From the passenger seat of the new Bentley Continental Supersports, with racing legend Derek Bell at the wheel and about to go up a sunny Goodwood hillclimb course, it was hard not to feel patriotic.
The 2009 FOS was the first public outing for the latest Bentley. With 621bhp and 110kg cut from its still lavish interior, the Supersports is the fastest and most powerful Bentley ever. And it lived up to the hype.
With Bell pushing for a good time on our Sunday afternoon run it felt brutally fast off the line and responsive elsewhere – peak speed on the climb was 105mph.
But it was the driver that really made the run special. With five Le Mans wins to his name it was to be expected, yet the spectacular show of car control was no less impressive from where I sat.
Neither was Bell himself, who proved to be the kind of gentleman racer that fills you with pride in the sport. He always found time to give autographs and to speak to the hordes of fans that swarmed around him.