7 things not to miss at Goodwood

June 29, 2017
Andy Bothwell

So it’s that time of year again. The time of year when petrol-heads the UK over get together for the disgustingly indulgent motoring orgy that is the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Held in the grounds of Lord March’s stately Goodwood House, the Festival of Speed has been running since 1993 and is pitched as the ultimate British garden party. With engines. Lots and lots of throaty, fire-spitting engines.

These days, it’s a huge amount more than racing cars – at its core, it is still a car / motorsport event but, across its vast, sprawling site, FOS also encompasses the finer things in food, drink, entertainment and culture. Moreover, car brands have increasingly used it as a platform to launch their brand new products, in the absence of a British Motor Show.

And this year, there’s another new strand to what Goodwood FOS has to offer, as the event looks to safeguard its future and remain relevant by showcasing some of the best in new and future technology.

Here’s our guide to the top 7 things not to miss at FOS this year.

  1. FOS Future Lab – a big new installation which will be showcasing cutting-edge tech from the worlds of automotive and aviation… and beyond. Highlights should include an exhibition of super hi-def photographs of NASA robotics and concepts that hardly anyone has ever seen before; two flying car concepts, one of which will be demonstrating its vertical take-off and landing and 3D printers which will be printing out reimagined versions of Goodwood’s trophies live on site
  2. Group B rally cars on the Forest Rally Stage – Goodwood’s rally stage is easy to miss out on, as it’s at the very top of the site, beyond the end of the famed hillclimb. However, the trek to get up there will be well worth the effort, as this year’s FOS theme is ‘Peaks of Performance – Motorsport’s Game-Changers’ which means, obviously, there’s a collection of Group B monsters doing the rounds on the stage. These beasts include Audi Quattro, Lancia 037, MG Metro 6R4 and even the MG Metro 8R4. Rorty.
  3. Brand new cars – a huge number of shiny new cars will make their very first appearance at this year’s FOS as car maker take advantage of the 200,000+ enthusiasts that stuff themselves into the Goodwood estate. Among the highlights this year will be the global unveils of the most powerful Jaguar ever built – the XE SV Project 8, the Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge, the V8-powered Aston Martin DB11 and the Audi R8 V8 Spyder Plus. The Maserati Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio will make their world dynamic debuts. Then there will also be the UK debut for the fastest Bentley ever made, the Continental Supersports and the first glance in the UK of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R and many more, plus the first public outing for the stunning McLaren 570S Spider.
  4. Drifting – for the first time, the sideways stars of the sport of drifting will take to the 1.16-mile Goodwood hillclimb, to be judged by a combination of public votes and a speed trap. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the kings of drift will be expected to be sideways by the first initiation point and hit maximum drifting speed through the speed trap. Naturally, award your votes for style and optimum tyre smoke inhalation.
  5. 70 years of Ferrari – one of the many celebration themes that will frame this year’s FOS is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the legendary Prancing Horse itself, Ferrari. A massive collection of the most iconic and mouth-watering Ferraris will be on display and going up the hill, with everything from single-seaters to the latest supercars represented.
  6. Drone racing – If the speed merchants on the track get your heart racing and you fancy a fix of the fast stuff yourself, you could do worse than trying your hand at drone racing. US drone maker, Thrust UAV, will have a presence in the aforementioned Future Lab but will also have its own stand where you can pore over their 100mph micro machines. However, to have a go yourself, head to the Golf Course, where a temporary drone racing arena will be set up and, with the help of some of the world’s top professional drone pilots, you can take the controls yourself. Prepare to feel like a hero. And possibly slightly ill.
  7. F1 stars – FOS celebrates all forms of motorsport but F1 remains the pinnacle of the sport, as demonstrated by this year’s central sculpture being dedicated to Bernie Ecclestone – the first time such an honour has been bestowed on an individual rather than a car marque – and F1 fans young and old can salivate, if they wish, over the presence of some of Formula 1’s newest and oldest stars. Reigning F1 champ Nico Rosberg will be on hand to blast up the hill in a Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid, while current F1 pilots Valtteri Bottas and Jolyon Palmer join the fray, alongside reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin. From the annals of F1 history are drawn ex-champions Damon Hill and Alan Jones, helping Williams to celebrate its 40th anniversary. FOS is the always the motorsport star-spotter’s nirvana.

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