Goodwood Festival of Speed
1st July 2010
A couple of free tickets from Lotus Cars to the Goodwood Festival of Speed Manufacturer’s Day saw the Esprit being cleaned and polished for the journey down.
Amid a heatwave, we arrived at around 10.30am to find that the car park was quite a distance from the showground, which was not at the racing circuit but in front of Goodwood House itself.
Getting through the gate, we first encountered the Paddock – an enclosed area where each of the major manufacturers had their own space. The Lotus area allowed potential customers to get up close and personal with the Evora. A couple of very nice Ardent Red, a metallic blue and a silver coloured car were being used to take people out on the Festival of Speed track. I’m sure there were more than a few converts.
As the temperature climbed to 29 degrees C, the heat inside the paddock was taking on sauna proportions. Apart from the Evoras, Ken Baird’s restored S1 Esprit stood proudly on a plinth, reminding visitors of previous successes. It looked striking in gleaming white and drew great interest from children as well as those who remember ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.
Crossing the track by means of a footbridge, we arrived at various trade stands and eateries. Please note that the cheapest burger was £5.20 and an Ice Cream cone was £3.00. At least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask.
All the major players in the automotive world were there and as this was the Alfa Romeo Centenary, an impressive structure had been erected right in front of Goodwood House to mark the occasion.
The Lotus stand looked crisp, clean and nicely laid out with examples of the Elise, Exige and several stunning versions of the Evora on display. One of the more interesting displays was the copper coloured Evora 414E Hybrid , a high performance technology demonstrator with a plug-in series hybrid drive system and new technologies for enhanced driver involvement. This vehicle is capable of 0-60mph in under 4 seconds with a hybrid range of 300 miles. Most fascinating was the Lotus Range Extender engine, a 1.2 litre 3 cylinder block capable of 400 bhp (that’s what I was told, folks).
A blast from the past was Jim Clark’s fully restored Type 49 single seater race car in Team Lotus livery, right next to a graphic of the modern Lotus Racing Formula 1 car.
I felt that Lotus put on a good show at Goodwood and, having visited stands belonging to Jaguar, BMW, Audi as well as many others – there was a certain amount of pride in the product line-up as well as the engineering developments going at Hethel. Well done, guys and gals. As we were sitting on the steps of a viewing area in the shade, eating our expensive burgers, the glass doors in the Paddock just across the track from us appeared to almost blow out. I thought that someone had fired up a jet engine in there, but apparently a car had hit one of the stands. Various Paramedic vehicles, Police and a Fire Engine turned up on the scene as someone had been hurt. It was a very enclosed area with lots of cars being manoeuvred with great care – but accidents will happen.
Hopefully nothing serious. Various helicopter displays amused the crowds although we had difficulty seeing them for the trees, we must have missed the Vulcan bomber and I guess I was too busy looking at cars to notice the Hunter jet. Overall, a nice day out and thank goodness for Factor 50 sunblock.
Thanks to Alan Paterson for his contribution