Goodwood 2018 was a special year for many reasons, the genesis of Bond Exige concept, the launch of Lotus Type 49 and 79 limited editions, and most importantly Lotus were back in a big way!

In July 2018, Lotus was bought by Chinese automotive giant Geely and everyone was excited about the financial backing of the parent company. Those in any doubt about Geely’s intention for the brand were given a clear indicator at Goodwood with a stand worth of a legendary F1 constructor. I have a picture of the big bold Lotus stand with a smaller Aston Martin tent in the background, how the fortune of the two British marques has changed.

The Lotus stand boasted the all-conquering Type 79 Formula 1 car, newly launched special edition Exige’s, and a hospitality area. On track Lotus were celebrating 70 years of racing with a variety of legendary Formula 1 cars running up the hill, including the Limited Edition Exige Type 49. With even more Lotus goodness in the paddock with crowds packed around several historic racing cars from Classic Team Lotus. The love for the marque seems undiminished.

Goodwood vibes

One of the most relaxed and accessible events on the calendar, Goodwood has such a variety of cars. It brings together a wonderfully eclectic group of people together, all with one thing in common, a love of all things automotive. It is a great leveller of wealth and status as everyone rubs shoulders at the event. One year, I was photographing some cars in the super car paddock and took a step back for a better shot bumping into someone as I did, turning around to apologise I recognised Alain Prost! He was wandering around on his own enjoying looking at the cars.

Another year my dad and his friend, both retire British Steel engineers, were looking at the then Le Mans winning diesel Audis and asked the technician what he was doing to the engine. Once they got talking and the technician realised that dad’s mate had been a chief engineer and responsible for some of the largest diesel engines in the UK, he invited him to come around the back of the car and see what he was doing. Where else would this happen?

Goodwood event

Held over 4 days, Goodwood is essentially a hill climb event dialled up to 11 and then some. It is competitive with entrants aiming to win their class and overall best time. Although over the years it has become a showcase for manufacturers to show of new product, reminisce about historic glory and generally relax and have fun.

The event is Thursday to Sunday, with Thursday and Friday having slightly less crowds and therefore more accessible, with Saturday and Sunday absolutely packed. You need to get there as early as possible, to avoid exceptionally long queues entering the car parks, otherwise you can be stuck in traffic for an hour or two. Apart from the cars on the hill climb, there are huge manufacturer stands, shopping areas and the inevitable overpriced food stands.

If you are going to Goodwood for the first time, forget about the grandstand tickets. I suggest you wander around and find some space on the banks to watch racing. I would strongly recommend you try to spend at least two days there, as you will be much more relaxed, spending the second day in the grandstand watching the timed events, perhaps even book a restaurant for the ultimate experience. Goodwood is a memorable event, and one you should return again and again.

Use this link gor more information about Goodwood Festival of Speed and buying tickets for next years event.

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