Goodwood Festival of Speed a motoring mecca

Those of you who read these pages regularly know that I’m not just a motoring journalist, I am a confirmed motoring nutter. I am that person who can work a chat about a car into a conversation about the economic matters of the Sudan, it’s not just a job it’s a way of life for me.
So when I got asked by the lovely people in if I’d like to go along to Goodwood I became like a child at Christmas, counting down the days until my ticket arrived in the post.
We flew out on the Thursday morning and got into Gatwick where we were picked up in a Ford Galaxy and driven down to the event by the nicest private taxi driver on earth who told me his car history which included a Mini van from the 60’s and a Cortina.
My first taste of Goodwood was driving by the Rolls Royce factory, it was very strange to see so many Phantoms driving up and down the road; some of them even had the delivery covers on them. By the amount of them on the road Rolls Royce have no financial troubles.
We got to the VIP drop off point where a very nice man opened my door with a “good morning sir” right before he realised that we weren’t VIP’s, we just came in the wrong entrance.
Right away there was the sound of a Mercedes SLS thumping up the track followed by the Ferrari 458 Italia and that pretty much set the trend for the day, the smells, sounds and sights for the whole day will live in my memory for a very long time.
There was a paddock full of classic and vintage cars full of cars I’d never seen in the metal before, none of them were behind fences they were all right there for you to look at.
We crossed the track by one of the bridges and we were treated to the Red Arrows display happening right over our heads. Some of the manufacturers brought their whole fleet of cars; the first one that took my interest was Audi.
They had erected a whole showroom on a raised platform, they had also brought the new Q3 which was open and meant that I had a poke about inside. It looks good and solid, a small soft roader about somewhere between the A3 and A4 in terms of size but more the height of the Q5, it’s a tidy car.

The Jaguar showroom was brilliant; all the cars had power so the TV’s were on in the cars where I watched a bit of Wimbledon from the backseat of an XJ. Also on site was the XF and XF-R both looking fantastic, it was a pleasure to walk around the fleet and I would like to thank the staff of Jaguar UK for making me feel at home with coffee and food for a weary journalist.
It’s a shame we won’t see many Jaguars on this side of the water with only 1 petrol car registered this year and only 99 Jag’s registered with half a years trading done I fear the only test drives we’ll be getting in the future will be in the UK.

Land Rover brought 3 of the rather tasty looking Evoque, it’s a lot smaller than it looks in the press photos but there would be a right scrap between it and the Q3 as they are fairly similar in size.
They had the whole range of cars there to look at and again all the doors were open and power supplied so everything worked, I had some sushi and coffee with a PR person out back who was enthusiastic to say the least about the Evoque.
In Ireland the Land Rover/Range Rover series is imported by the same company that bring in Jaguar and with only a shade over 300 Land Rover/Range Rovers sold this year I’m not sure there’s a good future for the importers OHM in this country.

The BMW stand was something to behold, right on the front of it was the first model of the M5 and right next to that was the all new M5 which looks like a lower, wider version of a normal 5 series. They also had an M3 and a fleet of bikes, best of all they had a VIP lounge for anyone who had a set of keys with the BMW logo on them.
At the MINI stand I got to meet Jake Humphries from the BBC F1 team who gave us an insight to what it’s like working with the two Eddies, he is a really nice guy and he hung around to sign some autographs.

Nissan brought a huge stand; they had people on ropes flying around in front of big screens. They had 3 GTR’s a couple of 370z’s a smattering of Juke and a side order of Leaf, great stand and worth a look if you fancy sitting in the monster GTR.

Alfa Romeo showed us the 4C in matt red and there was quite literally a queue to take a picture, all the range from Alfa is there with plenty to look at and poke around in. As always Alfa employ some beautiful women to show you the cars and pose in front of them if you want, I was told by a female customer that there were some beautiful men there too but I didn’t pay any attention it was the cars that got my attention, I swear.

I’m out of space and I haven’t mentioned the concept electric tent with all the weird and wonderful from Peugeot, Renault, Citroën, SEAT and many more. The moving motor show where all the fast cars hang out, Ferrari and Porsche being the big two but there’s Abarth range, SEAT Cupras and Skoda VRS as far as the eye can see.
The Formula 1 area which I didn’t get to because I ran out of time, the equipment sales, the motorbike stands, the Toyota stand, Lexus, Bugatti Veyron x 4, the Audi concept, the Peugeot concept….I could go on but you’ll have to see for yourself.

Quite honestly Goodwood is the most fantastic experience any motor head can do, even if you only have a mild interest in cars you’ll knock a bit of fun out of going along. If you’re into cars take my word for it, you won’t see it all in one day but you won’t regret going along. I’ve already discussed going along next year and the show isn’t over yet!

Have a look at the pictures; if you want to use any of them in a professional capacity please get in touch first.

A huge thanks go too the staff and management of who looked after us so well throughout the day, we had a great time and I’m already looking forward to next year!

Bob Flavin

Stats courtesy