Each year, the Goodwood Festival of Speed manages to top its seemingly unbeatable effort from the year before, in terms of action and excitement and the rarity, exclusivity and sheer breadth of cars on show. 2010’s 18th annual FoS was another to file away in that category, as the 150,000-strong crowd enjoyed another vintage year of road and race car action.
Thursday’s toe-in-the-water exercise that was the inaugural Moving Motor Show proved to be a promising hit but over the past three days all the usual treats of the FoS were there once again – exotic supercars in action up the hill, Formula One stars doing doughnuts and iconic, classic racers running alongside more racing contemporary machinery.
The FoS, once again, was packed full of action, both in the paddocks, up the hillclimb and the on the rally stage that sits at the top of Lord March’s West Sussex estate.
The theme Viva Veloce! The Passion for Speed allowed Alfa Romeo to take centre stage in its centenary year. Alfa provided the Cloverleaf-inspired statue in front of the house, along with a healthy showing of its cars in most of the day’s hill action. The Alfa Giulietta also made its UK debut at the MMS on Thursday.
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.