Bri­tish fes­ti­val of iconic au­to­mo­biles

FES­TI­VAL OF SPEED/ Mark Smyth re­ports on some of the high­lights of this year’s Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed in the UK

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

If you have ever been to Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed then you will know that pick­ing high­lights is no easy thing. The venue is the mas­sive es­tate be­long­ing to Lord March, Duke of Richmond in the south of Eng­land, a pic­turesque spot of quin­tes­sen­tial rolling English hills re­plete with stately homes, post­card cot­tages and sprawl­ing lawns. The es­tate also has a race­track and a horserac­ing track but the fo­cus for the fes­ti­val is the 1.86km hill­climb route.

The high­lights be­gin the minute you walk through the gate. Ac­tu­ally, they be­gin be­fore you even get to the gate be­cause the car park is full of iconic au­to­mo­biles. Peo­ple drive their su­per­cars and clas­sics in from all over the UK and Europe. Once through the gate you are greeted by the per­for­mance car park­ing area with a line of Pa­ga­nis, a line of McLarens and another of Lam­borgh­i­nis and Porsches. A chap ar­rived in his As­ton Martin DB5 Su­per­leg­gera and we found him putting the child seats in the boot.

Then it’s past the pad­docks where ev­ery­thing from the first ever Porsche to drift cars im­ported from the US and a host of For­mula 1 cars through the ages are parked. It is a treasure trove of mo­tor­ing his­tory. We spot­ted the 1992 Audi S4 GTO that raced in SA and still has the orig­i­nal Wesbank, En­gen and South­ern Sun stick­ers on. South African Paolo Pi­azza-Musso was lined up to head for the hill in the Zak­speed Es­cort.

There were clas­sic Mercedes mod­els in­clud­ing a num­ber of F1 cars, Niki Lauda’s Fer­rari, a replica of the Blood­hound SSC that will at­tempt to break the world land speed record in SA in 2019 and then there was the Cartier Lawn, where such icons as a McLaren F1, a Citroen pro­to­type, As­ton Martin Van­tage V8 and oth­ers were parked for the pub­lic to pore over with­out a vel­vet rope in sight. Good­wood lets you get closer to the le­gends of the au­to­mo­tive world than any­where in the world and many of the own­ers are present to talk proudly of their cars and, in many cases, what else they have in their garage.

We found one such owner at our ho­tel in the vil­lage of Mid­hurst. We had to help him with the satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion on the first Rolls-Royce Phan­tom 8 to be de­liv­ered, while he ex­plained that nor­mally the nav­i­ga­tion is dealt with by his driver.

He owns mul­ti­ple Rollers in­clud­ing a 1915 Sil­ver Ghost, as well as nu­mer­ous Bent­leys. He told us how he goes to the Bu­gatti hill­climb, not in his Vey­ron but in his LaFer­rari be­cause he finds it amus­ing. He was an ex­am­ple of the many col­lec­tors who at­tend Good­wood with sto­ries to tell.

Back to the es­tate though and the ve­hi­cles that ac­tu­ally took to the hill. There was a drag rac­ing bike that could blow your eardrum, drifters from the US who smoked their tyres at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. Even For­mula 1 driv­ers were do­ing donuts for the crowds. In cel­e­bra­tion of Porsche’s an­niver­sary, a line of iconic mod­els took to the hill, as did a line of Land Rovers in cel­e­bra­tion of that brand’s 75th an­niver­sary this year.

Then there were the rare mod­ern su­per­cars such as the McLaren Senna, the McLaren 600LT which was launched at the event, a Fer­rari FXX and the Lam­borgh­ini Cen­te­nario.

There were pro­to­types and dy­namic de­buts too. The new Toy­ota Supra was there in mar­ket­ing camo, the Jaguar Project 8 and the Polestar 1.

It was petrol­head heaven but elec­tric cars also made their pres­ence felt more than in pre­vi­ous years. The Chi­nese Nio set a strong time, but it and many oth­ers was beaten con­clu­sively by the Volk­swa­gen ID R that just a week be­fore took the over­all win at the Pikes Peak hill­climb in the US.

It re­ally is a must-visit event for any­one who ap­pre­ci­ates great au­to­mo­biles. Put it on your list for 2019 — you’ll be amazed.

Above: The Roborace au­ton­o­mous and driver­less race car took to the hill­climb. Left: The 1992 Audi S4 GTO that raced in SA. Be­low left: The Zak­speed Ford Es­cort with South African Paolo Pi­azza-Musso be­hind the wheel.

Not your av­er­age traf­fic jam at the top of the hill.

The Porsche 70th an­niver­sary sculp­ture in front of Good­wood House, right. The Polestar 1, left, made its dy­namic de­but at Good­wood. Right: As­ton Martin shoe­horned a V8 into the Toy­ota-based Cygnet. Next to it is the new Supra pro­to­type.

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