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GoAuto’s good word on Goodwood

A cut above: Justin Law was king of the hill in the 1987 Silk Cut Jaguar XJR8/9 with a time of 45.95 seconds.

A weekend of motoring paradise as the Goodwood Festival of Speed turns 20


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16 Jul 2013


GOODWOOD’S Festival of Speed has celebrated its 20th year in style with a record-setting crowd turning out to see an eclectic mix of exotic cars tackle the famed hillclimb.

Perfect weather and a 185,000 ticket sell-out was just the start of a weekend packed with international debuts and displays from around the world.

Here’s our wrap of all the action that may one day translate to the new-car showroom.

Skoda Czech car-maker Skoda chose the Festival of Speed to stage the global unveiling of its fastest-ever Octavia mid-size wagon.

Skoda claims the latest Octavia RS manages the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.8 seconds, with a top speed just shy of 250km/h.

The 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine is shared with the Golf GTI, but a 135kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel version will also wear the RS badge, offering a 0-100km/h dash of 8.1 seconds.

Vuhl The enigmatic Mexican-built Vuhl 05 also broke cover at Goodwood, appearing publicly for the first time with 21-year old rookie F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez at the wheel.

Powered by a heavily cranked version of Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine the featherweight track car has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds and an unapologetic turbocharger soundtrack to match.

Porsche Porsche had an obvious presence at this year’s festival with the Goodwood’s iconic centre feature dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the 911.

Among the high-profile celebrations at Goodwood, Porsche also unveiled its second-generation Panamera, which features new V6 twin-turbo and S E-hybrid versions.

The hybrid Panamera uses a 70kW electric motor to boost total power to 310kW, cutting fuel use to as little as 2.6L/100km yet maintaining a 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds.

All seven generations of the Porsche 911 were on display to mark the progression of models from the original 1963 version, as well as rare racing models to modern-day representations such as the 991 GT3.

Jaguar Jaguar chief engineer of vehicle integrity, Mike Cross, expertly slid the British marque’s Project 7 concept to the top of the hill, proving that the Le Mans commemorative car, complete with a barking V8, is more than just a ‘design exercise’.

The retro-styled, one-off Jag is based on a lightened version of the two-seat production F-Type, but uses the 410kW engine from the XKR-S. It is expected to herald a high-performance production F-Type.

McLaren McLaren’s hyper hybrid P1 also made its first public appearance at the festival with formula one ace Jenson Button at the wheel.

After his first drive of the V8 turbo/electric McLaren, the 2009 driver’s championship winner admitted he was scared to drive the car without a helmet.

“It’s got quite a lot of power and doesn’t like this bumpy road … amazing amount of grip,” he said. “It feels very, very quick.” Ford Ford also made a notable appearance at Goodwood with its record-breaking Formula Ford-derived FF1 racecar for the road.

Last year, the single-seat open-wheeler set a Nurburgring lap time of seven minutes, 22 seconds, making it the fastest 1.0-litre car to ever negotiate the ’Ring, faster than Nissan’s GT-R beer-budget supercar, and the 11th fastest time for a road-legal car.

The FF1 uses a highly strung 150kW version of the Engine of the Year-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost. While the car is certified for road use in Britain, a production run is yet to be confirmed.

A more pedestrian version of the FF1’s three-cylinder engine will appear in Australia later this year under the bonnet of the Ford Fiesta.

Bentley Bentley also used the festival to show off its latest motorsport project, unveiling a stripped-out Continental GT-based racecar.

It may be visually similar to the road-going version, but the 450kW competition-ready Continental GT3 is technically very different.

Bentley’s two-door coupe went on a significant diet to loose more than a tonne in weight. It also gains a dry-sumped 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 instead of the usual W12 road car engine.

Bentley used the hillclimb at Goodwood as part of the GT3’s development program. After undergoing FIA homologation, the race-approved version will compete in the 2014 Blancpain international endurance racing series.

The other stuff While not all passes are timed on the hillclimb, no Festival of Speed would be complete without a pitch for the top time.

For much of the weekend it looked as if Gregory Guilvert would take the trophy in the recent Pikes Peak record-smashing Peugeot 208 T16, but he was narrowly edged out for line honours by Justin Law in a 1987 Silk Cut Jaguar XJR8/9 with a time of 45.95 seconds.

Justin’s best time may have been enough to secure him victory for 2013, but it wasn’t enough to beat the current record of 41.60 seconds set in 1999 by formula one pilot Nick Heidfeld and his McLaren formula one racecar.

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