Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016; The carpark

Bear with me a moment and I’ll explain why, when theres racing to be talked about, that I’ve started this series of four blogs with the mundaneness of a carpark? Well in June I crossed something off my automotive bucket list which was very near the top- The Goodwood Festival of Speed, in sunny old England. I’d rerouted a trip that my wife and I have been doing across Europe from Prague back to England to attend for the weekend. Now there’s no cliffhanger here; the event is amazing. In fact it’s the best event I’ve ever attended. The quality, scale and shear insanity of the event are what have made it world famous and I implore you if you have any desire to go is to just make it happen. It’s that good.

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Anyway, why start describing the event with the carpark? Imagine all the scenes from Cars & Coffee you’ve scene, all the best showrooms you’ve visited and then transport all those cars into a field in the southeast English country side and you’ll get an idea of why this isn’t an ordinary carpark. I’d left organising the finer details until the last minute. In hindsight a silly idea when around 150,000 attend Goodwood. The result was accommodation in the general area was well, a rip off, $200NZD per night for a bed in someone’s house via AirBNB or $500 NZD for a motel room which was still a distance from the circuit seemed crazy to me. There was an option to camp on the Goodwood site but those run at $120 for an powered tent anyway. So call it a combination of Kiwi ingenuity  and the tight dutchman in me I figured I needed transport from London down so why not hire a van and sleep in the back? Two birds with one stone.

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The carparks opened at 6.30am for the grounds opening at 7am. So I was there bright and early to try and avoid the notorious traffic jams I’d been warned of. Well, I said sunny England, but in reality it’d been pouring with rain. All the access roads had turned into bog tracks. Parked up, looking back at the hillside a steady stream of cars of all shapes and sizes wheel spun in the mud snaking there way to the entrance. For some the no fucks given attitude was present. Everyone there was a car fan and keen to get to the action. I spotted a 996 GT3 which looked like it had been safari rallying to get there through to an Aventador SV with side intakes filled with handfuls of clumps of muck.

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Being so close to London, it attracts London cars and London money. Once in the gates there is dedicated paid ‘Supercar parking’ zone right up close to the action near the pits- provided your car meets the qualifying guidelines. For example, any Porsche qualifies so long as it isn’t a Cayenne or Panamera, bring a Mercedes and it better be an SLS, AMG GT or SL otherwise it’ll be turned away like the disgruntled C63 AMG driver I saw.

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The quality of cars which arrive from the public could be worth the ticket entry alone. How so? It gets to the point that you won’t take a second glance at a standard Aventador or Huracan because there’s an SV parked along the way or one with a chrome wrap. There were multiple 918s, the entire 911 range to the point that 997’s were looked at like Ford Focuses! Ferraris of all shapes, Rolls Royce Wraiths, a Noble M600, and multiple McLarens. 

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My jaw dropped when I spotted a harlequin McLaren 675LT; the paint job change almost melts from a green to purple change as you walk by. But then that was outdone my a McLaren P1 with the same paint which changed from purple to blue to orange! More outrageousness with a snow camo Huracan and an MSO McLaren 12C with roof snorkel and carbon from wheel arch vents.

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The other thing is these really are out in the public. The Saturday had torrential rain and I cringed as non attentive parents didn’t spot their kids poking and prodding there hands over the dirty and soaked aforementioned P1. A candy red P1 was there as well a a Singer 911 again all parked up casually beside each other in stinking smelly mud.

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So there you go; a taste of what’s to come. There’s an overload of wraps, wings and wheels of all combinations before you’ve even stepped into the event officially! 

Let me know in the comments- would you pay an entry fee just to see those cars?

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