Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2023: report and key new cars

The gates have now closed on 2023’s Goodwood Festival of Speed following a very mixed weekend. After a successful opening two days, organisers took the difficult decision to cancel the Goodwood FoS festivities on Saturday in the face of a Met Office weather warning for high winds across southern England that would have endangered safety on a site with so many tents and other temporary structures in place.

Thankfully, the adverse weather conditions subsided and the Festival reached its usual climax with some stunning performances from racing legends in the ‘Sunday Shootout’ on the Goodwood hill.

Goodwood’s motoring events have become must-visit experiences for petrolheads of all ages, with a mix of race and road cars, and motorcycles unmatched almost anywhere else in the world. There were a number of official reveals of brand new cars as well as the usual crop of UK debuts for new performance models. The cars are not just on static display either, as the Festival of Speed is where the Duke of Richmond opens up his driveway to become one of the world’s most famous hill climb events.

Goodwood FoS: new cars A to Z

This year we were lucky to witness the wraps coming off a remarkable array of new cars  seen for the first time, as many big new models made their UK debuts. He pick out the highlights below…


If you’ve not heard of AIM before that could be because the new EV Sport 01 is the firm’s first ever car. It’s an all-electric sports car with around 600bhp going to the rear wheels. Considering it’s a full-EV, the AIM EV Sport 01 is relatively lightweight at 1,425kg.


Several cars from Alpine were in attendance. The newly-unveiled Alpine A290_ß concept previews an all-electric hot hatch due out in 2024 and there was the hardcore A110 R making runs up the Hillclimb course. The drop-top E-ternite concept also made an appearance, as did the A110 R Le Mans.


Marking the impending retirement of the legendary W12 engine, Bentley had a spectacular  12-car parade of W12 Bentleys including the new Batur, a Continental GT Le Mans Collection and several Mulliner special editions.


The all-new BMW 5 Series made an appearance, alongside the firm’s much more exotic modern interpretation of the 3.0 CSL. 


Lightweight sports car specialists, Caterham, took the wraps off its very special 2+1 sports seater Project V – an all-new closed-roof model. New Caterhams don’t come around all that often so this was something to get very excited about. 


Chinese electric car maker HiPhi made an impact at this year’s Festival of Speed when it unveiled its Y – a mid-size SUV. It’s not the first time we’ve seen HiPhi though, with the X already available to UK buyers.


The Ioniq 5 is one of our favourite EVs and Hyundai’s N division has been busy creating some great performance cars – so what happens when you combine the two? It didn’t take long for us to find out, as the brand new Ioniq 5 N caused a storm when the electric hot hatch made its long-awaited debut at Goodwood.


The retro-inspired and incredibly capable 4×4 Grenadier forms the base of two exciting new vehicles unveiled at the Festival. The Quartermaster, a pick-up bodystyle of the Grenadier is a double-cab version of the Grenadier, as well as the hydrogen-powered Grenadier prototype were both on show.


Kia’s excellent range of  EV-badged all-electric cars has gained a new model to its lineup – called the EV9. The seven-seat range-topping SUV made its UK dynamic debut on the Goodwood hillclimb.


Lamborghini has taken one step closer to their endurance racing debut as the Italian firm unveiled their SC63 hybrid racing prototype which will be taking on legendary endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hours against the likes of Toyota, Porsche, Peugeot, Cadillac, and this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Ferrari.


The Evija hypercar, Eletre SUV made an appearance, while the Goodwood reveal for the Emira was hidden under the engine cover, as it is now offered with an AMG-sourced four-cylinder motor.


Off the back of a fantastic performance for its F1 team at Silverstone, McLaren celebrated its 60th anniversary in style at Goodwood with dynamic debuts for the hardcore 750S supercar and the track-only Solus GT rounded out the weekend in style, with Marvin Kirchhöfer taking overall victory in the Timed Shootout – completing the famous Hillclimb in 45.34 seconds and a finishing speed of 149.1mph.


Over a year later, reigning Goodwood Hillclimb record holder McMurtry made a return, this time with its road-legal McMurtry Spéirling Pure – which possesses all of the wacky aero-optimised styling of the original.


The most powerful MG ever has been revealed in the shape of the MG4 XPower and was joined at Goodwood by a new concept car which took to the hillclimb, the MG EX4. The concept, which is the first MG to use the ‘EX’ prefix since 1985’s EX-E show car, was designed and takes inspiration from the iconic MG 6R4 Group B rally car.


MINI made an appearance at Goodwood with the John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition driven by the grandson of John Cooper – Charlie Cooper. The Concept Aceman and MINI Electric Convertible were also on display.


NIO has history at Goodwood, famously taking the production record for the hillclimb back in 2018 with the EP9 electric hypercar. The Chinese car maker made a return in 2023 with the ET5 – an all-electric saloon with up to 366 miles of range.


As Porsche celebrates its 75th birthday this year; showgoers were treated to a showing from some of the icons created by the German firm, with its ‘Porsche Avenue’ display. There were also some new machines on display in the shape of the 911 Dakar, the latest Cayenne, 718 Spyder RS, and a very special single-seat concept – the Vision 357 Speedster.


Renault turned some heads with the wildly retro R5 Turbo 3E, along with the new Austral E-Tech SUV and the Renault 5 Prototype. The Renault 4EVER Trophy concept also made an appearance on the French firm’s stand.


Triumph made a return at this year’s FoS with its TR25 concept. While there are no production plans for the pint-sized concept based on the chassis of the BMW i35 and uses its electric motors, the Festival was used by consultancy firm Makkina to show off its designs in public.

Roundup of the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed

This year’s Festival ran from Thursday, July 13 all the way until Sunday the 16th, although Saturday was cancelled due to high winds. We saw ‘Full Throttle Thursday’ and were treated to a celebratory firework display in front of Goodwood House, given the chance to walk the Hill Climb before the on-track action starts, and had a first glance at some new model launches at the event.

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Friday saw the first timed runs on the hill climb course and more chances for road cars to go up the Hill at more modest speeds. Many road and racing cars were starting to show tremendous pace – setting the stage for a thrilling final day. 

‘Shootout Sunday’ was when the stopwatch officially came out, with competitors looking to beat last year’s victor, and reigning Goodwood Hillclimb record holder, the McMurtry Spéirling.

While the McMurtry still remains the Hillclimb record holder, this year’s Shootout was won by the McLaren Solus GT following a mesmerising run up the Hill. Having seen glimpses of its pace in prior runs, Marvin Kirchhöfer pushed the extreme track-only hypercar to its absolute limit, completing the Hill in 45.34 seconds and with a finishing speed of 149.1mph. 

Finishing in a close second was Travis Pastranna in his spectacular Subaru GL Family Huckster crossing the line in 46.37 seconds and at 130.0mph, and rounding out the Goodwood podium was Michael Lyons driving the McLaren M26 F1 car from 1976 following  a 132.3 mph and in 46.89 second run to the flag. 

Current Porsche Carrera Cup GB driver, Adam Smalley, and current British Touring Car Championship racer Jake Hill rounded out the top five.

How do I buy tickets for Goodwood 2024

Those already looking forward to next year’s event should keep an eye out on the Goodwood website, which will have all the up-to-date information regarding 2024’s event as it’s released.

Due to the cancellation of Saturday’s event, advice from Goodwood was not to contact the ticket office for refunds but to wait for contact from organisers who will be in touch in the coming days regarding potential options.

What was 2023’s theme?

Porsche took pride of place at the 2023 Festival of Speed, with the famous central feature dedicated to 75 years of the Stuttgart brand, plus 60 years of the 911 sports car. As well as a sculpture paying homage to Porsche, we got to see daily Porsche-themed displays in front of the house, road and race car parades up the hill, and the public debut of the recently-revealed 718 Spyder RS, open-topped counterpart to the Cayman GT4 RS.

Porsche’s anniversary coincided with the venue’s own Goodwood 75 birthday bash, celebrating 75 years since the first motorsport event took place at the Goodwood Motor Circuit, in 1948. A series of cars raced up the Hill based on the venue’s different eras, including ‘The Racing Years’ from 1948 to 1966, ‘The Testing Years’ post-1966, ‘30 Years of the Festival of Speed’, from 1993-2023, ‘Racing Returns’ (1998-2023), and a forward-looking batch under the banner of ‘The Next 75 Years’.

Any famous faces?

This year was a bumper year for famous faces, with the likes of four-time F1 champ turned social and environmental advocate for the sport, Sebastian Vettel, making an appearance and driving several cars from his own collection up the hill – including the ex-Mansell Williams FW14B he drove on synthetic fuels last year at Silverstone, and a 1993 ex-Senna McLaren MP4/8. Drivers from old and new also made an appearance as McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari, and Williams all took to the hill. Fans were also treated to displays by 2009 F1 World Champion, Jenson Button, and three-time F1 champ Sir Jackie Stewart.

Ten current MotoGP riders also starred, including reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia and his teammate Enea Bastianini. As well as the new bikes, ridden by the series’ current riders, there were also other legendary racing motorcycles on display covering everything from Giacomo Agostini to Casey Stoner.

What else was on offer?

Fans of the cutting edge of automotive technology were spoilt for choice as Goodwood’s ‘Electric Avenue’ display continues to grow. EVs from several car manufacturers were available for a poke around, while FOS TECH and Future Lab areas will showcase STEM subjects, flying cars, robotics and more.

In addition to the famous Hill runs the Forest Rally Stage also had plenty of action once again, while there’s also an action sports arena (think motocross and BMXing), an off-road arena with a dirt course, displays taking place over the site.

The race paddocks, the Cartier Style et Luxe concours lawn, and if you had the right tickets, numerous hospitality enclosures were available for those who wanted to seek a few moments of cam. If you happened to miss out on the 2023 FoS, expect an even bigger and better display when the event returns in 2024.

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