After a slight, er, “technical glitch” that may or may not have caused the whole of Thursday to never happen, this year’s Festival of Speed finally got under way in glorious style.
Baltazar opened up proceedings with the bonkers Quark RS530 Concept. The popular supermini has been stuffed full of steroids, and its 2.0l i4 now produces 530 hp which it sends all to the front wheels. I feel for the gearbox of this thing, let alone the tires. Still, the noise it made was similar to that of a rally car, which got the crowds in a good mood and started the day of well.
KHT soon followed with a special parade of their 3 newest cars and one all-time classic, these being the Eau Rouge Rennsport (which will one day have a definitive, final version - I think), the Mistral (the car that would have been the company’s entrant into the 2016 AMWEC season) and a finally a “track special” version of the Augusta, otherwise known as the ‘baby KHT’. With all three cars clad in white paint, one can’t help but draw comparisons to the Silver Arrows of the 1950s…
Following this was a BRC legend, the 1966 KHT Brooklands, with this particular model having been kept absolutley as it was after finishing the final race of the season, damage and all. It’s a motorsport relic, preserved like no other, and it’s still unbelievably loud.
Contendiente went up next with modern-retro design called the Enemigo. It’s hardly a looker, but it is light at 1260kg and certainly packs power with 250hp lurking under the bonnet. They intend to enter into the next season of the ATCC.
Vinson gave us a rally duo in the form of the Group A classic, the Stryder WRC, and the new Stryder RX. Both wearing the iconic ARES livery, it aimed to show some 30 years of progression in rally cars. Both went up the climb (which they seem to think is a mountain, for some reason) and we shortly followed by the Specter 1MR, which was revealed at New York earlier this year and the Devotion Concept, a 800+ hp shooting brake revealed at Antiyita earlier this year.
Soon enough it was lunchtime, and I headed into the myriad of tents and stands that make up the bulk of the festival to find a good local beef burger (Goodwood likes to emphasise local businesses at all of its events). It was also a chance to explore what was else was happening besides the cars blasting up and down the hill climb. Rennen’s stand really is quite something and a must visit purely for the chance to drive Gran Turismo Sport as well as an incredible digital exhibition revealing the engineering side of their creations, as well as giving you the chance to get your own 3D printed Rennen to take home (model collectors are better off touring some of the actual model car stands found in the private booths section of the show). Plus, they also brought a long a number of their current cars, almost making it feel like we were back at Antiyita…
Vinson had the LG-97 Thunderbolt out on show, a new behemoth of a coupe from the company. A 16L V12 has been squeezed under the bonnet, making it more akin to a Spitfire than a GT cruiser. Sadly we didn’t get to see whether or not it’ll spit fire as it’s not being driven on the hill climb for safety reasons.
Erin’s display had a number of cars both new and old, including two pristine classic sports cars and they’re owners who were ever so keen to tell me everything about their cars, especially Nancy who explain in great detail the restoration work she’d done to the port injectors, at which I promptly said I needed to be elsewhere and ran off.
Orchid used the event to launch a new wagon called the Lyrel Tourer. The aggresive-meets-semi retro styling of the car feels a bit off, but the same cannot be said for the remarkable achievements they’ve made in transmission technology: they’ve created a 7 speed continuously variable transmission! Though surely that defeats the point of having a CVT in the first place…oh never mind.
Then came the big announcement of the day, perhaps even the biggest reveal of the show. Bonham unveiled the first ever (at least in the Automation universe) Vision Gran Turismo. They described it as “the ultimate expression of the classic 2-seater, front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car” - a bold statement, but it’s justified with equally bold styling. This thing is drop dead gorgeous, and incredibly striking. Its 520hp 4.7l V8 certainly made an impact as it roared past Goodwood House, and better still, we’ll all get the chance to drive this thing - virtually of course, but that’s the whole point of it after all. The car is now at the Bonham stand, where an extensive exhibition on the engineering and styling behind it can be found.
Storm Raceworks were next and made their usual pomp-and-circumstance entrance. The team have brought a 1955 Storm Prince and the GTRS tune of the Mamba, the latter of which set a blisteringly fast time, while the Prince set an extraordinarily slow time of 1:32.12. Still, the crowd were entertained nonetheless.
AL made their FoS debut with a run in the AL Autos Velox. The hypercar was first seen at New York earlier this year, and has since been reworked. At last, we get to see near 1800hp coupe run up the climb. Amazingly though, it wasn’t the fastest car of the day, though the new styling has significantly improved the aesthetics of the car.
As the day began to draw to a close, Riesling Motors made an unexpected appearance with a new retuned version of their 1996 Fastback, now pushing out 1137hp from its new 5.9l V12. The styling is simple, but that isn’t the point - this thing is incredibly fast. It was shortly followed by an all new iteration of the marque, which looks like an actual Hot Wheels car made to full scale. It managed to set an even faster time, and it was in stock form!
Erin closed out the day with two classics from its past, namely the widebody Civera Silhouette and the 1990 CRP-4D, which made so much noise that I swore I could have seen some of the staff members checking the old Goodwood House to make sure some of the 18th century architecture hadn’t been damaged.
All in all, the first half of this year’s FoS has been mighty impressive, and we’re still expecting to see loads more incredible action over the weekend. Speaking of which, I need to head over to the Bonham Owners Club stand tomorrow to write an article on them…bye for now!