We’ve all been saying it for years, but this is perhaps the first time Lord March has confirmed it himself. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is – among many other things – the new British motor show.
Well, he didn’t use these actual words, exactly, but the implication is clear. “Since the Festival of Speed was first established in 1993, car manufacturers have increasingly used the event as a launch platform for new models,” he said in his welcome speech at the Press Day, held to get everyone revved up for this year’s events. “At last year’s Festival, for example, we had over 30 new cars making their UK or world debut, with over a dozen new supercars alone being seen in action for the first time anywhere in public, driving up the Goodwood hill.”
To drive the message home, this year’s Festival will add an extra day: Thursday 1 July, a ‘Preview Day’ for what March and his team have called ‘The Goodwood Moving Motor Show’.
“Visitors will be able to enjoy an exclusive motor show and preview day to the Festival,” continued March, “where they will not only be able to see the very latest new car models on display statically, as per a traditional motor show, but also at the invitation of the manufacturers, to climb aboard and experience the vehicles in action first-hand.” The driving route will include the hillclimb, 24 hours before it’s pressed into service for all the usual Festival of Speed action.
Visitors will comprise guests invited by the manufacturers, plus there will be a limited number of tickets for the paying public, though details are still to be confirmed. So far, 20-or-so manufacturers have signed up for the Thursday, including marques that have been sadly absent from the British Motor Show in recent years; marques such as Ferrari, Audi, Rolls-Royce and BMW.
Before the usual voices of criticism are raised, bemoaning Lord March’s commercial approach, please consider the options. Either Goodwood finds clever and innovative ways to fund its spectacular events, or it falls sick with the traditional British disease: create something of outstanding quality then, when punters start to buy, cut the costs and (for a while) keep raking in the profits. Compromising on quality is something March has never done – and, let’s hope, will never consider. For those who come only for the historic and race machinery, the presence of the modern manufacturers is a small price to pay. For the rest of us, let’s revel in the best of the new car industry, as well as celebrating the past.
But back to the real business of the day. We already know that the theme for the 2010 Festival of Speed is ‘Viva Veloce! – The Passion for Speed’, suggesting a major Italian flavour to proceedings – in particular, the centenary of Alfa Romeo. Says March, “You can expect to see more than 50 deeply significant Alfa Romeos here in July, including many that have never been seen outside of Italy, or even seen at all!”
There are plenty of other anniversaries to celebrate this year, however, including the 60th of the F1 World Championship. Five current F1 teams have already confirmed they’ll be there for the Festival, including Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes GP and Red Bull. This year is also the 60th anniversary of the gruelling Carrera PanAmericana, and the 50th birthday of the Bathurst ‘Great Race’ – so expect some thundering V8s on the hill.
Finally, a word for the Goodwood Forest Rally Stage – extremely well worth the trek up the hill. It is now half a century since the RAC Rally first took to the forests of Britain, and we expect nothing less than an array of very special rally cars and drivers to mark the occasion.
The Festival of Speed will be held from 2-4 July 2010, with the new, extra ‘Moving Motor Show’ day on 1 July. The Goodwood Revival is from 17-19 September 2010.
Admission to both Goodwood motor sport events is strictly by advance ticket only.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
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