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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Goodwood Festival Of Speed 2014

This year's giant sculpture was in tribute to 120 years of Mercedes-Benz in motorsport. It's the first one I've seen that actually stretches right over the top of Goodwood House, like a rainbow... but with no colours.
The Goodwood Festival Of Speed is so good that it's almost impossible to appreciate or even do everything it has to offer in one day, so I bought tickets for two days... and still didn't get around to everything. This automotive Glastonbury sells out every year - with attendance now capped at 150,000 people over the weekend - simply because there is nothing else like it on Earth. Over the last 21 years it has gained unrivalled pulling power in terms of car manufacturers and private owners of history's greatest and rarest racing machines, meaning that if there's a car you just wish you could see one day, it's either here or has been previously.

The festival deliberately takes place on the weekend before the British Grand Prix, so that Formula 1 has no excuse not to represent itself at the event each year, with its current racing and/or test drivers taking cars from the previous season - or perhaps historic championship-winning cars like the 1988 McLaren MP4/4, 1996 Williams FW18 and the 50-year-old Ferrari 158 - and showing them off up the short but sweet Goodwood Hillclimb Course. Some go slowly, some do burnouts, others (in recent cars) go the whole hog and do donuts. Drivers not pedalling F1 cars can even go as fast as they dare up the hill to see how they compare to the record time of 41.6 seconds, set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld in a 1998 McLaren MP4/13. An exhibition, a motor show, a race against the clock, a celebration of fast cars in all their forms, a bloody great day out. Read on to find out why you should definitely go next year.

As I mentioned in my report on Thursday's Moving Motor Show (read in another tab), just driving to the event is enjoyable if you time it right and find that traffic is light. Once you park up in a huge field near the event, you're almost treated to a car show straight away.


Brand new BMW M4s and Jaguar F-Type Coupés, a score of Porsches, a Cobra replica, the odd TVR, this resplendent Jaguar Mk.II and a Maserati 3200GT. These are just a few of the eye-catching machines driven to the event by regular punters! My scruffy Fiat Punto couldn't compete...


Just before you have to show your ticket to people in white coats with scanners, you get to walk past a second, much smaller car park full of supercars, GT cars and other high-end exotica. Last year this place included a super-rare Schuppan-Porsche 962CR, just sitting there. I'm not sure how calm I'd be about having thousands of people casually walking past my 1-of-5 hypercar!


This year there were Honda NSXs, McLaren 12Cs, BMW M this and AMG that, supercars from Modena, R8s, GT-Rs, more Porsches and even an E-Type Jaaaaaag.


I bet the owner of this 1989 Ferrari F40 really felt great about having to park his increasingly-rare special-series car right next to the ticket gate for everyone to see and, potentially, brush up against or get all fingerprint-y...


Still, at least careful and respectful folk like me can drink in the engineering porn that is the F40's 2.9-litre, ~480-horsepower twin-turbo V8, sat beneath that vented rear window.

And then you actually get into the event itself. If you use the entrance I did, this will put you near the braking zone to Molecomb corner, in the historic racing car paddock. History's highlights and oddities wander in and out of here between runs up the hill each day, so as you amble downhill you'll hear engines get fired up by the teams running the cars. Usually it idles for a while and then they rev it up gradually, so it's worth following your ears and finding that undressed racecar.

Time it right, however, and you might have to step out of the way...


This is a Porsche 935 JLP-4 racing car, as raced in the American IMSA series in 1982. It has a significant aerodynamic widebody extension and two huge visible turbochargers just under those also-huge silver air intake funnels. The flat-six engine to which they're attached was noisy even at idle, and as this classic racer tip-toed through the often-inattentive crowd, I decided I'd actually rather not be in the driver's seat - I'll bet that clutch he had to keep using is quite heavy. Still, the fact that the first thing that happened after I'd put my ticket away was having to step aside for a classic racing car and watching it wandering noisily along right in front of me - down what's effectively a public footpath - put three words into my head:

Welcome To Goodwood.

Seeing as there's so much to write about from the actual event, let me break this down like a Mercedes in Canada - systematically, with electronics. Or something. If you don't have time to scroll through the whole thing, or came here for a specific bit, click on one of the contents tags below.

> Road Cars
> Racing Cars
> Mini-Rant
> Q5 Quattro Drive
> GT Academy Part Deux!

Static Motor Show

Note: Photography will vary in quality throughout this post. I had time and space for some photos, not for others

There hasn't been a high-profile automotive exhibition in Britain since the 2008 London Motor Show, meaning that we Britons would have to go to Paris, Frankfurt or Geneva to see the latest concept and production cars from the world's car manufacturers, were it not for Goodwood. In recent years it has effectively replaced the LMS as the place to go if you want to know what the future holds for your driveway. This is excellent, because it means not stuffing thousands of people into a sweaty exhibition hall, and if you get bored of looking at the latest identikit Audi facelift or sitting in next year's new Škoda, you can simply turn around and watch racecars firing up the hill towards Molecomb. Perhaps with an ice cream or a shockingly expensive bottle of water (PRO TIP: There's a drinking water tap on the corner of the toilet blocks, so just bring a bottle and hydrate for free).

So what did the de-facto British Motor Show have to offer in 2014? Visions. Visions of Gran Turismo. GT series creator Kazunori Yamauchi invited the world's car manufacturers to offer them a two-door sports car that encapsulates the spirit Gran Turismo, and in return his team of geniuses at Polyphony Digital would bring their no-holds-barred designs to life inside the famous Playstation game. Dozens have responded, and each month a few of them get added into GT6 through free updates. The thing is, you can't stand next to a car that's virtual, so most of them have made full-size models of their Vision-GT cars for gamers and non-gamers alike to really appreciate how bonkers these designs are compared to what companies are actually allowed to produce. This, then, replaces the pure concepts we used to see at motor shows, like the Alfa Romeo BAT cars or the BMW GINA. Let's take a look at what these designers can really do...


The latest V-GT car to actually be added to the game is by Volkswagen. Called the GTI Roadster, it is in many ways an evolution of the VW Design Vision GTI Concept they did a year ago for the Wöthersee tuner show in Germany, but the key difference is that it lacks a roof. And indeed most of the windows. This goes a long way to making it even madder than last year's car.


Normally when you think "VW GTI," you think "Golf." But not here. Because VW's designers started with a blank sheet of paper, the wheelbase and other proportions are so far removed from the current VW Golf that even their modular "MQB" platform - which can be stretched or shortened to make anything from a Seat Leon to an Audi TT or Škoda Octavia - cannot be made to fit this shape. This immediately kills any optimistic expectations of a production version, which was never the intention anyway. In fact, it's that mindset of "well they've done a concept of it so it must be going into production some time soon" that's exactly what's been killing pure concepts like these Vision Gran Turismo cars in recent years...


It's exactly the fact that it's not going to go into production that allows this car to be so extreme in its shape and surfacing. Do you think that marketing focus groups would allow a chop-top Golf with a rear wing that enormous and complex? No! Let it be what it is, for it is excellent.


Said wing also includes these little vanes on the underside, to guide the air properly and/or look cooler. The rear wing helps to tame 500 horsepower and 413lb/ft (560NM) of torque, which is delivered to the virtual tarmac by a 3.0 VR6 twin-turbo engine, 7-speed DSG gearbox and active all-wheel-drive. 0-62mph takes 3.6 seconds and it'll reach 192mph flat-out... or more if you're in somebody's slipstream.


Switch to cockpit view and you'll find a "figure-of-8" steering wheel with gearbox paddles, as few buttons as possible and a passenger seat that will never, ever be used. Despite being designed specifically for a game that simulates weather, there are no windscreen wipers. A small oversight...


If you'll excuse the poor photo composition (these things draw a crowd!), you can admire this dramatic side profile and those mad 20" alloy wheels. In GT6 this is classed as a racing car, and can show a clean pair of heels to a grid full of SUPER GT500 cars. I had to play with the front LSD setting to be completely happy with it, but it's a great car to drive hard.


The first of these Vision Gran Turismo cars (unless you count the 2008 GTbyCITROEN, which would be fair) was by Mercedes-Benz, simply called "AMG Vision GT." It's possibly the smoothest shape I've seen since the 300SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé from the '50s. Only, of course, more extreme in its surfacing, with huge bulbous wheel arches setting off an almost anorexic torso and no fewer than eight exhaust pipes. That's one per cylinder!


The twin-turbocharged V8 sends 585bhp to the extremely big rear wheels, shod in road tyres. Unlike, say, an SLS AMG, this is actually a pretty lightweight car for its size, weighing just 1385kg, or about 250kg less than the SLS. They have followed this up with a racing version that's lighter still and packs at least 600 horsepower. Despite being designed for a game that simulates elevation changes of any kind, there is no wheel clearance or any apparent ride height whatsoever. A small oversight...


If it's extreme surfacing you want (you better had), then perhaps Nissan's Vision GT car is for you. I already posted a few photos in my previous post, but here are a couple more anyway.


As well as looking like a cross between a GT-R and a Koenigsegg, this British-designed Nissan 2020 Concept looks very aerodynamic, right down to the tail lights being rifled and supported on a small rear wing on each side.


A special demo at the event allowed visitors to go up the hillclimb course in this car before it's released to the public in July. Despite being designed specifically for a game that simulates Nissan GT-Rs, this car has no GT-R badges. A small oversight...


Oh, while I'm covering full-size models of cars designed for Gran Turismo, here's Red Bull Racing's effort from 2010, the Red Bull X1. This thing is insanity itself to drive...


But let's stick with Nissan for a while, because they're on a bit of a roll at the moment. GT Academy continues to gain momentum (read more further down...), their motorsport involvement grows each year and will include a full-factory LMP1 campaign in 2015, the GT-R continues to go from strength to strength and their concept cars aren't too shabby either. Recently they unveiled a duo of concepts referencing the 1968-73 Datsun 510/Bluebird, called IDx Freeflow and IDx NISMO. The former is meant as an accessible road car for cool young car enthusiasts, with denim seats in a simple, tech-focused interior and a small economical engine connected to a - sigh - CVT......


...while the IDx NISMO is packing a 1.6 direct-injection turbo engine (still mated to a dronebox...) and a much racier look, with big wheels, wheel arch flares that echo the old bolt-on arches you might find on Japanese trackday project cars - or RWB Porsches - along with a big red air dam up front and twin side-exit exhausts, completing the look with red stripes referencing the BRE Datsun racing team in America that raced 510s and 240Zs.

These cars were getting a lot of nods of approval from a range of age groups, so Nissan would do well to produce them, probably starting with the Freeflow and then offering the NISMO - with a manual gearbox please, Nissan - as a special version a year later. There have long been rumours of Nissan making a rival to the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ, and while this isn't a new Silvia, it'd do very nicely. Just give me gears to select...


Also at the Nissan stand was the ZEOD RC, a plug-in hybrid racing car built for Le Mans, where it set the first ever lap of Circuit de la Sarthe done entirely on electric power alone. On the Mulsanne straight using nothing but an electric motor, it hit 186mph, or 300km/h. The Zero Emissions On Demand Racing Car was entered as a "Garage 56" entry, the one spot open each year at the prestigious 24-hour race for cars that don't follow the rules, but pioneer new technology. Despite the three concept cars you've just seen, the maddest Nissan here is one that actually works and runs!


Unfortunately, just eight laps into the race itself, it was all over. Despite having two power sources and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), it was a part as perennial and garden-variety as the gearbox that failed and left them at the side of the road. It seems that Garage 56 cars don't get a lot of luck at Le Mans. In 2012 it was the DeltaWing - imagine this car black and topless - that got clattered into by a Toyota LMP1, in 2013 the hydrogen fuel cell car never made the grid at all, and now the ZEOD gets only a fleeting appearance at the ultimate endurance race, despite a huge effort to get the thing working at all. Who knows what'll happen to next year's envelope-pusher...

 

The final point of interest at the Nissan stand is the new GT-R NISMO. I've written about this already (read here), so I won't keep you, but this 600-horsepower behemoth has been around the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:08.679, which Nissan claim is the lap record for mass-production cars. Sporting race-spec turbochargers, bespoke Dunlop tyres, a stronger chassis and a mild aerodynamic makeover, it's not exactly off-the-shelf... and it's not exactly cheap. Only 200 NISMO versions will be made globally per year, and in the UK it'll cost £125,000. Yeowch. Can it really be that much better than what's now the "regular" GT-R, which costs £78,000? Reviews will tell us, although with regular cars selling well into the thousands, some people will pay for exclusivity. Others will buy the regular model and spend a hell of a lot less to get the same power output and approximate aero gains. Each to their own.

The lighter, more serious "N-ATTACK" version (or Time Attack, depending on where you read) is the version responsible for that blistering 'Ring time, and Jann Mardenborough chucked the camo'd lap record car up Goodwood hill in under 50 seconds, bettering a seriously committed Anthony Reid in a Noble M600 to win the Michelin Supercar Run event and set a new course record for production cars. So Godzilla's still faster than stuff that's twice the price, even when it's into six figures itself...


The GT-R wasn't the only Japanese legend at Goodwood. Honda have been giving us teasers and nearly-there concept cars for the new NSX for years, and here we are again with the it's-definitely-coming-out-soon-guys-honestly 2014 NSX Concept. If/when they slap number plates on it, it'll be a V6 hybrid with an e-motor on each front wheel to give lightning-fast torque vectoring, which basically means it'll be all-wheel-drive, have a really pointy front end and not use a lot of fuel. This is good in 2014. Having said that, my dad and I found ourselves taking much more of an interest in the original Honda NSX sat behind it, and seeing them next to each other in this picture, I still want the red one. As much as I hate suggestions of designers copying one another - your lazy generalisations of their designs aren't facts - there's a little too much Audi R8 in the front end, and aside from flying buttresses behind the side windows, there's not a lot else going on. Besides, if you buy a '90s NSX now it will only go up in value, probably quite quickly if it's un-modified.


The perennial New NSX wasn't the only concept car at the Honda stand. The rather sinister-looking Civic Type-R Concept was there too, complete with devil-horn tail lights. When this definitely goes into production, it will be the first turbo Type-R, with a 2.0T straight-four producing 276bhp+ for the front wheels to deal with. Whether it will handle that power with an LSD or some electronic torque-vectoring system remains to be seen, but ultimately their goal is a new Nürburgring lap record for front-wheel-drive cars. The time to beat? 7:54.36x, as recently set by the Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy (a car that itself only exists to beat the SEAT Leon Cupra 280's 7:59 time). It's not just Porsche and Nissan that give a big shit about the Green Hell, you know...


By the way, at Honda's MMS stand there was a Civic Tourer BTCC. 300 horsepower, fire-spitting exhaust on the other side, driven by two ruthless competitors. And it's an estate car!


Another new(ish) addition to the hot hatch crowd is the facelifted Ford Focus ST. It doesn't gain any more power - although if 250bhp isn't enough you can add another 25 with the Mountune Upgrade under warranty - but what it does gain is a new, much less fishy and somewhat fresher face. Mechanically, it gains Stop/Start and has re-tuned front suspension, torque-vectoring and steering systems to dial out most of the torque-steer. New engine mounts also aid this cause. The interior has been refreshed too, in line with the 2014 facelift of the regular Focus, with a bigger dash screen and less confusing ergonomics. However, the big news is that there is now an ST D....iesel. To take on the VW Golf GTD, you can now have all the hot-hatchery with 185 horses of diesel power, ideal for unmarked traffic cops who prowl motorways and A-roads, as they can then unleash 300lb/ft of torque to catch anyone who's... "evaluating their engine." The ST TDCi will be offered in Europe, giving a 0-60mph time of 8.1 seconds and 135mph flat out, versus the normal ST's 6.5 seconds and 154mph. The diesel counters with 64.2mpg versus the petrol's 41.5mpg. Perhaps its performance characteristics will be... infectious.


However, if you've avoided an ST D...iesel long enough to have children, then you may be looking forward to the next S-Max instead. This is the preview concept, another non-functioning full-size model like the Vision GT cars. Expect it to look 90-95% identical come production.


Closer to production is the new Mondeo. It's been on sale in America as the Fusion for a year or so, but this estate is unique to us in Europe. It's not just a dog storage area that's unique to this particular Mondeo, though. Notice the "FORD VIGNALE" plates (it's pronounced 'vin-yah-li', by the way). Vignale is Ford's new top-end trim level that brings the luxury level up to that of the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz. As well as high-quality materials throughout the interior and special badges that replace the model nameplate, people who pay for Vignale get a personalised dealership experience with free car cleanings inside and out, a special lounge at the dealer and other VIP niceness. Given how mechanically good the cars already are, that could be enough to sway a few people who would've bought German. Ford UK say that 10-15% of customers wanted an even higher specification than the current Titanium X trim level.


Inside, there's a genuine air of quality. All the leather felt real and soft, the plastics - which were fewer and further between than usual anyway - had a pleasant finish to them, the dashboard had touch-sensitive panels rather than physical buttons, like a PS3, and the build quality just felt sound. I sat in an Audi RS6 just before the Mondeo Vignale and I would swear the seats are exactly the same. Impressive stuff. The question is how much all this costs. Expect it to be more expensive than Titanium X models, but how much by is unclear for now.


Finally from Ford, the Mustang is on sale in Europe officially for the first time in the iconic car's 50-year history. Despite offering a 5.0-litre V8, I struggle to be excited by it, personally...


Now THIS is a 5.0 V8 I can get excited about! Not to mention the pushrod suspension (and its clever third damper), carbon fibre air box, gigantic rear tyres and meaty exhaust system. Parts of said exhaust and the turbo housing are 3D-printed.


But what kind of preposterous megacar could sport such things? Only a Koenigsegg. The Swedish mentalists are still the kings of mad doors, with these "dihedral synchro-helix" apertures. Lambo-what?


But there's more to this new One:1 than ultimate showoffability (which is now a word). The clue is in the name, in fact: this car has a kilogram-to-horsepower ratio of... 1:1. Put another way, that's one thousand horsepower per tonne! The magic number for this car is 1360. That's a whole lot of horses and not a whole lot of weight. Predicted top speed? Over 280mph...


The Koenigsegg One:1 was among the super/hyper/racecars on display at Michelin's stand. Others include this simply gorgeous "Saphirblau Metallic" Porsche 918 Spyder. Say what you like about the P1 and LaFez being faster, this is a sexy beast in blue...


...mind you, if it's sexy blue you're after, then Noble probably wins the game with this: Blue. Carbon. Fibre. OOOOOOHHH the blue carbon fibre!! I think this might be my new favourite thing. If I was a racing driver I'd want my helmet to at least look like blue carbon fibre. I want my laptop to be blue carbon fibre. I wish I was blue carbon fibre.


The possessor of this majestic hue is the Noble M600 Carbon Sport. Normally bare-carbon specials of supercars are actually a bit tacky, but this slice of fried perfection has been achieved by injecting a paint colour into the lacquer to give a "stained glass look" that means it only looks like bare carbon fibre when you're up close. The rest of the time, the two different shades of the carbon weave pattern give the colour a lovely depth that's subtle and yet beautiful, much like the car itself. It probably costs a lot extra, though, because getting the weave to match up perfectly and give you the herringbone pattern you can see in the close-up shot takes a hell of a lot of work to achieve, plus the carbon itself must all be the same overall shade in the first place, which isn't normally a guarantee. Tack that onto the £200,000+ asking price and you'll discover what petrolhead perfection costs. But petrolhead perfection the M600 is, as the raucous 4.4L twin-turbocharged Yamaha/Volvo V8 produces 650bhp, which can be wound down to 550 or 450 if you're not feeling up to the task of wrangling all those horses as they try to light up the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox. What's more, all that carbon fibre means it only weighs as much as a Toyota GT86, so it'll hit 60mph in 3.5 seconds and 225mph flat out.

I need this car in my life. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMBLUECARBONFIBRE.


Sticking with British lightweights, let's take a quick look at Ariel. What started as a university project has grown into a cult hero for trackday bods and TopGear fans alike. The frill-less Ariel Atom is now in generation 3.5, still with a supercharged Honda Civic Type-R engine (now making 310 horsepower) but with revised this and updated that, and a few carry-overs from the insane Atom 500 V8, which if you ask nicely can even include the F1-style sidepods and carbon wings. But where do you go next when you've made the most minimalist car possible?

Well, there is a group of people who like to buy these weird half-cars that they call "motorcycles," so Ariel has decided to only build half of a car and then put it on sale as one of these... "motorcycle" contraptions.


Here it is, the Ariel Ace. As well as being the name of a Flying-type attack in Pokémon games [spelt differently], the Ariel Ace takes the principles of the Atom and halves them. Take an exciting Honda powertrain, add a latticed exoskeleton-style frame and finish it off with some red bits and a dash of carbon fibre. Don't bother with a windscreen. The Honda engine in question is the 1237cc V4 engine from a VFR1200 developing 173bhp, enabling a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds (nearly a second slower than the Atom, as it happens) and a top speed of 164mph. Eagle-eyed folk will also spot Brembo brakes and Ohlins suspension parts.


A variety of different body parts, footrests and seats are available for you to perch yourself on, so whatever sub-genre of motorbike fashion you're into you can still have one of these, which is pretty cool. I won't pretend I know an awful lot about half-cars, but I think the Ace looks... ace! This would be a fun online configurator to play with (*hint-hint, Ariel*)...


But the thing is, Ariel existed well before the Atom, and they were making these... "motorcycle" thingies exclusively back then. This is a 1934 Ariel Model 4F "Square Four". It's sporting a 54.5" wheelbase, which encloses a 597cc four-cylinder engine that used just 23 horsepower to move its 171kg mass and the person on it. From the "Square Four" nickname I would guess that it's like a V4 but with all the cylinders upright, but don't take that as fact. For the full specs you can clicketh hither. Back when it was new, it cost just £72 and 10 shillings!


I'll just show you one more of the static cars, but be aware that there are handfuls of manufacturers and new cars I haven't shown you. Seeing as we're looking at old stuff now, here's a Citroën Traction-Avant Light-15 Roadster. It was registered just five years after the Ariel 4F above, making it 75 years old this year. "Light 15" means it's the shorter wheelbase and has the 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine that made 15 "UK tax horsepower." In France the 15 was called the 11CV, because tax horsepower was measured differently abroad, but Traction-Avants named "Light Fifteen" or "Big Fifteen" were built in Slough, England, not terribly far from here. It is thought that fewer than 20 Slough-built roadsters survive.


You can read the little story attached to the windscreen here (click!), but the Citroën Traction-Avant celebrates its 80th birthday this year, and as French company's first significant success and a car they built for two decades, they decided to find this pristine privately-owned example of a lovely-looking motor car. Its front-wheel-drive layout teamed to a steel monocoque chassis predicted the future of mainstream cars with great accuracy. Chances are that's how your car is constructed and laid out, and while not the first FWD production car, the TA was the first to combine the two elements.


But here's a fun little feature of this recreational roadster. See those round silver discs on the wheel arch and just ahead of the rear bumper? You're supposed to step on them. I suspect you're also supposed to be quite long-legged or have excellent balance, but if you can manage it then you can twist the handle on the rear deck and open the hatch backwards to reveal a dickie seat! Perfect for picnics with an extra friend or two, provided they have the leg span for it. Wouldn't want to scratch that lovely green paintwork!


As well as a hidden bonus seat, there are other reminders that cars were a little different back in the old days. Check out that gear stick poking out of the dashboard like a dowsing rod! Then there's the tiny grey heater sat underneath an all-wood vertical dashboard with buttons and switches that look like they've just been placed randomly wherever the driver can reach them. I love old Citroëns. And a few newer ones too...

2014 Citroën DS3 facelift. Read my 100-mile hire car review of a DS3 here

Paddock Cars

But enough of the cars that didn't do anything! Here is a selection of the cars that did.


Those of you still playing Gran Turismo 6, and indeed those of you who were watching Formula 1 30 years ago, will recognise this nose with ease, and maybe get a little excited! For the rest of you, check out the info sheet below:



The Lotus 97T was Ayrton Senna's first race-winning Formula 1 car, giving him a Grand Prix victory in only his second F1 season. Built during the fearsome "Turbo Era" of the 1980s, it has a power/weight ratio approaching 2000bhp/tonne, which is Moto GP race bike territory, yet it has a manual gearbox and a laggy turbo that isn't on-boost until around 8000rpm, with the limiter coming in at 12,000. It has every right to be an absolute monster, and yet those who drive it can't get enough. In Gran Turismo 6, once you get used to the jumpy power delivery it's actually a pretty sweet thing to drive, and so fast. It even sounds incredible, making me wish the 2014 V6 turbo engines sounded a bit more old-school like this one.


Sat next door to the 97T was this 98T, which enabled Senna to achieve two victories and eight pole positions in 1986. The bodywork is slightly simpler and straighter, perhaps to lower drag.


If the 1980s is too recent for you, how about a championship winner from 50 years ago? The 1964 Ferrari 158's design borrowed heavily from the British lightweights that were showing the Italians the way home, using a semi-monocoque construction with aluminium panels riveted to a steel tube frame and a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated V8 making 210 horsepower, ample for the car's featherweight 468kg mass. The 1964 season consisted of ten races. Should-be-Sir John Surtees may have had four retirements, but all six of his finishes were podium positions, including a win at Monza and the Nürburgring Nordschleife (gulp). His consistency outweighed the unreliability - take note, Lewis - and gave him the F1 World Driver's Championship that year, along with earning Ferrari the World Constructor's Championship (Surtees's team mate Lorenzo Bandini also scored three podiums and a victory).

Towards the end of the season, Enzo Ferrari had had bit of a falling out with the Italian motoring authorities, and so instead of the traditional "Rosso Corsa" colour scheme, Scuderia Ferrari raced in the blue-on-white colours of the Ferrari North America Racing Team (NART) for the final two rounds. It was around this time that they tested a flat-12 engine to replace the V8, as it was strong enough to be a stressed member of the chassis and made an extra 10 horsepower, but Surtees preferred the handling balance and the broader power band of the lighter V8.


Talk about a tight cockpit! I can't see any seatbelts, either. Leather upholstery is a nice touch, though.


Of course, with the rather good Rush movie having recently been released, there was a Ferrari 312T driven by Niki Lauda here as well.


But it's not just the classics. F1 teams all turned up with recent stuff as well, like these Ferraris from 2010 and/or 2011, re-painted in this year's livery. Kimi Räikkönen's championship-winning F2007 can also be spotted on the right. It remains the most recent champion's car from Ferrari.


Williams turned up with the 1996 title-winning FW18, as well as a 2014 FW36 display car that didn't run. F1 teams aren't allowed to run current cars, lest they use it as an opportunity for some out-of-rules testing. Having said that, last year Marussia used the Goodwood FOS as one of the two "filming days" that each team is allowed. The car ran a pretty high ride height and spent the runs up the hill donutting, so it's doubtful they learnt anything new at all. More teams should do it!


McLaren brought rather more than Williams did. Here we see an MP4/2 and MP4/4 almost completely undressed, with an M23 as driven to the world title by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1974. The theme for this year's festival was "Addicted To Winning," and sure enough all three cars were driven to world championships, the first two by Niki Lauda (1984) and Ayrton Senna (1988) respectively. Of course, last year's car was also there to keep things up to date, despite it never even scoring a podium finish. It was repainted in this year's livery.


Oh, and there were a few other McLarens of note in some poncey VIP section nearby, so I snapped them from over the fence. Most of them are of 1989-1991 vintage, with a couple of 12C racers up top.


I couldn't tell you for sure what car this is. I just naturally gravitate any racing car with the bodywork removed. I think it might be a Team Surtees car or a Chevron.


The front bodywork had also been taken off this McLaren F1 GTR Longtail between runs. This car was setting some serious times on the hill, thanks in part to some fine driving by Indy 500 winner and GT40-wrangler Kenny Bräck.


Normally a flying B isn't sat just in front of quite so much carbon fibre. But then it's been a long time since Bentley have taken one of their road cars racing. This Continental GT3 is their first production-based racing car since the 1930s, although eleven years ago they did win Le Mans with the purpose-built Speed 8 LM-Prototype.


The carbon fibre buckets and dreadlocks belong to a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, based on the Continental GT V8 road car's engine but sat much further back and making up to 600 horsepower. GT3 regulations stipulate rear-wheel-drive, so the road car's all-wheel-drive system has been removed to make space, with the sequential racing gearbox being mounted at the rear end for better weight distribution. This completely un-silenced engine was running when I took these pictures, and it sounds like a proper old-school racing V8, not a monotone flat-plane bark like a Ferrari, but a raucous, almost American roar. I shot a video of it revving, but my Nexus 5's microphone is awful so it sounds like it's underwater...


The fun thing about the Conti GT3 isn't just its noise or its carbon fibre air-intake manifold (the spider's legs/dreadlocks), it's the weight. Because this isn't a four-wheel-drive VIP lounge any more, it weighs a thousand kilograms less than the road car it started as! Tipping the scales at just under 1300kg, it's lost almost half its original weight! The only problem with that is marketing; they've recently released a "racing-inspired" two-seat Continental GT3-R - the 'R' standing for 'Road' - which they designed as a track-focused lightweight special. It weighs 2200kg. Two point two tonnes. That's about as lightweight as Ayers Rock. What the GT3-R actually is is just a huge luxury car with all the comfort taken out and some frivolous racing paraphernalia glued on...


No, if it's lightweights you want, then McLaren knows what's up. The streamlined "longtail" F1 GTR came along in 1997, two years after the original GTR, and was conceived to compete against homologation specials like the Mercedes CLK-GTR that were purpose-built racing cars with a handful of road versions to satisfy the rule-makers. McLaren built three Longtail road cars for the same reason.


The original F1 GTR, first raced in 1995, was a stripped-out, flared-up road car with a carbon fibre front splitter and rear wing added on the outside. The top speed dropped from 231mph to about 220mph due to a regulation power restrictor in the engine, and the rear wing adding drag, but even so an F1 GTR claimed outright victory at the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours, toughing out torrential weather to beat every purpose-built LM-Prototype. No production-based car has achieved this feat since, and it's extremely unlikely that one will in the foreseeable future.

The car pictured, GTR chassis #6, has been converted back into a road car by the former McLaren sales director that owns it, although it's retained the original race livery.


I can't keep talking about GTRs without showing you a Nissan. This GT-R NISMO GT3 was piloted by 2011 GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough, who put in some impressive driving to finish 4th in the timed hillclimb event on Sunday afternoon. In three years he's gone from sitting at home on his PS3 to out-performing a '90s Formula 1 car on a narrow, unforgiving track in a hefty 600-horsepower racing car. More on GT Academy later......


But let's stick with Le Mans cars, because they're just the coolest. Toyota's recent return to Le Mans Prototypes (LMP) has grabbed a lot of attention, so they decided to show their new fans that they've been here before.


This 88C raced in Group C in 1988. Packing a four-cylinder turbo engine that squeezed out as much as 600 horsepower, it rarely threatened the podium in the races it entered, which included Le Mans, the All-Japan Sports Prototype Championship and the World Sports Prototype Championship. The only time it did was a 2nd-place finish in the Camel GT Championship in America. It later evolved into the longer 88C-V, which is in Gran Turismo 4-6.


Curiously absent from Gran Turismo is this, the TS010. Designed to meet a rule-change for 1992, it featured a Formula 1-style 3.5L V10 and was a little more competitive, managing 2nd place behind the dominant Peugeot 905 at Le Mans and winning the Japanese Sports Prototype Championship.


At the opposite end of the 1990s, Toyota returned to prototype racing with the TS020, better known as the GT-One. This sexy beast was one of the aforementioned "homologation specials" that troubled McLaren. Toyota built just two road-legal versions and convinced the regulators that the fuel tank - empty during scrutineering - counted as a mandatory luggage area, thus making it a usable road car and thus making it eligible to race... once you fill up the "luggage area" with petrol. The GT-One, with its 600-horsepower 3.6 turbo V8 (previously used in Group C cars built between the above two), got as close as Toyota has come to winning Le Mans, coming second on its second attempt in 1999 after its battle for the lead was cut short by a puncture. It finished one lap behind the open-top BMW V12 LMR. This was Toyota's third time finishing second, having done so in '92 and '94.


It was over ten years before Toyota returned to Le Mans once more, as they had spent the 2000s competing in Formula 1 with minimal success. In 2012 came the TS030 Hybrid, featuring a 550bhp 3.4 V8 and a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that utilised a supercapacitor instead of a battery. The energy it saved up was then turned into an extra 300 horsepower, delivered through an electric motor on the rear axle. This meant that, coming out of corners, it had 850bhp, more than a Formula 1 car. This car has recently been added to Gran Turismo 6, where the KERS functions automatically, much like in real life. In cockpit view you can see a bar graphic displaying the percentage of energy saved up, then when you put your foot down above 100km/h (62mph) it dispenses said energy and it feels like you're running nitrous oxide. Typically a full charge lasts from 62 to about 130mph. In reality, the drivers were allowed to use it at any speed, meaning that when they got to the pit lane they would just switch the engine off completely and glide in and out on electric power alone.

Its first attempt to win the ultimate motor race ended in car #8 colliding with a red Ferrari 458 and back-flipping into the tyres, while car #7 took the lead on sheer pace until it retired with technical problems late in the evening. Oh dear. The following year they couldn't really compete with the ever-dominant Audi, but car #8 found revenge for 2012 by nabbing second place, matching Toyota's best LM24 result. Outside of Le Mans, the TS030 scored five wins in its two seasons of the World Endurance Championship.

This year, Toyota entered the TS040, a heavily-revised version to conform to new rules, which used a KERS on both axles to add 480 horsepower to the 520 horses coming from the V8. You can add that up yourself, right? Despite the sheer speed, car #7 retired from the lead overnight thanks to a wiring loom (of all things), while car #8 recovered from crashing into traffic in heavy rain to finish 3rd. Better luck next year, Toyota. Still, at least they're (narrowly) leading the World Endurance Championship at the moment, having won the two races prior to Le Mans.


This is the actual car that won the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours. And yes, for the 13th time in 16 years, it's an Audi. That's quite a record, in fact it's threatening Porsche's all-time record of 16 Le Mans victories, enough so to prompt their return to LMP racing. Porsche and Toyota put in a valiant effort this year, each having their stint in the lead, but ultimately the well-oiled machine that is Audi Sport Team Joest crept up and up through the field and car #2 took victory. Who says diesel cars can't be fast?


By the way, doesn't this headlight look like a Tetris piece? The one that's like a rectangle with two corners missing? Whether or not you can see it, the latest iteration of the Audi R18 can see you just fine, as the new "laser lights" can see half a mile ahead. This technology is transferring to road cars already, starting with the R8 LMX, so being tailgated by an Audi road car is about to get even more irritating...


I love that they haven't cleaned it or replaced the torn paint and dented grille. A pristine example could easily just be a display model, but this? This is the real deal. That superficial damage was caused by stones and other road mess from the Mulsanne straight itself. Those dead bugs are French. This is a bona fide Le Mans winner, sitting here under a tent inches away from people who watched it enter the history books, or perhaps have never seen it before. That's Goodwood for you.


Before Toyota and Porsche, Audi had to fend off Peugeot for its Le Mans victories, but after 2011 the French company decided it was fighting a losing battle financially, and pulled out with one LM24 victory and a World Endurance Championship title to their name. After a quiet year spent making better road cars, 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of Ari Vatanen's famous win at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in Colorado, USA. With a bunch of retired racecars lying around and a new road car to promote, why not celebrate in style?


Using the rear wing, brakes, suspension and driveline from the 908 HDI LMP1 car, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak Special is a silhouette racer built around a bespoke tubular chrome-moly steel chassis. The carbon composite body panels merely resemble a 208 hatchback. Using such a small bodyshell defined a somewhat shorter wheelbase than the streamlined 908, hence the bespoke chassis. The engine is a 3.2L twin-turbo V6 that Peugeot had supplied to independent Le Mans teams in previous years, but here it's running un-restricted turbos to give it a staggering 875bhp, channeled to all four wheels via a 6-speed sequential transmission from sister company Citroën's DS3 WRC rally car. But power is one thing. The wafer-thin carbon body panels and tube-frame chassis gave this car a kerbweight of just 875kg. So that's two cars at Goodwood with a 1:1 power:weight ratio...


So how do you do a creation as mad as this modern-day Group B car any justice? Insert a driver that's physically incapable of being slow. With Sebastien Loeb at the wheel, the course record at Pikes Peak - which had only been set the year before - was annihilated by over a minute and a half, with an incredible 8:13.878. You can read a little more and watch the run by clicking here.


Again, this is just a selection of what was on show there. Other things include the latest and greatest supercars, pre-war Grand Prix cars, NASCAR racers (which pulled huge burnouts and made a fantastic racket), a few dragsters (which did the same but turned up to 11 or maybe 12), a whole stable of motorbikes to which I should really start paying more attention and even more besides. Everything from this area goes out on track, arranged in "batches" of related car types. Most go out for show, some go flat out to set a fast time. One or two crash, as Sir Chris Hoy can attest. Either way, keeping your eyes on the hill without missing any of the other stuff on offer is a delicate balancing act. Unfortunately I missed the classic car concours event, motorbike display team, a whole other paddock of legendary racers, the FOS-Tech area where new and upcoming technologies are showcased, and I only spent about 10 minutes at the Forest Rally Stage, where I did at least see and hear a Lancia Stratos and a Mazda RX-7 among the Fiestas, Escorts and Evos kicking up dust. I didn't, however, miss the aerial display by the Red Arrows, or the Eurofighter Typhoon making A LOT of noise up in the sky.

Mini-Rant - Flappy-Paddle Head


OK, if you'll allow me to back-track a bit, one thing I've been noticing more and more in new cars on display at car shows is these little buggers. Car buyers in almost all market segments are finding their left leg a bit tired and opting for paddleshift semi-automatic gearboxes instead. I'm getting used to this idea (although if a manual gearbox is offered I will always choose it). Can't heel-toe like you could in your old manual car? Learn to left-foot-brake. It's more beneficial a skill. What I'm not getting used to is the paddles themselves.

This one is attached to the wheel of an Audi A4, but I'm almost certain that Jaguar, Maserati and probably a lot more of VW-Group all use the same ones, supplied by a third-party company like many small parts. They're crap. They feel cheap to touch and cheap to use, with a short travel and poor action. The Alfa Romeo 4C's feel even cheaper. Why?! If you expect people to use these damn things all the time, why make such an important touch point feel like such a rubbish afterthought? If you're going to take away my manual gearbox, at least replace it with something I can still enjoy... and don't make it feel exactly the same on an expensive car as it does on some wheeled shopping crate from the same parent company.


Porsche, as usual, know what's up. That's why if you spec a PDK gearbox for your Porker, they give it long, metal paddles. These feel much higher-quality just to stroke with your finger, and have a more solid, mechanical-feeling shift action. It's much more in keeping with the interior quality of a £50,000 car and I wouldn't mind owning a car with metal paddles. Typically for Porsche, though, they're optional extras. Otherwise you get daft two-way buttons instead. Nissan have used metal shifters from the start on the GT-R - leather-edged ones, no less - and Jaguar have listened to recent criticisms of the F-Type's stubby plastic paddles, responding with nice metal ones for the F-Type Coupé. To be honest, even metal-effect plastic would be acceptable as long as it didn't feel cheap and flimsy. When the Thrustmaster T500-RS - which is an attachment for a games console - has nicer gear-shift paddles than a premium sports car, something is very, very wrong indeed. Get your act together, car makers!


Audi Q5 Off-Road Test Drive


Image from Audi UK's Facebook page. That's why it's framed properly
Sometimes it pays to have connections, or at least be related to someone who does. My dad works for a US bank as a database architect, and said bank has recently started collaborating with Somo, the world's largest independent mobile solutions company. Somo, in turn, are collaborating on technology projects with Audi UK, which at the Festival Of Speed included a virtual-reality lap of Silverstone in an R8 or RS6 using Oculus Rift, live streaming from the event using Google Glass and the 'King of quattro' iPad app, which measures your driving using the iPad's internal accelerometer and gyroscope and gives you a score for smoothness. The highest score bagged you a special prize. When Dad's boss, petrolhead and SBV8 reader Tim Hooley found out we were going, he decided I should give this last one a go, and so I got signed up for a drive in an Audi Q5. I also got a free lunch out of it, which is pretty great when you're somewhere a bit upscale like Goodwood!

I'd never been to this part of the event area before, situated between Molecomb and the Flint Wall, to the right of the track, so we were a little late, having taken the tractor shuttle to the top of the Forest Rally Stage thinking it was there and needing to walk downhill right through it. Nevertheless, I found it in the end and was allowed in. After signing this and ticking that, I was guided to one of a handful of Audi Q5s and got into the driver's seat, with Dad in the back. The manual seat was "fun" to adjust on a slope, but the air conditioning was a godsend in the summer heat, even more so than the free lunch. The gearbox was, predictably, automatic. I didn't use the paddles. The point of this little exercise is to demonstrate some of the car's abilities, and teach you the basics of off-road driving.

The key word when tarmac-dodging is "momentum," especially where slopes and dips are involved. While you don't want to go nosediving down one of the big trenches they'd dug out, you don't want to grind to a halt either, so once you've slowly advanced to the tipping point, come off the accelerator and cover the brake pedal. As you tip forwards, start braking very lightly to manage your speed until you get to the right angle... and then stop braking. Once you let go of the brake pedal, the car's Hill Descent Control will slow the car down for you as you continue driving downwards. This felt rather counter-intuitive, I must admit. The HDC braking was strong and involved a faint grinding sound that was disconcerting the first time I heard it. But no matter. Once you're at the bottom, squeeze the throttle back on and crawl effortlessly back up using 'quattro' all-wheel-drive and diesel torque. Repeat two or three times to prove that the system really works.

It was difficult to trust the electronics the first couple of times, but once you're assured that it's always there you can relax a little. We then wandered through the trees for a while, watching out for big tyre-bothering roots and taking a wide line through the tight corners to account for the length of the car. Apparently I did well at this bit. But then the proper off-roading happened; once presented with a steeply-banked left-hand corner, I was instructed by the instructor (whose name I have, of course, completely forgotten) to position the car so that the right-hand wheels are on the very top of the bank.

The car then tilted. A lot. I expected it to feel steep, but I didn't expect to feel like I might fall out of the car! The instructor informed us that even though we were tilted at such an unnatural-feeling angle, the car could do better: up to 44°, no less. I do not want to know what that feels like. We crawled round the corner, and then it was a nice relaxing trundle down the hill to the start again, during which time we discussed our findings. Much of off-road driving is counter-intuitive the first time, but like anything it just takes experience and practice. It was silly worrying about that angle as well, as the Audi's construction means that the centre of gravity is roughly at bum level, so it wasn't going to tip over any time soon.

Most of all, though, I was impressed by the Q5 3.0 TDI quattro. I expected this compact crossover to be little more than a bloated A3, and thus be a bit out of its depth on a proper off-roading course with ups, downs and twists like this one, which also had to impress the people driving full-sized Q7s. But it just soaked it all up, the V6 turbo diesel engine merely whispering as it carried us along. Even the instructor admitted that most Q5 buyers won't do anything like this kind of driving, hence my low expectations, but I suppose Audi's engineers want to keep their credibility and be able to silence cynics such as myself. Besides, they'll sell enough of them to pay for the development either way. Now, I'll look at Q5s and remember my first off-road driving experience... and that tilt angle.

My thanks to Tim Hooley and the nice people of Somo. Look out for some cool technology in your Audi dealer soon!


GT Academy Wildcard Event - Day 2

Again, this is not how it ended up.


After missing out on a wildcard entry on Thursday by barely 0.2 seconds, I practiced at home for an hour and got my 45.1 down to a 44.4 in the RJN GT-R GT3. Considering the winning time was a 44.9, I was satisfied that I'd found the edge I needed.

I had not.

I got there after 9am and set an opening time. Once again, I fell short to Karl Chard, who had himself been pipped at the post very late in the day on Thursday. In a way though, I was happy with the above picture, because from Friday to Sunday, it would be the top two that went through. Still, I knew that I had 0.3 seconds to find before I'd even matched my home-set time, and there was another long day ahead. If everyone's found a good half a second overnight, then I'd have to check back relatively often. I did a few times before lunch and it was still me and Mr. Chard, who I knew to be fast. I was cautiously confident, and went off to do other things.

Then, at about 4pm, I returned to see that I was now in 5th place. Well that won't do, will it? I got back in the hot seat, knowing I had time to find... but I couldn't find it. My mistake was waiting that long before coming back. It had been a long hot day with a lot of walking around and I was probably past my best, but I couldn't leave it alone. I started with a run in the mid-45s, possibly a 45.4, which impressed onlookers but not me. After that I barely got close to the 44.7 I'd set in the morning, getting frustrated, over-driving the car or chickening out through the Flint Wall by braking too much, any advantage I gained in the first two or three corners - which was as much as a third of a second - being erased before I got to the top. A few times I didn't even finish the run at all, clipping grass on corner exits and not catching the rear end quickly enough. After six runs, it was clearly hopeless. I had already peaked for the day before I'd even sat down in the afternoon. I left at about 4:30 still in 5th place. Even if I had matched my 44.4, it wouldn't have been enough. The fastest time before I left was a 44.2, a full half-second under what I could do on the day. I can't argue with that...

But look, there's always 2015. Last year I drove for my life and managed 5th. This year I had casually managed the 5th best time first thing in the morning. Besides, winning the event this year would conflict with my final year of University, which isn't a good idea. Instead, I'll just enjoy being able to set my own design projects for a year, and then make sure I'm one step faster again come Goodwood '15 (assuming I don't get in on the regular time trial anyway). I had a better day on Thursday, so I'm getting another Moving Motor Show ticket next year. If the stars align then I'll have the money to get a weekend ticket for the Festival Of Speed itself and plug in those times for four straight days if I have to. The dream was too close to let go now...

Summary


As you can tell from the sheer size of this post, there's so very much to do at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed. If there's a drop of petrol in your blood, it's the best day(s) you'll have all year. No matter what kind of car you're interested in, you'll find it and something cooler too. No matter what classic or legendary racing car you lust to stand next to, it's either here or has been before. Nothing comes close as a car show, because it's more than a car show. It's a festival, one that celebrates everything great and good about our love, hobby, obsession. It celebrates speed, in all its forms.

That's why you must get a ticket for next year... but only after I've bought mine!

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