Five performance cars that shone at Goodwood’s festival of speed

About 600 classic and cutting-edge vehicles were on display at the annual UK event. Some of the attention-grabbing beauties would also be a welcome sight in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 July, 2016, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 July, 2016, 9:17pm

The Goodwood Festival of Speed began in 1993 as a local, British hill climb for racers and their classics. It has since grown, like the Hong Kong Sevens, into an international social event featuring cars and bikes of all ages, with many new performance vehicles being revealed for the first time. About 600 vehicles were displayed at this year’s festival, which took place last weekend in West Sussex, southern England, and several could soon be making an impression in Hong Kong.

In the same week Jaguar Hong Kong unveiled its F-Pace at Ocean Terminal, the Big Cat marque pulled a two-wheeled stunt in the performance SUV at Goodwood, and then went on to launch something else. That was the Jaguar F-type SVR. The supercharged five-litre V8 on 20-inch wheels is the marque’s fastest F-type yet, with 567 horsepower and 700 Newton metres of torque enabling the car to reach 100km/h in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 322km/h. The model’s intelligent driveline dynamics system improves traction and stability. Additionally, its super performance brakes look impressive, with 380mm discs at the front and 376mm versions on the back. Jaguar also offers a lightweight six-speed manual gearbox option as an alternative to its eight-speed Quickshift automatic gearbox, and the marque says the car has a “deeper, more dramatic” exhaust “soundtrack”.

It also launched its Jaguar Co-Pilot Nordschleife programme, which puts Big Cat fans in the passenger seat of a Firesand Orange F-type SVR for 30 minutes on the 20.83km “Green Hell” circuit, in western Germany. “Before each passenger ride begins, all co-pilots are equipped with a race suit and helmet plus head and neck support system to ensure maximum safety out on the track,” Jaguar says. “To capture the memorable experience, on-board cameras are mounted inside the F-type SVR so that passengers can relive the excitement of their adventure”, doing up to 360km/h along the Döttinger Höhe straight in the F-typeE SVR — with a roll cage, Recaro racing seats and race harnesses. The ride is 295 (HK$2,547) per person and can be booked at www.nuerburgring-shop.de.

While Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong showed off the new E-Class in West Kowloon, the marque reaffirmed its speed credentials at Goodwood, with a clutch of historic racers, including a 120hp Mercedes champion of 1906; a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner of 1938; and the F1 W05 Hybrid in which Lewis Hamilton gained his second World Drivers’ Championship in 2014, and the marque’s first Formula One World Constructors’ Championship. Such roots add kudos to the new Mercedes-AMG GT R, Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Edition 1 Coupé, and highlights the cross-border appeal of the 510hp V8 Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet. This turbocharged convertible has a boot of 355 litres (260 litres with the roof open); AMG ride control suspension; and can reach 100km/h in 4.1 seconds via an AMG SpeedShift MCT seven-speed sports transmission. Its engines are assembled by hand in Affalterbach, southern Germany, according to AMG’s “one man - one engine” traditions, but their top speed can be extended by 30km/h to 280km/h with an AMG Driver’s Package.

McLaren delivered its 986hp P1 GTR and several other heritage cars to Goodwood, and also presented its new McLaren 570S Sprint track car. “Built around the carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis shared with all sports series models”, this racer has a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and seven-speed SSG transmission. It has enhanced cooling via a GT3-inspired high-temperature radiator, the highest downforce in the sports series, thanks to a large carbon-fibre fixed rear wing and front dive planes, the marque said. Deliveries will commence in 2017 and pricing starts from £148,000 (HK$1.54 million) excluding works (local market pricing applies), McLaren adds.

The new Abarth 124 Spider delighted Goodwood, and should sell well in Hong Kong — if dealer Swire Motors gets enough of them. The high-performance Fiat marque has a staunch following here, because little Abarths punch above their weight in short bursts and are fun to drive on the city’s smaller roads. The spider has a 170hp, four-cylinder 1.4-litre multiair turbo engine promising 250Nm of torque. It can achieve 100km/h in 6.8 seconds and tops out at 230km/h via a six-speed manual or an automatic Sequenziale Sportivo gearbox.

The word from Sussex is that this 1,060kg, rear-wheel-drive convertible also has a growly engine, and looks as fun to drive on 17-inch wheels as a Mazda MX-5, especially with a paddle shift. Its connectivity looks good, with Bluetooth, a seven-inch colour display, DAB digital tuner, MP3 player, two USB ports, AUX input, and Bluetooth connectivity. The car will be available from 40,000 in Europe.

Goodwood also reminded Hongkongers of the Renault Alpine, which is descended from the 1962 A110, one of the most beautiful cars ever built. The brand brought a 1964 version, a star of the French TV series, The Adventures of Michel Vaillant, and a two-litre turbocharged V6 Alpine A442 B that hit 356km/h on the Mulsanne straight, and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1978 . It also presented the new Renault Alpine Vision, “an exciting foretaste” of the new road-going, two-seater sports car that the French marque will unveil at the end of this year. The model evokes the A110’s curves and the production version is expected to hit 100km/h in under 4.5 seconds. The Dieppe-built fastie is expected to go on sale in Europe next year and could be the car to watch for in Hong Kong in 2018.

Meanwhile, Audi took 30 cars to Goodwood, including a 560hp 1936 Silver Arrows Auto Union Type C driven by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, and five-time Le Mans champion Frank Biela drove the 1990 Audi V8 quattro DTM that won the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in 1990, at its first attempt. The Four Rings also took along its halo 540PS V10 R8 Spyder; the all-new Q2, the most compact Audi SUV to date; the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid; the 900Nm SQ7 TDI; and the A4 allroad quattro.

Other Goodwood launches included the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, whose 2.9-litre turbo petrol V6 engine produces 510hp and 600Nm of torque for 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 307 km/h; Bentley’s Bentayga and GT Flying Spur; and the Ferrari 488 Spider. There was also the new Ford Fiesta ST200 and Porsche 911 R, while BMW celebrated its centenary and its i8 plug-in technology.

Tesla showed its Model X, which it says can hit 100km/h in four seconds, or in 3.4 seconds with “Ludicrous Speed Upgrade”. However, these plug-ins require coal-powered electricity in Hong Kong, and most motorists still prefer cars to go “vroom” rather than “ssssss”.