at the biggest international motor shows. And that’s just the big stands – there was a whole area of smaller exhibitors (including BOTB which had Shmee150s Focus RS displayed), myriad food outlets and a motorcross arena – just in the infield area. Goodwood has a hillclimb too on their famous racetrack – most of which is actually formed from Lord March’s driveway – and it is this that separates the infield area from the rest of the activities there.

Throughout the four days of the Festival of Speed cars from different eras, classes and manufacturers race up the hill to delight the crowds and set the fastest times (the BAC Mono was the fastest road car overall). It’s such a unique event because where else can you see a 1911 Fiat land speed record car with a 28-litre four-cylinder engine called ‘The Beast of Turin’ being driven in anger shortly after the brand new McLaren 720S? So here are my favourite bits from Goodwood FoS 2017:

French Fancy

I saw the new Alpine in Geneva, but that was static on a display – this is the first time we’ve been able to see the A110 in the metal, in the real world with other cars and to see (and more importantly hear) it on the move. I spent a good half hour in the paddock looking at all the details and chatting with Alpine’s PR people about this car and I can say without a doubt that it’s the most exciting car of 2017 for me and I know that’s a strong statement given the 720S, 812 etc are also launched this year. But the Alpine is lightweight (1080kg wet), really compact on the road, is mid-engined, RWD and has a 250bhp turbo engine linked to an all-new 7spd DSG gearbox. It seems like it could be the perfect sports car for me as I love light, nimble cars and you’ll be able to use every bit of that performance without getting too worried about losing your licence. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel later this year and find out if it lives up to the hype.

You can win the A110 right here

All the Type-R’s

Here at BOTB the Honda Civic Type-R is hugely popular and for good reason. It’s a fierce, brutal hot hatch with aggressive looks, crazy performance and lots of heritage – and that’s the last generation model. I haven’t driven the new Type-R yet but those who have say it more than lives up the evocative badge. So it was great to see all the Honda Type-R models going up the hill last weekend – from the original Civic, through the Integra Type-R to the unicorn – the Mk1 NSX Type-R. The NSX-R is so rare that Honda hasn’t even got one on their heritage fleet (where the other cars are from) but it’s widely regarded as one of the best handling cars of all time thanks to the low weight, focused driving experience and wonderful V6 engine. It even has a titanium key! Anyway, seeing all those Type-Rs going up the hill was a special moment and just made me more eager to drive the new one!

You can win the new Type-R right here

Special Vehicle Operations

Such is the importance of Goodwood that it’s also used to launch new cars as well, so where better to show off the latest crazy creation from Jaguar Land Rover’s SVO department – the Jaguar XE Project 8. Following on from the Project 7 which was based on the F-Type, the Project 8 takes things to another level by starting out with the handsome yet rather sensible XE saloon. But SVO go mental on it – there’s a massive rear wing, wide wheelarches, gaping front bumper intakes, new bonnet, 2+roll cage or 4-seat configurations, the list goes on. Oh and did we mention that this 4-door saloon also has a 600hp 5.0 litre supercharged V8?! That means 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds and a 200mph top speed, along with a pretty mega £150,000 price tag. Whereas the Project 7 eventually led to the F-Type SVR Jaguar says an XE SVR isn’t on the way sadly, as packaging the V8 forces too many compromises, and it would only work in LHD as the Project 8 is.

It’s not quite the same, but you can win an XE-S here

Hypercar heaven

Its’ pretty exciting to see a modern hypercar up close, or better yet on the move but that’s usually restrained on the road or god forbid cruising around Knightsbridge. It’s best to see one being driven in anger – but how about all the hypercars being driven in anger? Because that’s what we had at the FoS. Ferrari FXX-K, LaFerrari Aperta, Bugatti Chiron, Ford GT, Koenigsegg Agera RS, Zenvo ST1, Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 GTR, Pagani Huayra BC and Zonda 760, Aston Martin Vulcan AMR, Lamborghini Centenario, the list goes on and on. Every one of them screaming up the hill, showing off for the crowds, putting on a show. This alone shows why Goodwood is the best car event of the year – there’s literally nothing that even comes close.

The Cartier Lawn

As exciting as those hypercars are, they couldn’t even come close to the excitement of heading to the Cartier Style et Luxe area. This is just a big open grass area full of classic and stylish cars that have no barriers, no ropes, just sitting there – all owned by private owners too. You know it’s a special place when a £10m McLaren F1 only just makes it into the top 3 most expensive cars on display, but that top accolade goes to Ferrari. As part of the 70th Anniversary celebrations there was a selection of the most expensive cars in the world. A 250 GTO worth around £40m, a 250 SWB California Spider worth around £25m, a 250 SWB, 250 Lusso and 250 Pininfarina all which are £5m-£10m in value. Such a staggering thing to see and to be able to go right up to them and take in all the details was staggering.

Bring on the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018!