Letter From The UK: The Glory of Speed

Letter from the UK

As we huddle pitifully in the wind and rain of our tiny Islands, we gaze enviously across the pond at the wondrous and varied car shows available, so it seems, on a daily basis, across all regions of the USA. To us, the likes of Wayne Carini and Chip Foose are simply mythical figures to be glimpsed occasionally on a digital TV channel. From time to time though, the sun does put in an appearance on the British Isles and we are always slightly surprised when it especially does so at our greatest annual car show, the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Peaks of Performance

Every year around this time, many thousands of car enthusiasts descend upon legendary Goodwood in West Sussex for the Festival of Speed. This hardy annual never fails to disappoint the fans with an exciting concoction of exotic supercars, historic racing machines, the latest crop of regular road and concept cars, and much more besides. Even former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone showed up to surprisingly popular acclaim.

The theme for the 2017 Festival of Speed was “Peaks of Performance – Motorsport’s Game-Changers.” As the years pass, the organizers try to find a new way of exploring the thrilling past, present, and future of the automotive scene. In many ways this year was just the same as it always was, but they do try and put a fresh slant on the proceedings. It always seems to work. We auto fans just can’t get enough.

Audi R8 V10 plus Coupe.

Jaguar Project 8 Dream Car

Of particular interest this time, manufacturers showed racing and road-going machines that were faster than ever before, like the BAC Mono and the glorious Project 8 Jaguar. Making its global dynamic debut among the most powerful and extreme performance cars in the world at the Goodwood show, the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8 claimed the hotly-contested Michelin Supercar Paddock Showstopper Trophy – just four days after the jaw-dropping car was officially unveiled.

As the only four-door car in the Michelin Supercar Run, the Jaguar faced formidable competition in the power-packed paddock, but voters hosted by Michelin singled out the Project 8 as one of the six most popular cars of the weekend, qualifying it for the overall Showstopper Final on the last day of the show.

The Project 8 exclusively features the most highly tuned version of Jaguar Land Rover’s five-liter Supercharged V8 petrol powertrain. The 592 bhp (600PS) engine has a Titanium Variable Active Exhaust and is complemented by Jaguar’s all-wheel drive system. Additionally, this beast features motorsport-derived aerodynamics and carbon fiber panels to deliver a 200 mph top speed and a 0-60 time of a scant 3.3 seconds, making Project 8 the fastest accelerating Jaguar yet.

FOS2 Jaguar Project 8
Jaguar XE SV Project 8.

Limited Edition

Crucially, and you’ll have to take this writer’s word for it at least until you can find a YouTube video, it sounds as aggressive as you would expect; the growling V8 accompanied by the glorious old-school whine of a huge supercharger. Outstanding aural delights!

To ensure exclusivity, no more than 300 examples of the Project 8 will be hand-built at SVO’s (Special Vehicle Operations) Technical Center in Coventry and priced from £149,995 in the UK. If you want one (and you really do), you’ll need to move fast because this magnificent motor won’t be available for long.

All You Desire

Red cars from Ferrari ran amok to celebrate the 70th birthday of the marque. All the famous sports cars and racers that Goodwood usually commands were there, but this time a display of V12-engined F1 cars created an operatic sound all their own. Their extraordinary exhaust notes are so different from today’s race cars that sound like digital lawn mowers in comparison.

The new and blisteringly quick track-only Aston Martin Vantage AMR Pro made history at the Festival of Speed when it became the first vehicle to tackle the legendary hill climb using re-refined engine oil. Recycled or re-refined motor oil is nothing new, of course, but this is different. This landmark was made possible by a new active oil management system from Nexcel, part of the Castrol Group. Oil and filter change in ninety seconds anyone?

BAC Mono.

Memorable Conclusions

As ever, the Goodwood Festival of Speed did not disappoint the throngs who braved the inevitable long and tiresome car park queues to get in. Sports cars like the BAC Mono (which won its class), Audi R8, and the exquisite French Alpine were all at full chat on the track. With the hill climb and rally exhibitions, the supercars, and the also-rans; all the sights and sounds of the vibrant world of cars coupled with the roar of the engines and the smell of the crowd, once again, by doing the same thing brilliantly well, the show did not disappoint. With tired legs and weary ears, the multitudes went home happy.

Geoff Maxted is a motoring writer, photographer, and author of our Letter From The UK series. Follow his work on Twitter: @DriveWrite