GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED 2018
In the world of automotive events, The Goodwood Festival of Speed (FOS) is right up there on the bucket list with the Indy 500, Le Mans, Pebble Beach, the Daytona 500 and a few others. This year, the FOS celebrated its 25th Silver Anniversary and The Dawg Box was there for the party.
For those of you who don’t know, the FOS takes place every summer on the grounds of The Duke of Richmond’s ancestral home 100 miles south-west of London, England. It’s basically a hill climb up the Duke’s 1.16-mile drive. The long-standing record for the dash is 41.6 seconds set by Nick Heidfeld in 1999 in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car. His average speed up the twisty, cambered driveway with some nasty sharp flint walls was 100.385 mph. Nick’s record remains unbroken as they no longer allow F1 cars timed runs for safety reasons but this year two electric cars came awfully close to breaking Nick’s record. It’s bound to fall soon.
By invitation only, the hill climb sees an eclectic field of racecars; everything from Duncan Pittaway’s fire belching, 28.5-liter, 4-cylinder 1911 Fiat The Beast of Turin to Ernie Nagamatsu’s historic Old Yeller Buick-powered road-racing special to Rod Millen’s Pikes Peak-winning Toyota Celica to electric and even autonomous cars with no drivers. Call me old-fashioned, but driverless cars to me seems a lot like slot car racing. While skill is involved, I just wonder if when you remove the human element you remove the point. It would be like climbing Mount Everest using virtual reality—who cares.
Ironically, This year’s fastest time was set by Frenchman Romain Dumas driving a Volkswagen ID R electric racecar in which Dumas recently won the Pikes Peak hill climb in Colorado. Dumas scorched up the hill in just 43.86 seconds. Second fastest was Peter Dumbreck driving the NIO EP9 electric supercar. Dumbreck made the dash in a staggering 44.32 seconds.
It’s a sign of the times that the fields of Goodwood are now littered with supercars. Everywhere you looked there were lines of Lambos, Ferraris, Aston Martins, McLarens, Koenigseggs, Paganis, Porsche and all the other exclusive brands. Time was they were a rarity on British roads but no longer. McLaren was, in fact, our host and we shall be reporting on our tour of the McLaren Technology Center soon.
One of the most appealing aspects of the FOS is the up-close-and-personal access to the cars and the drivers, particularly if you are a Formula One fan. You can get within a few inches of the cars, check them out, hear them run, and meet and greet the mechanics and the drivers. I don’t know of anywhere else you can do that in such a casual atmosphere. There were displays from all the teams including Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, Lotus, and Alfa. There was even a display of driverless electric racecars from Robocar.