Written by Graham Cutbill-White
The much-loved and legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed gets underway this week and once again the festival looks likely to be an entertaining and exciting event for all manner of car lovers.
Beyond the usual hillclimb and air displays, this year there’s even more reason to get excited as the festival celebrates its Silver Jubilee.
25 years after the Duke of Richmond brought motor racing back to the Goodwood estate, the 2018 FoS will honour the history and success of the event by taking a nostalgic journey back over the history of the festival.
To mark the occasion there will be a celebration of the Duke’s 25 favourite moments from the past 25 years of the event.
Beyond that, motor enthusiasts from across the world can expect to see a brand-new production prototype unveiling, the celebration of another historic landmark, and some of the most exciting hill climb attempts ever.
Having seen and lived it all, festival founder, Charles Gordon-Lennox – the Duke of Richmond has got plenty to choose from when he selects his 25 favourite moments since the festival began.
It’s not been announced which moments are going to be celebrated during the event but in a recent interview, the Duke did let slip some of the moments that he holds close.
When the festival launched in 1993, a crowd of 3,000 was expected, actually, 25,000 people showed up, one of whom was one of the biggest rock stars on the planet.
“George Harrison, for example. It was the first year and I’m walking across the stables and there’s this bloody Rocket parked in the middle of everything. I had a slight moment of frenzy, because I’m trying to make the place look decent, and said, ‘Whose the hell is this? It’s ridiculous. Get it out of here; tow it away.’ And they said: ‘We think it’s George Harrison’s.’ And I replied: ‘You’ve got to be joking.’ But it was.’
“And then I met him and, it shows how relaxed we all were then, I asked: ‘Do you want to drive up the hill?’ And he said: ‘Yeah, yeah, great, love to man.”
In 1999, then Formula 1 driver, Nick Heidfeld smashed the course record with a blink-and-you-miss-it time of 41.6 seconds. Unfortunately, the Duke may have been the one person to miss it…
“Most disappointing for me is that I didn’t see it. But at the same time it didn’t matter, because I heard it. And I absolutely knew, my God, it was like the whole place was electrified. Suddenly you hear this thing set off, hitting the high notes through every gear – it was different, almost weird because it was as if everyone knew what was happening, like with a great racehorse.”
As well as the silver jubilee, there’s another anniversary being celebrated at this year’s festival. As part of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary, the manufacturer will host a parade of over 70 of the best and most famous Land Rover products ever made.
Fans will be treated to close-ups of an original Range Rover and one of the last ever Defenders to be produced. There’s also a 1947 Land Rover prototype, a Series 2 Defender from a 1959 African expedition, and the full existing line-up of Land Rover vehicles.
There are plenty of new cars expected to get their first public outing at this year’s festival including a four-door coupe version of the Mercedes-AMG, the BMW 8 Series and the European debut of the Tesla Model 3.
It’s the public debut of the Toyota Supra though that has got most people talking. It will be the first time the car has been seen in the flesh and moving and is expected to be taken up the hill this weekend by chief engineer Tetsuya Tada.
Tada, when discussing the new Supra, which is expected to be available in the second half of 2019 said:
“It’s really fun to drive this car. Front engines, rear drive… with such a concept, you can have the greatest amount of fun to enjoy a drive in the world. It’s fun on the road as well as the race track, the autobahn and the English countryside.”
The only downside to the unveiling is that fans will have to wait and see the look of the Supra as it is will be heavily camouflaged.
Probably the most famous feature of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the hillclimb. Once again, the festival will feature a number of new and vintage cars battling it out to post the fastest score and earn a place in the Sunday Shoot-out.
Among the hundreds of vehicles competing this year are two autonomous cars. The Roborace Robocar will battle it out with an autonomous car from Siemens to become the first self-driving car to complete the course.
Also taking to the track this year is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The brand-new SUV will get it’s debut on the Goodwood course and is expected to turn heads. Another SUV getting its first appearance on the hill is the Jaguar F-Pace SVR.
Some of the cars looking to not only compete but challenge for the overall title this weekend is the Bentley Bentayga Pikes Peak and the VW I.D. Pikes Peak, both of which had strong showings at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
There’s also the racing version of the Alpine A110 which debuted at last year’s festival to throw into the mix.
If you’re like the look of the events mentioned above as well as the prospect of more fast and furious racing, you can find ticket info and event details below.
The 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place between the 12th and 15th July.
On all the days, the opening hours are as follows:
Tickets for some of the days are limited but can be purchased here. You must buy your tickets in advance of the event as it’s not possible to buy tickets on the day, and there will be no admission without a ticket.
Prices for the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed are as follows: