Considering the Goodwood Festival of Speed has been running for nearly as long as I’ve lived, its quite astonishing that as a keen car nut, this year’s festival was going to be my first.
I’ve always read and seen so much of this Goodwood event but for some reason I never actually thought about going, that all changed when I was invited this year.
Sunday’s Festival of Speed had the sketchiest weather of the event weekend but nothing was slowing down this year’s event with its “Flat out and fearless” theme.
A host of manufacturers came out to play with some incredible stands. Jaguar Land Rover had a host of experiences set up with choices for drifting in an F-Type or a terrain experience with Land Rover’s incredible machines and props that test the vehicles off-roading capabilities.
One of my favourite stands was the Ford stand which featured the Fiesta ST, Focus RS, the Ford GT40 which had a Ford GT suspended over the top of it and then to top it off the all-new Ford GT was also on show. The best part of Ford’s performance themed stand was the option to leave the stand much quicker than any other, via a slide going down three floors.
During all of the trips around the manufacturer stands my ears were treated to the screams of V10 F1 cars, Le Mans racers and the V12 cries from heaven from the Ferrari XX cars.
An already awesome day got better when Peugeot offered me a ride up the hill with their skilled racer Gregory Guilvert, a man who has already tackled the famous hill in 2013 in the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak. This year Gregory was going to be going fairly slower (but still pretty darn quick) driving up the hill in the all-new 308 GTI.
After a quick photo with Ken Block we readied up for the start line. I could waffle on for days and exceed my word limit on how incredible it was to experience. Gregory pushed the punchy and lively 270hp 308 GTI as hard as he could up the hill and I have to say that the car has the makings of a very exciting hot hatch.
After a thrilling run up and a playful run back down the hill, after leaving the paddock I took a moment to reflect on how tremendous the day was. On a weekend with multiple festivals taking place such as Glastonbury and Wireless Festival it then occurred to me that the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the car equivalent of Glastonbury, except instead of a select number of huge headline acts, everything is a headline act. It is the best possible weekend any petrolhead, motor racing fan or just general appreciator of cars can possibly have.
By James Fothergill