SUNDAY - Took our Ferrari FF to Goodwood’s Supercar Sunday, first of the 2015 Breakfast Club season.
We do as many as possible on the premise that, like everything else Goodwood does, they’ll be packed with rare and fascinating machinery.
The FF was joined by a superb black Porsche 918 Spyder on one side and by a beautiful Lamborghini Miura on the other. Amazing machinery stretched into the distance; at the peak there must have been 300 supercars. Wandered about and drank several rounds of coffee, but eventually the pervading wind and rain became a bit too much.
We were about to leave but I got talking to my Miura-owning neighbour, Chris Wood, who, despite the weather, was giving his beautiful car its first outing since completion of a seven-year restoration.
He has owned the Lambo since the late 1970s, having bought it with an unexpected legacy against the advice of older and more conservative family members who tried to convince him that the money should be more formally invested. “But things have worked out okay,” he said. “These days it’s worth around 100 times what I paid.”
TUESDAY - At the Millbrook test track in Bedfordshire I ran into Vauxhall boss Tim Tozer, who’d brought his ex-military Land Rover Wolf there for an outing. Knowing that I share a weakness for these tough old British bulldog 4x4s, he invited me into the car park to view it.
His is the ultimate army rag-top and in perfect condition, and he’s kept it original with things such as antenna mounts, radio racking, wing-mounted tools, authentic lug tyres and even a sign on the side admonishing troops not to ‘loiter’ near its antennae.
It’s surprising how many car company bosses own old Landies, but Tim is the only one I know who’s relaxed enough to let it go on the record.
WEDNESDAY - Getting more and more impatient to take a decent drive in a Jaguar XE, especially after our recent five-star first drive verdict landed. I see our testers in action every day, so I know how thoroughly they have to be convinced that a car deserves our ultimate accolade.
So far, I’ve taken no more than a little trundle in one of the early 2.0-litre diesel prototypes (the 99g/km model that Jaguar hopes will do big business in the company car market).
What impressed me most was the fact that it didn’t feel compromised in any way, despite being an entry-level model. I have the distinct feeling that the Wolverhampton-made Ingenium engine family is going to be one of the greats, but I’m impatient to gather some more evidence.
THURSDAY - Invited to Oxford University in the evening to hear Audi boss Wolfgang Stadler deliver a lecture to students about his company’s commitment to future mobility.
I was a bit sceptical about his motives – Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche did something similar a few weeks earlier, so perhaps it was fashionable – but after I was given the chance to question the Audi chief in detail, I changed my ideas.
Stadler is convincing on the suggestion that digitisation and connectivity will drive car progress. The prize will be fewer accidents, a re-establishment of inner-city order and the return of increasingly valuable time to car users.
Some city drivers spend a month per year in traffic jams, Audi says, and a week a year merely searching for a parking space. It can’t go on. If cars talked to one another and were electronically directed via lightly trafficked routes to reserved parking spaces (all of which “isn’t rocket science”), even cities as hopelessly choked as Mexico City could be transformed. I liked what I heard.