Brawn to be wild: how American V8s ruled Goodwood

All-American V8s were everywhere at Goodwood Festival of Speed, from supercars to single-seaters – and a special display of NASCAR racers

Ford Mustang GT500If you’re expecting nothing but muscle cars here, you’re in for a shock. When it comes to performance and racing cars, powerful V8s from the Land of the Free make for a popular choice, used in cars of all shapes and sizes at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019. Here are some highlights.

Nissan GT-R

Nissan GT-R

We begin with the beguiling Irish drifter who goes by the name of ‘Baggsy’. While his wheels of choice resemble the very-Japanese Nissan GT-R, he only needs to fire it up for us to realise it’s had a heart transplant. How does 1,200hp of twin-turbo GM LSX V8 sound to you?

Ford Mustang GT500

Ford Mustang GT500

Now here is some authentic American muscle, albeit with a splash of sophistication. Yes, it has over 750hp from a supercharged V8, but the Mustang GT500 also has a twin-clutch gearbox and clever aerodynamics. It’ll still rip fat elevens, though…

Ultima RSUltima RS

Ultima’s new model is a sharp-looking update for 2019. The famous track supercar manufacturer has always been a fan of GM’s LS V8. This new car gets the latest supercharged LT4 lump from the Chevy Corvette Z06.

Penske PC22Penske PC22

What powers this Penske CART couldn’t be further from the LT4, but it’s still a Chevy V8. This turbocharged 2.6-litre unit screams to 14,000rpm. Famous drivers include Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell. Even Ayrton Senna tested one.

Ford Mustang GTS 1Ford Mustang GTS 1

Mustangs are a common sight at the Festival of Speed, but no two are the same. This GTS 1 is a case in point. No, it’s not a NASCAR. It’s an IMSA racer in GTS 1, the successor to the famous GTO class. The road-going variants of the fourth-generation Mustang aren’t best-loved, but this is an absolute weapon.

Jeep Cherokee TrackhawkJeep Cherokee Trackhawk

The Jeep Trackhawk is one of the most powerful SUVs you can buy. This Cherokee truck features the supercharged 710hp V8 from the Challenger Hellcat. Because that’s exactly what a family 4×4 needed.

March-Chevrolet 707March-Chevrolet 707

Can-Am racing no longer exists. The cars were too powerful (a Porsche reached 1,500hp), too fast and it was cancelled over safety fears. This is a March-Chevrolet 707 Can-Am car uses a big-block Chevy V8.

Holden Commodore VL SSHolden Commodore VL SS

The Aussies are well-known V8 lovers and Holdens have been putting Chevy V8s to good work for years. This one is a 1980s Commodore racer and doesn’t it just look the business?

De Tomaso PanteraDe Tomaso Pantera

Back in the supercar-sphere, a timeless model from a name that’s only now coming back from the dead. The De Tomaso Pantera pairs a meaty American V8 with Italian supercar wedge design. It’s still the pinnacle pin-up for some.

McLaren M8DMcLaren M8D

The McLaren M8D is perhaps the most famous of the Chevy V8-powered Can-Am cars, not least because Bruce McLaren sadly died in an M8D just a few miles up the road at the Goodwood motor circuit in 1970.

Buick Regal NASCARBuick Regal NASCAR

It wouldn’t be an American V8 list if there wasn’t some NASCAR goodness, would it? And they don’t get much cooler than an ex-Richard Petty Buick Regal, driven by Petty himself at the Festival of Speed.

Twisted Land Rover DefenderTwisted Land Rover Defender

Another V8 hiding in plain sight is this Defender, modified by Twisted. Under the bonnet, in place of an old Ford Transit diesel engine, is a Chevrolet LS V8.

March-Chevrolet 717March-Chevrolet 717

Because Can-Am. Here’s another big block monster and the successor to the 707. These things never fail to drop jaws when roaring up the hill at Goodwood.

Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCARChevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR

In the NASCAR class, the Monte Carlo comes second only to Petty’s Regal for coolness. It’s an awesome throwback to the 1990s – this car is now 20 years old.

Ford Mustang RTRFord Mustang RTR

We end as we began, with a rip-snorting drift car. The Mustang RTR takes the pony’s V8 to roaring new levels. Vaughn Gittin Jr, your car is absolutely terrifying, but we love it.

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Ethan Jupp
I'm Content Editor at MR. Road trips music and movies are my vices. Perennially stuck between French hot hatches and Australian muscle cars.


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