My favourite attraction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed so far? It has to be the display of land speed record vehicles.
A large area of the festival, near the Moving Motor Show, has been converted into a replica of the Daytona Beach course, home to numerous land speed record attempts over the years. There are iconic cars from past, present and even future on display - The Blue Flame, Bloodhound and Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird are just some of the attractions.
Bloodhound, which has already completed its first rocket tests, aims to break the current land speedrecord of 763mph in South Africa later this year. It then plans to break 1000mph in 2014. The car sits in its own tent to one side of the display, surrounded by technical information and full-size displays of the 18-inch hybrid rocket that will fire the Bloodhound towards its target.
The 763mph current record was set by British driver Andy Green in Thrust SSC back in 1997. Green broke his own record on the USA-based run, beating his previous speed of 713mph.
The next model in the display is Richard Brown's Gillette Mach 3 Challenger, a hydrogen-peroxide rocket-powered motorcycle that ran at 332.887mph at the Bonneville salt flats in Utah in 1999. Brown acheived the speed using two of its three rockets, and all despite the soft conditions.
One of the largest cars in the display is Gary Gabelich's Blue Flame, which took the record at 630mph in 1970. It held the LSR for 13 years, until it was broken by Richard Noble's Thrust2 in 1983.
At 403.10mph, Donald Campbell's Bluebird CN7 screamed into the history books on its South Australia run in July 1964. The car, which was unveiled at Goodwood in 1960, was designed to reach a top speed of 500mph, but wet conditions hampered early attempts at the record.
We then arrive at Renault's only land speed record holder, the Etoile Filante driven by Jean Heber in September 1956. Its 191mph top speed set a new record for turbine-engined cars - the Filante used the gas turbine engine from a helicopter.
Next to it is Johnny Allen's Texas Ceegar, whose 214.40mph at Bonneville in 1956 should have set a new motorcycle land speed record Unfortunately, the time was never ratified by officials so remains an unofficial record. The motorcycle used a Triumph engine, which led to the manufacturer adopting the Bonneville name.
Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird, which broke the Land Speed Record in 1935 at the Bonneville salt flats, is one of the more famous vehicles on display at the Festival. Campbell set a time of 301.337mph, marking the eighth time Campbell had broken the LSR — he'd go on to break it once more, in 1937. That run would also mark the fourth consecutive time he'd beaten his own speed record.
The first car to enter into the 200mph-plus club was Henry Seagrave's 1000hp Sunbeam, which took the record in March 1927 at Daytona Beach. The car had two engines, mounted both in front and behind the driver, and weighed four tonnes.
Next in the display is one of Sir Malcolm Campbell's earliest record-breaking cars, the Sunbeam V12, which cracked 150.766mph at Pendine Sands in July 1925. The run was the second time the car had been used, having first been run to 129mph at Brooklands in 1922.
Back to the present, and the display also reminds us that the search for more speed is ongoing, evidenced by not only the Bloodhound, but also by James Toseland's 52 Express bike, which plans to bring the motorcycle LSR to Britain when it tries to break 400mph in South Africa next year. He'll have competition from Richard Brown, though, who also aims to break 400mph next year in Utah with his gas turbine-engined bike, Jet Reaction.
It's fascinating to see these record-breaking machines in one place, to see the progress in engineering, and speed, through the ages. I'm reminded of just how impressive, and how bold, Bloodhound's 1000mph target is. It's almost 26 times faster than the first land speed record set by Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat in France in 1898 at 39.24mph.
Considering the gap between those record attempts is just 115 years — that's some progress.