Two vintage race cars at Goodwood.

Tom Callow of Automotive PR takes us on a trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed (in a Zipcar of course) and describes how the classic British motorshow has evolved over the years.

Tom Callow of Automotive PR"I first went to the Goodwood Festival of Speed back in 2006 and have been a regular visitor ever since. This year, I decided to try out a Zipcar as my set of wheels for this big automotive day out. The one arguable disadvantage of Goodwood over the old British Motor Show is its location. Rather than easily-accessible London or Birmingham, Goodwood is buried in the picturesque countryside close to Chichester.

Jenson Button meeting his fans

It’s a solid 70-mile drive from my home in London and the first 50 miles can be dispatched with relatively easily and quickly using the A3 to slice through Surrey. I usually leave the A3 right on the border with West Sussex and soak up the 20-mile drive along the A287 and the A286 down to Goodwood itself. And so it was on Saturday when I took a Zipcar on this road trip down to motoring nirvana.

Established in 1993 and traditionally the preserve of the true car enthusiast, it’s fair to say that the Goodwood has capitalised on the vacancy for a British motorshow and has grown enormously in size, especially over the past 10 years. A ‘mere’ 25,000 attended the inaugural event in 1993 with crowds today numbering 150,000.

The event has also expanded in scope, beginning life as a showcase for a number of historic racing and road cars that took place on a Sunday, to an event encompassing vast exhibition stands showing off new cars, from mainstream models to hypercars. Charles Morgan of the Morgan Motor Company described Goodwood as “celebrating the diversity of the motor car” and I think he’s bang on.

Nick Heidfeld driving the 1998 McLaren MP4-13

Arriving at Goodwood, I got directed into the premium parking area right behind Goodwood House, the magnificent resident of Lord March – or Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March and Kinrara, to give him his full title. Lord March is a bit of a motoring icon, having created Goodwood Festival of Speed in the first place, as well as hosting it on his grounds.

The central feature of the Festival of Speed remains the ascent of the 1.16-mile hill by the various classes of car at the event, which this year ranged from diesel-electric hybrid Volkswagen XL1, dubbed ‘the world’s most fuel-efficient car’ being capable of up to 313mpg; to dragsters that struggle to even register a single-digit fuel economy figure.

Outside Goodwood House every year, a manufacturer puts on a giant central display relating to an anniversary or significant milestone. This year was Porsche’s turn, celebrating 50 years of its iconic 911 model. The display featured three Porsche 911 cars mounted on enormous steel struts, pointing skyward almost like aircraft taking off.

One of my favourite parts of Goodwood this year was the new Ford stand. It looked radically different from any other manufacturer’s presence at the event and had an amazing sundeck on the top level that allowed you to get a fantastic panoramic view of the track.

I thoroughly recommend Goodwood Festival of Speed to anyone with an interest in cars. It’s a great day out and on a hot sunny day, with the vague smell of burned tyres and the noise of roaring engines, there’s not much I know that can beat it!"

Here at Zipcar we're all about efficient, reliable and practical cars, but if you could have any supercar as a Zipcar, what would it be?

Porsche 911 50th anniversary sculptureRowan Atkinson's (repaired) McLaren F1The Zipcar VW Golf

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