Glorious Goodwood: The Festival of Speed marks its triumphant return

By Michelle Johnson | 12 Jul 2021 | Speed

The Goodwood Festival of Speed brings high-octane thrills, classic race cars and all new EVs to motoring fans

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* The Duke of Richmond and Tom Cruise at the Goodwood Festival of Speed [© Jon Nicholson/Goodwood]

The Goodwood Festival of Speed returned this year in triumphant style as motoring fans descended on the history Goodwood Estate to delight in the range of classic and modern racing cars, all-new EVs, modern automotive masterpieces and futuristic technologies. 

Running from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 July, this year’s festival, presented by Mastercard, saw appearances by actor Tom Cruise, Olympian Chris Hoy, British F1 star Lando Norris, the Red Arrows and motorsport legend ‘The Captain’ Roger Penske – who drove The Hill race in the Penske Porsche RS Spyder to celebrate an exhibition of his achievements. 

Other famous faces included racer Mario Andretti and quadriplegic racing driver Sam Schmidt, who was on hand to demonstrate his semi-autonomous car by Arrow Electronics, controlled via head movements and a “sip and puff” system.

New cars making their debut on the Hill included the INEOS Grenadier, Ford Mustang Mach E GT, Hyundi Ioniq5 and thunderous Land Rover Defender V8, while the Toyota GR 86, Genesis G70 Shooting Brake, BMW 2 Series Coupé and Lotus Emira made their world premieres.

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* Festival of Speed 2021 [©Dominic James]

The Michelin Supercar Run saw the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition, Lamborghini Huracan STO, Lamborghini SCV12, Maserati MC20, McLaren Artura, Rimac Nevera, Porsche GT3 Touring, SCG 004S and the Kimera 037 all make their roaring climb, while competition cars including the hydrogen-powered H24 Racing LMPH2G, hybrid Toyota Corolla BTCC, Ford Puma WRC and the Le Mans challenger SCG 007 LMH also made their appearance.

The Festival of Speed was presented as a pilot event by the UK Government’s event research programme, with the weekend’s crowds all tested for Covid-19 prior to gathering. The elated atmosphere saw crowds admiring the supercars on show and celebrating demonstrations against the backdrop of Goodwood House. 

As well as celebrating vintage racing success, the festival was also a moment to look to the future. The newly created Electric Avenue, presented by Sky Zero, lined up some of the most exciting and state-of-the-art electric road cars, from Polestar to Automobili-Pininfarina. 

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* Red Arrows fly above the Goodwood track

Elsewhere, in The Future Lab, Goodwood gave guests even more fuel for the future, with deep ocean exploration, a mission to Mars, and robotic agriculture all available for festival-goers to discover. Highlights included a display by Boston Dynamics’ famous robot-dog, Spot, and the Gravity Flight challenge that saw Olympic medal-winner Hoy take flight in an Iron Man style flight suit.

The long history of the World Rally Championship was once again celebrated on the Forest Rally Stage, with the inaugural Hannu Mikkola Trophy presented to James Sunderland MP from the Armed Forces Rally Team driving a Land Rover Wolf XD. The passing of motorsport commentator Murray Walker was also marked by a moving tribute from Damon Hill on Saturday afternoon.

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* Electric Avenue at Goodwood Festival of Speed

But no Festival of Speed would be complete without the Shootout, which this year saw cars from vintage Mercedes to all eras of Formula 1, Touring and Le Mans cars set a time up the famous hill climb. The final was brought to a halt after a huge shunt by the Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR of Jack Tetley just metres from the finish line, before a perfect drive by Rob Bell, in the McLaren 720S GT3X, took top honours in 45.01 seconds.

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* Motorbike makes the famous Hill Climb at Goodwood Festival of Speed