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Thursday, 8 August 2019
GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED BECOMES A MAJOR PLAYER IN THE GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE CALENDAR
GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED BECOMES A MAJOR PLAYER IN THE GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE CALENDAR
As the dust settles following the 27th annual Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, the Duke of Richmond’s laid-back celebration of motoring and technology can now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with traditional motor shows such as Geneva and Frankfurt as a focal point for the global automotive industry.
Comparisons with these great bastions of gleaming coachwork are ever-more relevant. At Geneva this year there were 20 new models launched by 17 brands plus the additional sparkle was added by 22 concept cars from established and emerging automotive houses.
At the Festival of Speed, meanwhile, 22 new models from 21 manufacturers were launched or alternatively appeared in pre-launch camouflage or ‘closed room’ presentations. A further 26 recently-launched cars made their first dynamic appearances anywhere in the world.
From the moment that the show opened on Thursday morning with the Duke of Richmond driving Land Rover’s prototype Defender up the Hill, the tone of the 2019 Festival of Speed was set. Through the next four days, the spotlight turned from one manufacturer to the next, from hand-made British sports cars such as BAC Mono and Radical through to global volume players including Audi and Lexus.
Goodwood’s sun-drenched lawns do not suit the strobe lights and dry ice that are part and parcel of revealing a concept car, but what it offers is a chance for the cars to be seen in a real-world environment – albeit a spectacular and prestigious one.
“At Goodwood, you can see it, sniff it, touch it and watch it go up the Hill,” said Mark Featherstone, Goodwood’s Sponsorship Director. “Our aim is to deliver a family-friendly festival vibe, with action-packed activities and themed areas that provide a backdrop to world-class cars and motorsports.”
That backdrop on the Hill, Rally Stage and Cartier Lawn represent the finest original cars and motorcycles from 125 years of motoring. To this has been added elements including urban and e-sports in the GAS Arena, applied technologies in the FOS Future Lab and in a new addition for 2019 The Arena drift shows completed the festival feeling.
Importantly for the automotive brands in attendance, Goodwood’s all-encompassing show puts potential car buyers in the right frame of mind to admire the latest road car products.
“Certainly, the manufacturers set fairly rigorous KPIs in the number of leads that they come away with as part of their evaluation of the value of FoS,” Mark Featherstone continued.
“Because we put on a show, the media coverage that it generates is phenomenal – for example, Mazda put a price on the media value of its presence as the Central Feature as 12 times that of its initial outlay. But making any investment here means that commercial realities are paramount – does being here sell cars? – and that, over and above column inches is the metric by which we are measured.”
This year’s Central Feature celebrated Aston Martin’s competition success at Goodwood. The iconic 31-metre sculpture was crowned by an Aston Martin DBR1, sixty years after Sir Stirling Moss claimed the World Sportscar Championship with victory at Goodwood, while down below Aston Martin’s new SUV, DBX, made its dynamic debut up the Goodwood Hill.
Philip Eaglesfield, Aston Martin Regional President UK & SA, said: “It has been an honour for Aston Martin to be so closely tied to the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. There is no greater stage to showcase DBX, our first SUV, and we are overwhelmed and extremely thankful for all who came out to see Aston Martin’s work on display at this year’s Festival.”
Another prominent brand was McLaren, which launched the new McLaren GT and showcased its jaw-dropping Speedtail among the marque’s star cars for the event. Goodwood also provided an opportunity to highlight McLaren’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), an educational outreach programme to inspire young designers of the future.
Among the world firsts at Goodwood was the unveiling of the all-new De Tomaso P72, the cover of which was plucked off by the Duke of Richmond in person in front of a huge media turn-out and automotive icons including legendary designer Peter Brock and AMG founder Hans Werner Aufrecht.
The decision to bring the revived marque to life at Goodwood was based upon pure business logic. Ryan Berris, General Manager for De Tomaso, said: “It was a really easy decision for us to choose Goodwood for the reveal of the P72. We first came to Goodwood for an event at the circuit, and then came to the Festival of Speed and we were blown away.
“The team here is amazing and their attention to detail is so good. De Tomaso has always been a grassroots brand but things have to be done the right way – we’re not in this venture for commercial reasons, we’re in it to stay true to the De Tomaso brand.”
The splendour of one of England’s finest country homes is a natural fit for bespoke sports car producers to show their wares, but the majority of the displays were put together by the high street favourites such as MINI, Ford and Volkswagen.
Building a cobbled street in the midst of the gleaming modernity of most display areas, MINI celebrated its 60th birthday with a traditional sweet shop and a classic 1999 model personalized by none other than David Bowie. But alongside the brand-friendly heritage, it also allowed visitors into a closed room to see the MINI Electric just days before its global reveal and took the yet-to-be-launched GP3 up the Hill, resplendent in its ‘dazzle’ camouflage.
Volkswagen made all the headlines when it smashed the 20-year-old record for the fastest-ever climb of the Goodwood Hill. The old record of 41.6 seconds was set in lurid fashion by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 car, whereas Volkswagen’s former Le Mans-winning driver made it look easy at the wheel of the all-electric ID.R halo vehicle to claim a gigantic scalp for the electric movement.
Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets, said: “The Goodwood Festival of Speed always guarantees a show for the fans. This year, we were delighted to honour the tradition by breaking the 20-year-old record on the Hillclimb with the all-electric ID.R.
“The ID.R shows just how far electric vehicles have come in recent years, and just how exciting and impressive the technology is.”
Electrification was a key theme running throughout the launches at this year’s Festival of Speed, from the compact Honda e making its public dynamic debut to Porsche showcasing its upcoming electric sports car, the Taycan, on the Hill. Goodwood also played host to the launch of the mighty ODYSSEY 21 from Spark Racing Technology, the world’s first fully electric racing SUV that will compete in the Extreme E racing series, and saw the DevBot 2.0 set a new autonomous record time on the 1.16-mile course.
“This year has been a real coming-of-age for Goodwood and the Festival of Speed,” said the Duke of Richmond.
“It was really brought home to me when the Central Feature was unveiled because in 1993, when we first stepped into the unknown to launch this event, the first car to take centre stage was Aston Martin’s newly-launched DB7 – which stood on a small platform that I was still helping to put together at 2 a.m. on an opening morning!
“Every year since, I am delighted to say, not only has the Central Feature become bigger and better but so too has the event itself. A huge part of that comes from commitment and creativity of the automotive world; from the manufacturers who seize the opportunity to help create this unique experience for our visitors. ”
2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed Facts and Figures
Total number of visitors: 200,000+
Global launches, camouflage cars and closed rooms: Aston Martin DBX, Audi R8 LMS GT2, BAC Mono R, De Tomaso P72, Ferrari SP2, Ferrari SP3JC, Ford GT Mk.II, Kar-Go, Lamborghini Huracán Drift Racer, Land Rover Defender, Lexus LC Convertible, Lightyear One, Lotus Evija, McLaren GT, Mercedes-AMG A45, MINI Electric, MINI JCW GP3, Porsche 911 RSR, Radical Rapture, Roborace Devbot 2.0, Samsung 5G autonomous vehicle, Spark Odyssey 21
‘First Glance’ dynamic debuts: Alfa Romeo Giulia Racing, Alauda Airspeeder. Aston Martin DBS Volante, Aston Martin Rapide E, Aston Martin Vantage AMR, Bentley Bentagaya Speed, Bentley Flying Spur, BMW X4M, Brabham BT62, Citroën C5 Aircross Flair Plus, Citroën Puretech 180 Auto, Ferrari P80/C, Ford Mustang GT500, Ford Focus ST, Honda e, Jaguar Project 8 Touring Pack, Grand Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk, Lamborghini Urus, Land Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic Edition, Lotus Evora GT4, MINI JCW Clubman, Polestar 1, Polestar 2, Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe, Porsche Taycan, Rolls-Royce Cullinan