Every year, we make an active appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. If you are not familiar with the event, this is probably the biggest and most iconic Automotive and Motorsport event on Earth.
The Goodwood festival of speed plays host to a variety of music artists, movie stars, and the greatest personalities involved in motorsport, including current and former Formula 1 (among other world class categories) pilots and World Champions.The most impressive contemporary and classic car collections can be spotted at a venue where people and cars blend with barely any restrictions at all. You can get as close as you want to most of the cars, and also can witness them properly driven up through the famous Goodwood Hill Climb, blasting through the mountain as the noise of their engines echoes for miles.
One of TECHNIA’s (formally known as Intrinsys) directors, Roger Duckworth, is invited every year to compete with his car on the Forest Rally Stage. The car, a WRC (World Rally Championship) spec Subaru Impreza S6, gets several runs around the track under the hands of his owner, who is nothing less than a remarkable driver with some very big racing history on his shoulders. As passengers, very lucky Intrinsys customers get to have a wonderful experience as they are driven in a historic piece of machinery at high speeds, through roads a normal driver would only dare to speed up a little.
As an engineer working for Intrinsys, and a huge motorsport fan, I had the great pleasure of attending the event with some of my colleagues. Now, for a person who is not a very big fan of cars, this event may come across as very entertaining and definitely out of the ordinary. For someone like me, whose career and passions are related to the automotive and motorsport industry, I felt like Charlie getting his golden ticket to visit the Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, with the minor difference that instead of chocolates there were the most beautiful cars in the world to be seen, touched, and heard. The trip to the festival involved its nice piece of a car as well, as we travelled in a very nice and brand new BMW 6 series. In the car, there was the Sales Director from Intrinsys, Craig Mills; the Chief Engineer for Design and Analysis, Alan Cherrington (who previously worked for the Mercedes F1 team); Marketing Executive, Gemma Austin; and myself. After arriving to the event, I started to walk around and experience what would be a unique day. The Intrinsys trailer was located up near the Forest Rally Stage, which determined my starting point for the event. Hovering around the Rally paddocks, already began as a walk on the red carpet. B Group rally cars like the Audi Quattro, Ford RS200, Lancia Delta Integrale, Lancia Rally 037, Renault 5 Turbo, among others, were all in line for an amazing display, together with jewels from other ages, like the Mini, The WRC Toyota Celicas (yes…more than one), and the Lancia Fulvia.
In the pictures, you can see some of these and note that they are dirty. That’s because they were being thrashed at the rally stage, doing what they were built to do. Having seen some of these, I decided to start walking downhill to have a look at the display areas near the Start Line for the Hill Climb. The Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place at quite a large area in order to accommodate the Forest Rally stage, the Buggy track, and the Hill Climb, plus the display areas and paddocks. In order to get to the bottom of the hill, I had to take a long walk through the forest where the rally stage was. A thick forest with barely identifiable footpaths served as a fantastic stage for the rallying taking place in it. As the walkways were located by the Rally track, you could see the cars going though it as they drifted and jumped through the natural obstacles set by the road. The echoing of the engines roaring through the forest would be a magnificent soundtrack and companion all the way down. Closing in to the end of the forest, the footpath would actually start going parallel to the end of the hill climb. Although a line of trees served as a barrier between the footpath and the track, I was able to spot some of the cars coming up. Leaving the forest, I was able to start seeing some of the surrounding spectacles going on at the festival. Coming down, at my left I could see the Buggy track together with the paddocks. Although interested, I was rather eager to have a clear sight of the hill climb. I was not disappointed. Several Formula 1 cars coming one after another were driving up hill. Every time I could hear one of them coming up towards where I was walking by, I would stop near the track to see it as it raced with a tremendously loud and satisfying noise. Adrian Newey himself was driving one of Red Bull’s previous iterations. Finally, approaching the display areas, I ran across with the Porsche show-room. While I really am a big fan of Porsche’s variety of cars, there were two that dragged most of my attention. The LMP1, of which they had several in display spread throughout Goodwood, and the Porsche 918 Spyder. I stopped to admire all the detail and care placed on the LMP1s. They really are astonishing cars, and this was be an opportunity for me, as an engineer, to try and grasp as much as I could from having a look at these machines.
Following Porsche, came the Audi and Jaguar show rooms which were not short of any great sightings either. Jaguar was providing a drifting experience in the F-Type which was good fun to watch for a while. Audi’s show room had the R8 V10 plus, among other interesting displays. Near these show rooms I met with a friend and colleague from Intrinsys’ sister company Integral Powertrain, Ben Burt.
To sum it up, the display area was effectively comprised of all the car brands and associated companies’ show-rooms. Lamborghini, Porsche, Audi, Chevrolet, BMW, Ford, Renault, Michelin, some car part manufactures, among others, each had their own assigned space.
Both road and racing versions of the cars were statically displayed. Some nice sightings included the new Ford GT, The Lamborghini Aventador Miura Homage, the Pininfarina H2 Speed Concept, the Ginetta LMP2, and the BMW M1, among others.
We found ourselves walking around the Bloodhound later on. It is really a display of what technology and engineering can produce. Interestingly though, the car (if you can call it such) has a very old school atmosphere. It may be the fact that it has that rocket shape with a 100,000+ hp engine inside, which brings to mind eras of crazy vehicles that defied the laws of physics, and were designed and built without any compromise.
We went back to check the cars going up the Hill Climb. Not short of excitement, it was possible to spot some of the most amazing pieces of automotive history.
Views of Martini decals on the cars, or spotting a Porsche GT1 started to be a common sight on that day. Yet no matter how many times, or how many cars where there, each one was its own spectacle.
We then headed back to the Intrinsys trailer at the top of the hill, past the Forest Rally Stage, to have wonderful lunch with both our colleagues and customers. The chat about cars was unavoidable, and how could it not be, when the atmosphere was full with the noise of the engines and the smell of burned fuel. With our stomachs full, we then learned that it was also possible to walk around the paddocks where all the road cars were. We headed back down-hill for another 20 minute walk until we got to the bottom. Although the expectation to find some amazing car examples was big, we could not help to go crazy with all the machines in display at the paddocks.
All the motorsport history from the earliest years of the 20th century, up to the latest of the current millennium was present. From the Auto-Union, all the way through to the Ford GT40 up to 2010s F1 and LeMans cars. I had never before been so close to these machines, while at working conditions. Bear in mind they were being driven that day, moving through the public at the paddocks so they could go out and blast through the Hill Climb.
With great thrill, we started walking around the paddocks, both taking a close look at some of our favourite cars and taking pictures of them. Among the cars on the list were the Ford GT40, the Auto Union, Porsche GT1, James Hunt’s F1, Ayrton Senna’s Lotus F1, McLaren MP4 2, Jaguar D Type, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Mazda 787, McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail, Lotus 43, Lotus 97T, etc. I could go on with a huge list, but these should be enough for the connoisseurs to realize what I’m talking about.
It was overwhelming. Each car was not only a machine, but a historical figure. They represent the top technological developments from their times, and carry within their heritage the names of great pioneers, as well as some of the most amazing racing battles in history, still remembered to date. As I walked in front of some of my favourite examples, I could see the black and white images and videos in my head. These machines, which I had only seen in magazines, documentaries or video games, were materializing in front of my eyes in what resulted as a sublime visual experience.
Almost at the end of our walk through the paddocks, we were surprised by a line of contemporary Formula 1 cars coming back from their run at the track. They were so close one could have reached to touch them. This also acts as a reminder of how scarce comes the chance to interact so much with these machines whilst on movement.
Once done, Ben and I parted ways and I returned to the Intrinsys trailer to pack and leave. Full of mud, as it rained all day, I left with a very big smile and some great memories to carry on to the future. With a rather nostalgic feeling though, I can’t avoid thinking that we are at the end of an era. Combustion engines will come to an end, as a simpler but way more powerful technology comes into place with the dawn of the electric vehicle era. As an engineer and citizen of the world, I hunger for the development and application of the latest technologies, which bring not only new excitements, but also kinder ways to the environment. It’s this drive that has brought me to work for a company like Intrinsys. We are after all, in contact with tip of the lance technologies, some of which we develop and implement ourselves. As a driver, however, I feel sad that I will no longer be able to become the director of an orchestra, in the words of Juan Manuel Fangio, as I make an engine noise transform into music. The future, I’m afraid, is automated, gear shift-less, and silent.