From RAF bombers to wheelstanding drag cars, the Goodwood Festival of Speed had plenty for everyone
16 July 2013

Last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed offered the best combination of cars, theatre and weather. And unlike some other motor shows, Goodwood offers an enthralling atmosphere.

Autocar reported live from the event. Here are our favourite moments from the 2013 Festival of Speed.

Jim Holder, editor

From the drama of its late entrance from behind closed gates in to the supercar run to the sheer speed at which it went up the hill, the McLaren P1 took top honours for both theatre and drama. The engine may lack outright volume, but its swooshing menace sits nicely with the space-age design of the car. One smart guy stood next to the car as Jenson Button emerged from it at the top of the hill after his run. "Bloody hell that was fast," said a visibly blown away Jenson to nobody in particular as the scissor doors swung open.

Steve Cropley, editor-in-chief

Oddball highlight you might reckon, but my highlight is FoS stalwart Bob Riggle and his 1500hp, wheelstanding Plymouth Barracuda, because a) they're always spectacular, b) they help define the ultra-wide spectrum of Festival fare - with the Eurofighter at the other extremity - and c) Bob is a top bloke.

Matt Burt, deputy editor

I did a double take when I saw Vulcan XH558 carve a lazy arc through the summer sky above Goodwood House on Saturday afternoon. How is it possible for Roy Chadwick’s 60-year-old design for the delta-winged aeroplane to still look futuristic and so fresh today? It’s a shape that’s every bit as iconic and evocative as the Jaguar D-type. The best news of all is that the bomber’s retirement from British skies has been pushed back until 2015, giving us two more years to enjoy this game-changing aircraft. 

Stuart Milne, digital editor

Transits. There were plenty of them, mostly with RAC written on the side. But there were two that offered a very different appeal. Ford’s Supervan 3, complete with glassfibre bodywork on a Group C chassis clocked some impressive speeds with Anthony Reid behind the wheel. But it was Justin Law’s G-plate Tranny – complete with roof rack and Jaguar XJ220 running gear that was the most unlikely hero on the hill.

Matt Prior, road test editor

I love the atmosphere in the cool, shaded Cathedral Paddock, especially first thing on a dewy morning. It tends to hold some of the more eclectic cars too; ones you hold personal affection for, rather than the headliners. Like the fabulous Ford Cologne Capri that Emanuele Pirro launched up the hill with some abandon. “It’s got a lot of juice,” he beamed at the top. “You can drift it!”

Matt Saunders, deputy road test editor

Specifically, what you see when you poke your head through the window of Bob Riggle’s seriously tricked-up Plymouth Barracuda stunt dragster, the Hemi Under Glass. There’s an accelerator pedal that looks big enough for a chiropodist’s chair, and a secondary windscreen cut into the front bulkhead to grant a view down the road when the front wheels are six feet in the air. At which point, he steers the car using independent brakes on each rear wheel. What a showman.

Nic Cackett, road tester

The people. All 150,000 of them. It’s the multi-cultural throng, from bare-chested, all-day breakfast eating geezers to dashing older gents in tweed and ties, that makes the Festival of Speed the special occasion that it is. All are united; not by politics, outlook or background, but by a century-old and singular passion. I heard many accents, attitudes and adjectives this year, as wildly diverse as the people they issued from, yet all engaged in discussion of the same two quintessential Goodwood subjects: the internal combustion engine, and the sunshine. Perfick. 

Darren Moss, digital reporter

Having now seen the famous machine firsthand, it seems the term speed pioneer was made for Sir Malcolm Campbell and his Bluebird. The land speed record racer was displayed at the Festival of Speed alongside other examples of the fastest machines on Earth. Bloodhound was here too, educating visitors about its 1000mph record attempt. The whole display was presented in a Daytona Beach mock-up - complete with sand and bathing beauties.

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17 July 2013

Nic Cackett wrote:

It’s the multi-cultural throng, from bare-chested, all-day breakfast eating geezers to dashing older gents in tweed and ties, that makes the Festival of Speed the special occasion that it is. All are united; not by politics, outlook or background, but by a century-old and singular passion.

Exactly my thought! There may be a similar variety of folk at something like the British Grand Prix, but they tend to be completely segregated by the tiers of ticket and hospitality on offer. At Goodwood, with a few exceptions, everyone is in it together.

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