The Goodwood Festival of Speed: the name alone can send shivers down the spine of the dedicated petrolhead, evoking in the mind a heady mix of sun (if you’re optimistic), champagne, good food, famous stars and luxury cars.
It’s the world’s biggest motorsport festival: as quintessentially bound up with the English summer as Wimbledon, and, though accessible, just as lavish and glamorous. Aptly described as “motorsport's ultimate summer garden party,” it takes place at the site of the historic Goodwood House near Chichester in West Sussex and attracts over 200,000 visitors over a long weekend. Few would quibble with the festival’s claim that it is “the world’s greatest celebration of motorsport and car culture.”
This year was the festival’s 30th anniversary; it’s a banner year too for Porsche and Lotus, with each conspicuously present at Goodwood as they celebrated 75 years of trading apiece, while McLaren Racing celebrated its sixtieth year. I was lucky enough to go, so what better place than the Gerrell & Hard blog to share some of my personal highlights?
To nobody’s surprise, an inescapable highlight of the festival was the plethora of plugins on display, many of them stunning. They included the Audi Hoonitron, a one-off electric monster boasting 1,400 horsepower, showcased with Audi Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in the driving seat; the Porsche Mission X: a potential future supercar that qualifies as one of the most “wow” things on four wheels that I’ve seen; the Pininfarina Battista Nino Farina: a sleek hypercar limited to five units; the Caterham Project V: a stunning lightweight electric sportscar from Caterham that could be available by 2025, and the Polestar 3: an electric crossover SUV of real elegance. No coyness about our partnership with Polestar will prevent me from expressing my admiration for this car.
The Hyundai Ionic 5N debut
A clear highlight for many at the festival judging by the reception it got, Hyundai’s new electric hot hatch was launched by racer and model Jodie Kidd, Goodwood Estate owner the Duke of Richmond and Hyundai President Jae Hoon Chang. It is Hyundai’s inaugural high-performance electric model and a testament to the company’s electrified future, offering EV-lovers a chance to have some fun. Seen in action at close range, the Ionic is fantastically exciting and a very marketable car. It’s great to see what Hyundai is doing with its electric range and performance brands.
The famous Goodwood hillclimb is an opportunity for sportscar manufacturers, race teams and drivers to show off their racing credentials. Just over a mile long, the Duke’s driveway runs through the centre of the estate and is annually transformed into one of the world’s most challenging motor racing courses as elite drivers challenge each other to a “Sunday Shootout.” In 2022 Max Chilton set a record of 39.08 seconds in a McMurtry Spéirling. This year’s winner was Marvin Kirchhöfer, who put in a fantastic round of 45:34 seconds in his McLaren Solus GT. Always a festival highlight. Watch the practice runs.
INEOS’s Grenadier programme
INEOS Automotive had a fantastic showing at the festival, showcasing a range of innovations and its brand-new Grenadier Quartermaster double cab pick-up, which took the lead in a stunt to honour of the 75th anniversaries of Goodwood Motorsports and the Belstaff Trialmaster motorcycle jacket. INEOS and Belstaff collaborated to assemble a lineup of 75 vintage and contemporary off-road motorcycles for the renowned hillclimb, led by a Quartermaster truck and guided by seven-time motorcycle trials world champion Dougie Lampkin, who treated the crowds to an exhibition of motorcycle stunts using the Quartermaster as a prop.
Autonomous mobility pods
Festivalgoers who wanted to feel like they really were staring into the face of the future could check out Italdesign’s mobility innovation project, Climb-E. The concept is described by the company as “an autonomous transportation concept that can guarantee a seamless private travel experience and a series of services straight to people’s doors, thanks to its complete capacity to integrate into next-gen and future civil and residential building structures.” I prefer to think of it as an autonomous mobility pod that could transport people around an inner city like a taxi, and can also move up and down like a lift. It’s amazing, and I’ll be mentally filing this next to the Arrival Chemie EV concept and Zoox: it represents a future where mobility is about riding in small electric autonomous vehicles that can theoretically deposit us almost anywhere we need to go.
Gordon Murray Design showcased some incredible supercars: the T33 and the T50 are beautiful, with tiny physical footprints for vehicles boasting so much technology. If any cars can be called art, it’s these.
Chinese car brand NIO debuted its ET5 at Goodwood prior to a planned but as-yet-unspecified UK launch. The brand intends to bring not just its cars but its wraparound services, such as battery swapping and NIO Houses, to the domestic market. It stands out as a strong entrant to the European market, where it has already launched in some countries.
So many more brands and technologies caught my eye, but I’ll finish on a note that seems appropriate for a festival where nostalgia rubs shoulders with innovation. To mark its sixtieth year, the McLaren Racing stand contrasted old and new, with modern cars alongside famous historic models such as the MP4/8 of Ayrton Senna. It was a poignant touch: a reminder of the legends of the past and the continually evolving nature of motorsport and mobility.