Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009 daily bulletins

Published: 06 July 2009

Welcome to CAR's coverage of the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed. We'll be posting daily bulletins with news, photos, galleries, blogs and reviews from the Festival of Speed – live from Lord March's front drive. NB start at the bottom and work your way up!

Goodwood hill video

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Sunday 5 July 2009 - updates by Sarah-Jayne Harrison

4.15pm: Time to leave

Photographic rendezvous over, I decide to leave before the traffic gets too chaotic and because my uncle nearly ran out of fuel on the way in. We soon hit jams anyway and it takes four hours to get back to Peterborough, but seven hours’ driving in one day is worth it just to soak up the Goodwood atmosphere. As brilliant as ever.

3.00pm: Rallying excess

Made it up to the rally stage, however the queuing on the way up delayed our arrival. Sadly no sooner am I there than my phone goes and I have to head down to meet ace snapper James Mann at the media centre for more great pics from today.  

1.45pm: The concept cars

Following behind the supercars are the electric cars. I stick around to see the Rinspeed i-change and the Infiniti Essence, as I’m quite intrigued by both. The Essence is one really good looking car. They are amazingly quiet apart from the slight whining electric sound as they make their way up the hill. The Royal Artillery guys were tasked with carrying a car up the hill, albeit fibreglass, with the aim of beating all the supercars to the top. Did they manage it? Yes they did, but then the supercars weren’t competing for best times and I’d still rather drive a car then carry one, especially up a hill on a baking hot day. Have to hand it to them – they actually ran with the model Escort on their shoulders! 

1.25pm: Time for the supercar paddock

I drop in on exotica central just as they are lining up to get ready for the start line. I am the office’s biggest fan of the Bugatti Veyron, and seeing the Grand Sport is a highlight – especially alongside the Pur Sang in metallic silver. Call me sad, but I’ve got goosebumps being this near to car royalty. Unfortunately, there’s no space for me to take a ride in either. Damn. Quick trip round the corner to drool over the Caparo, Scuderia, LP670 SV, Zonda, the SLR Stirling Moss... So many to choose from, I’ll have one of each please. Drooling over, I get to the first bend just after the start line. A little snake-like manoeuvre, a quick elbow there and a big smile to get to the front and I’m set ready to watch them go up the hill. Fantastic. I’ve shot a bit of amateur video footage we’ll upload later today. 

11.30am: A car with a helicopter engine?

The great thing about Goodwood is the sheer spread of cars it attracts. One minute there are touring cars from around the world, the next minute there’s a weird, bug-eyed 1976 Volkswagen Chevrolet Beetle. The Ford Mustang Boss is pleasantly loud, and the crowd love it. Then there’s a Ford GT Mark II (I saw one at the start line, amazingly cool) and now its 7.0-litre V8 is in full throb. And what’s this Howmet? Apparently it has a helicopter engine for ground-effect suction, it sounds as though it is going to fly up the hill. Absolutely extraordinary. What else catches my eye? The 250GT SWB aka ‘breadvan’ is quite a sight. That is one big butt. 

11.20am: The Plan

Time to sit down and attempt a plan of where to go and when. I say attempt. Festivals have a habit of ripping up your best laid plans. We started near the startline by the big screens – it’s always great to watch the cars scarper off the line, and it’s not too busy down there. An Audi 200 Quattro is out on the hillclimb, followed by American motorsport cars. The scent of singed clutch and sizzling rubber is a heady cocktail. Call it eau de Goodwood. 

11.00am: We’re in

Unlike my colleagues, I’m here as a plain old Joe Public visitor, so no rides up the hill for me. I grab my programme and head inside. The noise of the F1 cars churns up childish excitement within me – but where to head first. As a true Brit, I end up in a crowd and at 5ft 2in I quickly get lost. It’s only my second time at the FoS and all I can see is the Ferrari F1 tent. Think I’ll give that one a miss for now. 

10.45am: Day three dawns

Finally arrive at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009 after an easy three-hour drive down in the new Renault Clio GT. Even in the car park, I can hear the rally stage at the top of the hill – it gives me goosebumps and butterflys in my stomach and I’m not even through the gates yet! I wander past two gentlemen dressed in smart trouser, trilby hats, carrying umbrellas and chatting about their friends’ ‘private planes’.  They’ve parked a row behind me using their R8 as a picnic table. Seems a bit early for Pimms o’clock. Skies overhead are looking ominous but hopefully the earlier rainshower on the way in won’t return.

Click next to view Ben Pulman's Saturday reporting from the Goodwood Festival of Speed

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  >> Saturday blog   >> Sunday blog



>> Click here for Friday blog   >> Saturday blog   >> Sunday blog

Saturday 4 July 2009 - updates by Ben Pulman

5.23pm: That's a wrap, for today

The rally stage is about to close and i've just managed to see a few things going sideways. That's me done for the day. Sarah-Jayne will be taking over tomorrow. Enjoy!

4.42pm: Time to walk up the hill 

With so much to see, including the constant distraction of cars going up the hill, I've yet to reach the rally stages. Still climbing the hill – it's a lot easier in a car.

3.49pm: A break

Finally, a bite to eat. Then off up the hill to find the rally stage.

2.40pm: Mini-E drive

My run takes a little longer that this morning's XKR blat, but it's over in an instant. So strange to drive a car that makes no noise. Equally amazing seeing thousands of people taking photos of little old me in a humble Mini.

2.04pm: Back to the start line

Finally approaching the start line. Just seen Jodie Kidd head off in a Maser, and editor Phil McNamara in the passenger seat of an Alfa 8C Spider. Here goes...

1.28pm: Red flag

Don't know what's happened but there's been a red flag. So a chance for a quick bathroom break. That's better.

1.07pm: Lining up

Queued up behind the Essence, and three cars ahead is Frank Rinderknecht, boss of Swiss tuning firm Rinspeed, sitting back and relaxing in his i-Change. Have just enough time to say hello before we're in the Mini-E and off the start line.

12.45pm: Mini E chasing the RUF electric

Just got the keys to a Mini E. I'll be chasing a RUF electric 911 and Tesla Roadster up the hill, hopefully with Infiniti's gorgeous Essence somewhere behind me. A highly charged event, then.

12.07pm: A drive up the hill!

Just off to sign on for my drive up the hill. It's not a supercar , but something from the FoS tech tent. But as my only prior run up the hill was this morning (as a passenger) I'm bricking it. Which is a racing driver's term.

11.47am: Air show

I don't know much about planes but just watched a Eurofighter pull a few loops, effectively drifting mid-air just above the crowd, then light its afterburners and zoom away. Awesome!

11.04am: The Audi cathedral

Wandered into Audi's enormous 'tent' just in time to watch Le Mans winner Allan McNish give an interview on the huge studio set. 

10.45am: Size difference

Just popped back to the car to get a long-sleeved top. You need one to ride or drive a car - in the XKR I had to borrow Mike Cross's, and we're slightly different sizes. [Tim Pollard somehow got away with wearing shorts and a polo shirt yesterday, charming his way past the marshalls]

10.13am: Rain, rain, go away...

The first drops of rain are starting to fall. Time to head into the manufacturers' stands for some cover.

9.21am: All over in an instant

It's all over in an instant. An absolutely sideways instant. Unbelievably fast. Gobsmacked by the speed. More to come on Monday. Meantime, everything is parked at the top of the hill and we're allowed to wander around, plus I've just been offered a drive for this afternoon! Can you guess what it is?

9.15am: Supercar Paddock

Back in the Supercar Paddock and all the cars are surrounded. Mike Cross ducks out and I watch the crowds swamp the Pagani. I rather like the GT3 myself – in this company, it's one of the more affordable vehicles.

9.07am: Supercar run

The queue for the supercar run is finally moving. Up ahead I can hear the tyres shrieking off the line. Genuinely nervous now.

8.31am: Meeting Jag's handling maestro

Found the Supercar Paddock and now alongside Mike Cross, behind an Alfa 8C and ahead of Jag's Bonneville racer. Quite a convoy. 

7.59am: A Porsche 917fest

Quick trip to see the flood of Porsche 917s starring at Goodwood this year. Tim Pollard mentioned them yesterday – there are 12 in total. And just the other side are Audi's Le Mans cars, as well as BMW, Porsche's and McLaren's endurance racers. They're all drop-dead gorgous. Don't miss them if you're coming to the 2009 festival.

7.52am: Lewismania

There's a mass gathering outside the McLaren truck. No sign of Lewis, but the back door to the transporter is open and his car is suspended on its wheels on the first floor. The F1 cars are always the biggest pull, n'est-ce pas?

7.45am: Arrive at the Festival of Speed

Here safe and sound. Suitably enough, I've come down in the new low-powered diesel Jag XF. We're driving it for the first time and it's rather good. Makes our 2.7 feel a bit old hat. The sun's up and warming the early morning crowd. I can't wait.

5.00am: An early bird alarm call

It's hideously early but I don't mind – I have an 8.45am appointment with one Mike Cross and an XKR so I'm more than happy to be up. Should be a quick drive down to Goodwood.

Click next to view Tim Pollard's Friday reporting from the Goodwood Festival of Speed

>> Click here for Friday blog   >> Saturday blog   >> Sunday blog

>> Click here for Friday blog   >> Saturday blog   >> Sunday blog

Friday 3 July 2009 - updates by Tim Pollard

10.41pm: Review of Friday

Back in the land of the wireless signal. Just uploading the best of the pics by pro snapper James Mann and remembering the highlights of the day. It's been blisteringly hot after an inauspicious start. If you're heading down on Saturday or Sunday, pack the high SPF cream. You really can't beat Goodwood on a day like this. Lord March does have the attention to detail cracked, but there's no denying a commercial undercurrent to the Festival of Speed. Those food stalls charge top dollar and don't forget all the car manufacturers pay handsomely for the privilege. But – hey, this is the modern business reality. There's no getting away from the excellence of the event. I first came to the FoS back in 1998 and it has grown enormously since then. A decade ago, the Friday was almost deserted, an anoraks' secret to turn up and beat the crowds. No more. It was absolutely rammed at Goodwood on day one in 2009 and I suspect that the weekend will just get busier. There's the usual mouthwatering selection of cars on display and the raw enthusiasm shown for them by crowd and drivers alike is what makes this place tick. My only real regret is missing out on so much of the action. Gutted I can't spend more than one day here this year – I've only really scratched the surface today, so I will have to leave you in the capable hands of my colleagues on Saturday and Sunday. Over and out! Tim P

5.19pm: Signals disaster

What can I say? Rural West Sussex's phone network has crashed under the weight of 50,000 spectators at the FoS. So gutted my updates haven't sent... No email, no text, 1 in 20 phonecalls connecting. Sorry about the radio silence. We'll upload our pro photo gallery later this evening when back in wi-fi world. Tomorrow you'll be in the safe hands of 98-octane staff writer Ben Pulman, Sunday's web producer Sarah-Jayne Harrison's turn. The updates may be few and far between, but we'll get them to you somehow. More news from me later this evening.

3.45pm: The Audi Cathedral

Predictably enough, the title sponsor has two vast stands. I'm standing looking at a stripped bare R8 skeleton. Mmmm. Better than the Zero Seven bland muzac in the background... Next to the R8 is a small, weird little booth in the dark where you can play with new sensor technology that puts a virtual you in a wind tunnel. My geeky friend had heard about it and we both giggle as we test our own aerodynamicity (err, is that a word?).

3.33pm: The Red Arrows

It really is no expense spared. As a procession of Quattros charges up the hill, the Red Arrows fly past. Probably to smoke up the four rings for Audi's centenary? Don't know which is more alluring: the elegantly arcing planes or the short-wheelbase Quattro racers on full chat.

2.57pm: A NASCAR lunch

Grabbing a bite to eat in the sun. NASCARs blatting past: burn-outs, V8 roar, Goodwood at its best. I feel lucky – Goodwood are charging nearly a tenner for burgers outside, and I've managed to cadge a ticket inside Jaguar's hospitality tent. Best place to seek refuge from the Bentley people who are probably going nuts about our Arnage scoop we've just published today. (Only joking – I took the PR to one side after my Supersports ride and 'fessed up, as he hadn't heard about our scoop this lunchtime. Long, difficult convesation ensued but they seem to be taking it on the chin. Kudos to them; they've kept it quiet for a remarkably long time).

2.37pm: The Supersports in detail

What was the new Bentley Continental GT Supersports like to ride in? I can proudly confirm I'm one of only two people in the world outside the Bentley factory to have ridden in the E85-munching Conti. It feels bespoke, noticeably different from a regular Continental. For a start, there's no rear seat, junked in the name of weight saving. The front pews are carbonfibre buckets and the interior trim is spruced up. But most of the engineering has gone into the oily bits. There's real attention to detail: lighter wheels, ceramic brakes, the W12 tuned to run on E85. Derek Bell is proud that the fastest Bentley on sale is also its greenest (although these things are relative). How does it feel? Blindingly fast. I've been in a few rapid cars in my time, but the way Bell nailed it from the startline (briefest chirrup, no wheel-smoking unlike some supercars doing the runs as the 4wd does its stuff) made me sit up and pay attention. But rather than outright speed, it's the way the Le Mans hero threw the car around. The Goodwood hillclimb starts wide and gets progressively narrower. The ceramic brakes were dabbed only around three or four times, the way the Bentley felt balanced through the corners really surprised me. It's still a big car, and quite a heavy one – but there's no disputing this car's balance. The whole experience was over in a jiffy, less than a minute from top to bottom. But one that will stay with me forever. Full report on our hillclimb with photos to follow on Monday.

2.28pm: Up the hill

So, calmed down a bit now. Derek Bell has just given me a ride to remember. I could practically taste the straw from the haybales there, as we brushed with Lord March's agricultural Armco. We hit 120mph up Goodwood's front drive – a route I can confirm is bloody narrow. Especially heading towards a flint wall at 80-something mph. Bell had to twist on some lock at one point, the road's still slippery in the shade. Full report to follow.

2.12pm: The Bentley Supersports

Wow. Sorry for the long silence but just been up the hill in a Bentley Conti Supersports. Plenty of queuing up, marshal checks, more waiting before I got to meet my driver – one Le Mans legend and local boy Derek Bell. Legs still shaking, gonna take a few mins to recover. Abso-lutely amazing. Deep breath... 

12.27pm: Eavesdropping on Evo

Our rivals at Evo magazine are hanging out in the supercar paddock and I hear my opposite number associate editor Ollie Marriage grilling a few spectators about the GTR SpecV. 'Is it a supercar?' he asks them with an officious looking clipboard. Sounds like they're doing a feature or web story on some of the cars in the paddock. You can make your claim about the GTR's right to be called a supercar – but what the hell is a BMW Z4 doing in there? Tellingly, BMW has a lady there taking brochure orders and test drive requests. The soft sell, see...

12.16pm: 917 heaven

Fortieth anniversry of the 917 = brutiful collection of the world's most seminal racer. In every which hue. Although busy, you've got to admire how close punters can get. Fans worshipping their heroes... 

12.02pm: Le Mans legends

I have a special rendezvous at 12.40pm at the Bentley stand for a rather exciting ride up the hill in something fast. Before then we stroll over to the paddock pits – where you get to see the drivers and cars hang out before they run. The 007 Aston fresh from Le Mans is wheeled past in Gulf colours. Low, mean, very fast looking. The M3 GT2 I'm looking at is quite a device too. This is perhaps the best bit for me at Goodwood. Fans can get close to their trackside heros. It's uncomplicated, non commercial and a bit of a walk away from the main drag. You get a better calibre of fan up here.

11.41am: The thundering sounds of Goodwood

Quite touching. I've just seen a few deaf guys near the supercars talking to each other by sign language. Makes me wonder what it would be like to be at the Festival of Speed and not be able to hear the cars screeching up Lord March's drive. It's such a noisy place, it's pulsating with the heartbeat of a V8's crank. But these guys are loving the sights and smells of the place and are having a ball. I give them a big thumbs-up and a wave and they return the compliment.

11.17am: Supercar heaven

If you're heading to the FoS this weekend, be sure to check out the Supercar Paddock. We journos get quite blasé about supercarkind, but there's a droolworthiy mix of exotica: Bug Grand Sport, RUF CTR3, Spykers, Artegas and... a Panamera. In the supercar collection? Eh? A great way to see the world's most expensive cars though. It's crowded here, but unlike a motor show, you can get up close to all the cars. Only the Bugattis are roped off, as far as I can see.

11.00am: Cartier Style et Luxe 

Always a Goodwood highlight. Just seen a 1970's JPS Lotus F1 car being towed up the hill – time to head to the concours. There are some brilliant Mini variants this year: Mokes and some seriously cool Mini coupés. Just standing by the 1979 Aston Martin Bulldog. Pure wedgy madness – a classic William Towns design, touting a strangely ludicrous 700bhp. Kinda puts the Aston iQ Engrish experiment in context!

10.40am: The 70s F1 cars are go

A cavalcade of 70s F1 racers is blasting up the hillclimb. I'll hold my hand up and admit my old car knowledge isn't great, but I can pick out the Marlboro sponsor decals of the McLaren car. They're formidably fast from my vantage point near the first corner; way quicker than the Auto Union we saw earlier, though slightly less visceral of exhaust timbre. The atmosphere is growing, seems just what you'd expect of Goodwood so far. Guess plenty of visitors won't have arrived yet. Let's see how crowded it gets later.

10.10am: The sun emerges

Just bumped into Jaguar MD Mike O'Driscoll, who's all excited. And with good reason: his XKR Goodwood special is about to show off its lime green talents. And he can't wait for the new XJ's reveal next Thursday. Come back 8.15pm on Thursday to see it. You'll be surprised...

9.03am: Goodwood dawns

Goodwood House hoves into view, as we stroll onto the site. I'm relieved the public campsite is really near the action – but five minutes from the start line. It's early but already the fans are streaming in. Quite quiet so far though. Make a mental note to call in on the merchandise stalls on the way back to the car park.

8.45am: Weather check

After sizable thunderstorms overnight, it's dry and patchy clouds scud across the sky. Time to search for tickets and head in. We'll be updating this blog throughout the day with updates and snapshots from the ground. Plus later on, we'll have a selection of more professional photo galleries. Stay tuned.

8.15am: Réveil

The Cali is dark and damn comfy inside, we only wake after a veritable lie-in. And Goodwood being Goodwood, there are slick showers and loos in the public camp site where we're staying. It's certainly not Glastonbury!

Thursday 2 July 2009

9.30pm: CAR pitches up

Three hours down the road, we arrive at Goodwood (after detour home to pick up forgotten wallet, woops). Mercifully, the VW Cali is a cinch to erect and we're installed in the inbuilt deckchairs for some sun-downers amidst the other festival goers.

5.41pm: The drive down to Goodwood

CAR's team are beginning to head down to the Festival of Speed this afternoon. Quite a relief to escape from the 34º C heat in the office (we kid you not). Associate ed Tim Pollard is taking the VW California camper van down and braving the M25 in rush hour. More news from the team once we're installed on Lord March's lawn.

2.30pm: Audi unveils its landmark sculpture

Audi marks its centenary with the central monument outside Goodwood House. It's 35 metres high, made from steel, weighs 40 tonnes and was designed by Gerry Judah, Lord March's creative guru. It's like a giant twist of Scalextric, with a 1937 Auto Union on one end and an R8 V10 on the other. Judah said: 'I drew about 20 ideas and some had elaborate bridges with vaulted arches but somehow they didn’t have quite the right style. I then had a flash of inspiration and designed this ‘swoosh’ with a car at either end to represent Audi’s 100-year history.'

>> Click here for Friday blog   >> Saturday blog   >> Sunday blog