Goodwood Festival of Speed has been running since 1997 at Goodwood house in West Sussex. The Festival of Speed features cars and professional drivers that negotiate the hillclimb course outside the spectacular Goodwood house building. It’s great to see the cars up close and watch them race up the hill (although timed runs are no longer permitted for safety reasons).
One of the best things about Goodwood Festival of Speed (Sometimes referred to as FOS) is the sheer depth in cars on show. From American hot rods to classic British sports cars to full on race cars not to mention the manufacturer stands with various new models available to look at and sit in.
I’ve been to Goodwood Festival of Speed before, back around 2003 before it was besieged by brightly coloured chinos and Z list celebrities. It’s a great event, probably a bit too big these days, but still fun and well worth a trip.
Moving Motor Show
The Moving Motor Show is relatively new day where instead of professional drivers going up the hill, visitors can book themselves a drive in a number of cars. There are also passenger rides in the more expensive machinery. I decided on driving a Toyota GT86 up the hill. While grinning in a Ferrari passenger seat sounded fun, I liked the thought of driving a famous motorsport course myself.
Queuing and booking complete I jumped in the Toyoburu and the instructor lady drove me to the start of the hill. A quick swap of seats and I jumped on the loud pedal and accelerated towards the iconic black and white start-line. Waved on by the marshall, I guided the car between the narrow hay-bale lined course. A quick jink and on towards the notorious flint wall section.
The wall does jut towards the car as you approach and looks completely unforgiving. Even a low speed mistake here would result in a big smash. The GT86 feels eager to change direction and grip. At the same time, you feel like it could be an awesome tool to drift around wet roundabouts. You can trust the front to find grip and squeeze the throttle knowing that you can feel precisely what the car is doing. The sharp brakes and decent gearbox makes heel and toeing the car easy enough too.
After the finish line you get to negotiate various narrow lanes in order to get the car back to the main Moving Motor Show area. Overall you get a decent amount of time in the car and although there is a speed limit, you get a good feel for how a car accelerates, brakes and the driving experience as a whole. As there is no additional charge for a drive, it’s a great thing to do, just make sure you get there early as drive spaces soon fill up!
Cartier Style et Luxe
A classic car show held at Goodwood where the cars are judged as an object of beauty by a specially selected panel of guest judges. The panel are not always car enthusiasts, but people that understand aesthetics. This helps to “bring a wider range of sympathies to the panel”.