Car fans could have gone home happy by 10am on the first day – by that stage they’d already been treated to the world public debut of the McLaren MP4-12C in the Supercar Run, where it starred alongside others including Ferrari’s 599 GTO and 458 Italia (both making UK debuts), the Mercedes SLS AMG and the usual array of Paganis, Bugattis and Koenigseggs.
The Supercar Run is being followed each year by an increasingly popular First Look run, where innovative concept cars (usually tucked away inside the fascinating FoS-Tech pavilion) get their chance to shine on the hill. This year’s selection included the Audi e-tron, Vauxhall Ampera and a Lotus-developed hydrogen taxi.
This year, Goodwood acted as a warm up to next weekend’s British grand prix. Half of this year’s 12 Formula One teams have made the trip to Goodwood this year, including a first outing from Lotus. It was heartening to see Mark Webber back in action just one week after his massive accident in Valencia – he ensured the rear tyres of his Red Bull wouldn’t see action again by undertaking a succession of burnouts at the top of the hill. Red Bull tech guru Adrian Newey also got a chance to show his skills behind the wheel of an F1 car.
McLaren stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both put in appearances over the weekend, driving both the MP4-12C road car and following Webber’s lead in ‘smoking’ their way up the hill when driving their company cars.
The great racers and quirks that make Goodwood special would be too long to list. Sir Stirling Moss was back in action behind the wheel, despite suffering two broken ankles in March; Barry Sheene’s son Freddie took to the hill in a special road bike built to honour his great father; Jackie Stewart drove Jim Clark’s Lotus Indy racer – the first time the car had seen action in more than 40 years; and a Ford Transit equipped with a Jaguar XJ220’s engine powered its way up the hill in the timed top 20 shoot out at the end of the event. Roger Wills proved to be the fastest man of the weekend in a 1976 Williams Cosworth FW05.
Ken Block enjoyed his first trip to Goodwood in his Ford WRC car, carrying out run after run on the rally stage aiming to beat Sebastian Loeb’s one-year-old course record, pausing only for some burnouts when unleashed on the main hillclimb. IRC cars from Peugeot and Skoda, as well as a Renault 5 Turbo, followed his act.
Goodwood has already been dubbed Britain’s unofficial motor show. With the addition of the impressive new pavilion for static display cars, along with the chance to see more and more contemporary supercars and future concepts in action, expect next year’s Festival to cement that title further as its relevance to road car fans and manufacturers grows greater still.