Its a dark and dreary day at West Sussex, England with clouds covering up the entire sky and temperatures in the range of 22-11 degrees Celsius with a good probability of thunderstorms. Sounds like a dull day. Well, we've all heard the saying 'Every cloud has a silver lining' and this silver lining came in the form of the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed which started off on the 28th of June.
The Goodwood festival of speed was first started in 1993 by its founder The Earl of March (Charles Gordon-Lennox) to pursue his dream of bring back circuit racing to the Goodwood estate which has a history of motor sports. However, lacking of a racing permit he had no choice but to initiate the festival on his own racing circuit. The event was hosted for the first time on a Sunday, the 13th of June and proved to be a success with an attendance of 25,000 people. However due to the date clashing with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the attencdance was low compared to what it could have been. Since then the Earl of March decreed that the Goodwood FoS would not clash with Le Mans or Formula One races.
Over a period of time the straight circuit racing developed into various challenges to ensure entertainment value. One of the earliest challenges was dubbed the Soapbox Challenge which featured a down-hill race using gravity powered cars. However the risk factor in this series became too high with increased number of accidents resulting in higher cost of cars. This in turn affected the safety rules and eventually the race was discontinued in 2005 after 5 years in the running. A unique feature that has also been part of the festival almost since the beginning are the car related monuments, all designed by Gerry Judah that adorn the estate every year since 1997.
Sunday Times Supercar Runs was yet another event featured in the Goodwood festival that is still in continuity. The race features road-legal supercars and has become a popular platform for manufacturers to show-off or debut their new supercars. This category includes mass produced as well as working concept models.
Yet another recreation value event that features in the festival is the Wacky Races cars. Wacky Races was an animation series produced by Hanna-Barbera that featured cartoon races. These cars are presented at lunch-time for the crowds entertainment and also include air-shows featuring such planes as RAF-Tornado's and Red Arrows. A Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 were once also a part of this entertainment.
There is also the Style Et Luxe, an auto show that is held besides the racing track and is sponsored by Cartier jewellers. The entries are judged by a panel of celebrities and car designers from around the world. The entries however, by invitation only. The festival also consists of many other events over its 3-day course that make it a unique motor sports show. One of the examples is the Hill Climb event that features sports cars racing against time in an uphill course with curves and bends along the way. The official record for this event was timed by Nick Heidfeld with a McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car. It was timed at 41.6 seconds. However, Formula One cars were later discontinued for safety reasons and are now used mainly for their flare rather than their speed.
There are of course certain grislier aspects to this festival as well. Since its inauguration in 1993, there have been a few incidents involving serious injury and three deaths. The first case of death was during its inauguration itself when vintage motorcyclist Chas Guy was killed after his bike developed a steering wobble dubbed as a tank slapper and slammed him into a tree resulting in his death. The other incident that led to the deaths of two took place in 2000 when a Lotus 63 driven by John Dawson-Damer crashed into the finish line gantry killing the driver and a marshal Andrew Carpenter. Safety measures since then have of course improved and been made more stringent.
Well enough about the past and history of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Lets fast track to 2012 and take a look at what this year had in store for the FoS. The event that is generating the maximum buzz is the Cartier Style Et Luxe display that will showcase vehicles that are owned and used personally by the queen of England herself as part of her Diamond Jubilee. The 2012 FoS is centred around the theme of celebrating younger drivers, riders, engineers and designers who have that insatiable thirst for speed and perfection that helped them drive and create some of the finest vehicles of times. The FoS Monument for the year 2012 features Lotus – 'Past,Present and Future.'
This years world renowned Hillclimb race featured a 'Young Guns-Born to Win' theme in honour of the young generation of the motor sport family. Among those present were big F1 names like Sebastian Vettel making his debut at the Goodwood FoS, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Much to the appreciation of the crowd, all the drivers took to the track in their respective F1 cars for the 1.86 km Uphill race. The race also featured teams like Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Lotus. Below we bring you the highlights for the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
June 28th featured the opening of the festival with the Moving Motor Show presented by Auto Traders. The show enables a limited number of enthusiasts and buyers to view the latest models for the first time within England and a very lucky few actually get to climb into these models and experience them all their new glory. Here is a list of noteworthy cars featured in this years Goodwood Festival of Speed.
A covered up prototype version of the Jaguar F-Type was driven up the hill by Mike Cross, Head of Vehicle Integrity. The prototype, that was showcased as the C-X16 concept at the 11th Frankfurt Motor Show, is powered by a mix of V6 and V8 supercharged engines. According to Jaguar the production version of the vehicle will be showcased later in the year and will go up for sales somewhere in the middle of 2013.
Aston Martin Vanquish 310
The much talked about Aston Martin Vanquish was revealed at the Moving Motor Show as well. Although the car was not shown in the supercar paddock itself, it made an appearance at the uphill climb. The new successor of the DBS series has been given some tweaks to now enable it to produce 565 horses thanks to its 6.0-litre V12 naturally aspirated petrol engine. The engine is mated to a Touchtronic 2 6-speed automatic gearbox.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ulrich Bez called the Vanquish “The ultimate expression of Aston Martin design ethos, engineering innovation and technical ability.”
Renault Alpine A110-50
The Renault Alpine A110-50 also made an appearance at the uphill climb. The car derives its name due to the 50 years of the Alpine series existence. Based on the Renault Megane Trophy, the Alpine A110-50 is powered by a mid-rear mounted V4Y, 3.5-litre 24-valve V6 engine and pumps out 400bhp. This engine is mated to a 6-speed sequential transmission which comes with a twin-plate clutch. Other figures are still pending release.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
One of the Mercedes-Benz cars revealed at the uphill MMS was the now quite famous C63 AMG. The vehicle is mostly an executive sedan with the engine of a through-bred sports car. The new version of the C63 designated DR520 is named for its dyno-rated power output and there will be only 20 of its kind in the world for sale and will have 513 horses under its new and improved hood.
Another concept that was revealed at the uphill climb was Infiniti's latest hybrid concept, Emerge-E. The vehicle features a 1.2-litre 3-cylynder petrol engine that powers a generator that charges its extended-range battery. The battery weighs just 181kg. This coupled petrol-electric hybrid engine generates 402bhp and a crazy 1000Nm of torque.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The GT500 was specially shipped from the USA to the Goodwood Festival. It is the most powerful Mustang in existence so far and the Goodwood unveiling was the first time the GT500 was showcased outside of America. With a 5.8-litre supercharged V8 engine, the GT500 produces 662bhp and 854Nm of torque. The GT500 that featured in the uphill climb however came with an additional Performance Package for increased racing capabilities.
Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom
The Goodwood featured two Rolls-Royce this year, the Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase, which was driven by the race director. The Ghost comes with a V12 direct injection engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This Rolls-Royce was the designated pace car for the event.
The second Rolls-Royce was the Phantom Saloon Series II and was used to ferry VIPs and media-persons up the Goodwood hill during the Moving Motor Show.
Audi RS Theme
Audi featured not one, not two, but eight new cars at the Goodwood Festival. The Audi theme was aptly termed 'Electric dreams and RS theme.' The collective Audi RS theme showcase included the Audi RS 4 Avant (444bhp), A1 Quattro (252bhp), the all new A3, A6 all-road Quattro and the V8 trio – S6, S7 Sportback and S8.
Tata Motors was the only Indian company to have had a hand in the Goodwood Festival this year. They showcased their electric concept the Megapixel at the Festival of Speed. Based on their model of the Pixel, Tata said that the Megapixel “is the result of the progress we have made on the Pixel.” The Megapixel is driven by 4 electric motors that are each mounted onto a wheel. The 13kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery gives the Megapixel an electric range of upto 87km and can be recharged with an induction charging system. Once the battery is drained, a 325cc single-cylinder petrol engine kicks in extending the range to 900 plus km.
Ferrari showed a host of cars from its stables at the Goodwood Festival, along with two new debuts. The new debutantes included the Ferrari 458 Spider and the Ferrari California 30. The 458 Spider features a mid-rear 4.5-litre V8 engine that generates 570bhp along with an innovative fully retractable aluminium hard-top roof. This new foldable hard-top is actually 25kg lighter than the usual soft-top that comes equipped with convertibles.
The Ferrari California 30 also made its debut at the Goodwood Festival. This version of the California is a big improvement over the previous one in terms of both weight and power. The engine the same 4.3-litre V8 but comes with an additional 30hp, thereby making the total a whopping 490bhp. This is all due to reshaped pistons and new exhaust manifolds. The weight has been reduced by 30kg as well thanks to some innovative work by Ferrari engineers involving cutting-edge aluminium fabrication.
Porsche 918 Spyder
Taking a page out of the Ferrari handbook, Porsche introduced their very own Porsche 918 Spyder at the Goodwood Festival. This offering from Porsche was first unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Show where it received an overwhelming response from fans and car enthusiasts alike. The 918 Spyder has been engineered with a 3.0-litre V8 hybrid petrol engine. That's right, its a hybrid petrol engine that generates more than 500bhp and yet somehow manages to retain a mileage of almost 40kmpl. The design for the 918 Spyder has been brewed from the Carrera GT, Porsche 917 and the RS Spyder. Sadly though, the 918 Spyder does not come with the open top option as presented at the concept show. It will instead feature a manual roof panel that may be removed and deposited into the luggage compartment.
Alfa Romeo celebrated its 102 years of motoring at the Goodwood Festival. Their offering to the show was the Alfa MiTo TwinAir. The MiTo TwinAir comes with the award winning 0.9-litre twin-cylinder turbo engine and also sports variable intake valve technology. And in order to commemorate the launch of this car, Alfa Romeo held a series of live acoustic performances much to the delight of the spectators. The Alfa Romeo show also included the famous Alfa 8C Spider which made its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2003. After much request from the public, Alfa Romeo decided to go ahead with the production of the concept albeit only 500 units were produced. So spectacular does this car look, that during its conception, one of the engineers from Alfa Romeo remarked that the Alfa 8C Spider looked “as lovely as a woman's legs under a blanket.”
The engine powering the coupe and convertible both, is based off the platform of the Maserati Quattropotre. In the Alfa 8C Spider its has been enlarged to 4.7-litres and is equivalent to 450 horses.
Skoda's addition to the Goodwood show was its scheme offered specifically at the Goodwood Festival titled 'Win a Citigo Everyday.' The competition offered spectators the chance to win a Skoda Citigo for the 4 days that the festival was on. The winners were announced towards the end of each day's festivities. The Citigo comes with two choices of 3-cylinder 1.0-litre engines.