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Brabham BT62

Flat-out in the new Brabham BT62 hypercar – first passenger ride

Brabham BT62

The last racing car to compete wearing the Brabham name was the BT60 in 1991. The last Brabham win was in 1985 at Paul Ricard, with Nelson Piquet at the wheel of the BMW-powered Brabham BT54. The first and last F1 world championship won in a car bearing the driver’s name was in 1966, with Sir Jack Brabham at the wheel of his Brabham-Repco BT19.

For a name so prominent throughout Formula 1’s golden years, and so dominant for long stretches within, Brabham has lain fallow for far too long.

David Brabham, son of Sir Jack and a proven top-class racer in his own right, has been of that opinion for many years. So, after his Le Mans win in 2009, he set about the difficult task of building a new car. Nine years on, David finds himself on the start line on the hill at 2018’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

More than a tonne of downforce

Brabham BT62

In the shadow of 1,200kg of downforce’s-worth of enormous rear wing, ‘Brabham’ is proudly splayed across the centre of its rump between distinctive LED light strips, above the exhausts and a gargantuan diffuser. The dream is alive, the Brabham BT62 is ready and we called shotgun for its first properly quick run.

Not before giving it a push up to the start line, mind. David was keen to stress that the BT62 was full race-spec. That means it’s most comfortable revving hard and going fast, not necessarily trundling up a West Sussex driveway in the most expensive traffic jam in the world. Especially given it was due to make eight runs that day, with more of the same for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Still, a bit of hard labour was no price at all for what was a curious insight into the Brabham BT62 experience. The view through the slashes in the front haunches to the racing wets as we pushed against the A-pillar, a first glimpse into the cabin through the tiny door aperture – all aspects of the initial meet-and-greet experience that Brabham’s customers could well have before their first run on-track.

The car’s in position and we clamber aboard, contorting into shapes we probably ought to have stretched for first. As we flop into the purposeful race seat and get buckled in, a surprisingly relaxed-looking David Brabham greets us. Full-face lid on with the visor up a shade, there’s still no mistaking him for anyone else. A quick natter before he stokes the 5.4-litre 710hp V8 into life, we just had to ask how it felt to be in a new Brabham, ready to run at FOS. “It’s an incredible feeling to be here showing it off at Goodwood. It’s been such a journey, from getting the name back to bringing this car to life,” says David.

A raucous assault

Brabham BT62

Introductory formalities out of the way and, with the start-line beckoning, David pushes the button. As displays flash into life, the engine is a raucous assault on the car and its occupants, even at start-up and idle.

David eases up on the clutch from the start, but from then on it’s flat-out, with the nose tucking neatly into the first corner, kicking up a token puff of dust. It’s utterly welded to the tarmac, with the V8 howling as David clatters through the straight-cut gears. The central sculpture appears and disappears from view, as if the world were in fast-forward. The adoring crowds are an anonymous blur – surely taken aback by a lot more noise than an average supercar emits.

Under the bridge and towards the hump before Molecomb, the car brakes straight and true without so much as a twitch of the rear chasing us round. Back on the power and it’s up through the gears towards the flint wall. The incline does nothing to steady the rate of acceleration – the engine is just so strong.

With less than 1,000kg to shift, it’s no surprise. As we howl past the flint wall it occurs to us how this noise is what’s been sorely missing from most GT grids, and indeed most supercars of late. It’s just such a raw thing, with vicious purpose enough to make any twin-turbo McLaren fade into the background. An authentic representation of what a de-restricted GT racer could truly be.

Barrelling up the long sweeper towards the finish, the speed really builds with the V8 bellowing through the trees. As we emerge from the forest into the top paddock, the rest of the world’s mightiest supercars sit dormant after full-on runs. We pull up, the car shuts off and we take a breath. David is quiet but visibly excited. This is a huge moment for him and his family name. Seasoned drivers bound over to the Anglo-Australian racer to congratulate David on the car, ask him how it was and have a poke around. Cue a lengthy conversation about the virtues of running wets versus slicks on the FOS hill…

Heading for Le Mans

Brabham BT62

They disperse and there’s a moment of calm. We ask what cars inspired the Brabham driving experience. “One car I remember that was great to drive was the Aston Martin GT1 car – the DBR9. In terms of performance, balance and feel, we wanted this to be somewhere between that and a P2 car,” said Brabham.

On the future of the marque, David was positive, with an excellent response to BT62 since its May reveal.

“The response has been phenomenal. We only came to market in May when we revealed the car and we have several letters of intent. It’s now that we’re getting through them and getting orders booked in.

“We’ve got a product plan and we want to go racing, because that’s what Brabham is all about. Realistically we could be at Le Mans in 2021, maybe 2020. I’d love to see a Brabham hurtling down the Mulsanne. It would be incredible to see a Brabham win in a Brabham car once again.”

He’s not shy about his ambitions, then, with the “ultimate goal” being an all-star car and driver win at Le Sarthe to match Black Jack’s unique F1 championship achievement in 1966. The road cars are along the path that David hopes will lead to that. Sell on Friday, race on Sunday…

The car certainly has potential. So many marques come and go – few, admittedly, with a name as steeped in history as Brabham – but fall short, usually financially, before a car is even ready to demonstrate.

That the BT62 is in this almost-fully-developed state, with hungry customers waving cheques, bodes well for Brabham Automotive. This is an idea that’s been rattling around in David Brabham’s head for the better part of 15 years – time enough to really nail down what he wants and how to get it.

The BT62 delivers the raw racing car experience, the heritage and the passion that few emerging names can. We’re confident Brabham will go on to deliver on road and track in years to come.

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The Aston Martin V8 Cygnet is the world’s craziest hot hatch

We all love a good hot hatch. The market’s gone crazy for them in recent years with newcomers like Hyundai joining new generations of old-guard heroes like the Ford Focus RS and Renaultsport Megane.

The segment is also broader than ever, ranging from the little 115hp Volkswagen Up GTI to the rip-snorting 400hp Audi RS3. Now, it’s Aston Martin’s turn to join the party.

We say ‘join’. We strongly suspect that this one-off Cygnet fitted with the 430hp V8 from a Vantage S won’t be making it to series production any time soon, though it should be taking to the Hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed starting today.

“The V8 Cygnet shows the fun side of both Aston Martin and its customers. It is also a fine example of the engineering talent within the company as it’s no small achievement to fit the Vantage’s V8 engine so harmoniously into the Cygnet’s compact body” said Aston Martin Vice President & Special Operations Officer, David King.

Shoehorning a 4.7-litre V8 into the tiny Toyota IQ-based Cygnet sounds like a gloriously ridiculous mix of fun and an engineering challenge. This kart-like wee beastie was, believe it or not, a customer commission, created by Aston Martin’s Q Commission service.

Weighing 1,375kg all fuelled up, the V8 Cygnet boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 317hp per tonne. It’ll get to 60mph in a brisk 4.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 170mph. Aston feels the need to note that the V8 is a full 60mph quicker than the regular Cygnet.

What else have they stuffed in the V8 Cygnet?

The seven-speed Sportshift II transmission comes with the engine from the Vantage S, putting power to the rear wheels (yes, really). Also making the swap is most of the braking system, suspension and subframes. New additions are 380mm and 330mm discs front and rear, a roll cage and a custom fabricated front bulkhead and transmission tunnel.

The spectacularly ridiculous arches are carbon composite, with the body covered in ‘Buckinghamshire Green’ paint. A stately colour for something that wouldn’t look out of place parked on the starting grid in Super Mario Kart.

Inside, it’s very competition spec, with Recaro seats, full four-point harnesses, a racing wheel and a bespoke carbon dashboard. Being an Aston Martin, there has to be a touch of luxury at least. As such air conditioning and USB connectivity are retained.

Aston goes on to suggest that the original Cygnet “looks set to become a future classic” as prices begin to rise on the secondhand market. For its latest V8-engined creation, Aston claim “classic status is already almost assured”. Volkswagen Golf W12, you have a new challenger for the title of the world’s craziest hot hatch.

Be sure to catch what must be Aston’s maddest creation scrabbling its way up the Hill at FOS, where it will no doubt travel at speeds and make noises hitherto unknown to any Aston Martin Cygnet owner.

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Volkswagen pauses Up GTI ordering due to high demand

Six reasons why the Apollo IE is the supercar not to miss at Goodwood FOS

Croatia in cars: from V8 coaches to electric hypercars

Apollo IE

6 reasons why the Apollo IE is the supercar not to miss at Goodwood FOS

Apollo IE

The coolest new supercar for a very long time – the Apollo Intensa Emozione (IE) – will be stretching its carbon-clad V12 legs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. Here are a few reasons why you really shouldn’t miss it.

That V12 music

You’ll know a bit about the Apollo IE by now. You’ll be familiar with the outrageous looks. The reason you need to see it in action – and why Apollo saw fit to parade it around Geneva instead of relegating it to a show stand – is the noise.

A 780hp V12 paired with an aggressive sequential gearbox sounds like a tasty concoction on paper. The reality is something akin to a brass band composed of Norse gods playing a soundtrack to the end of the world. It’s as otherworldly as the styling – particularly that mad exhaust piece – would suggest. It’ll rattle the cascading windows and bone china crockery of Goodwood House.

Apollo IE

Styling by visitors from another world

We touched on this above but it really is a visual assault. Actually, assault sounds too violent given the extravagance doesn’t necessarily deny it prettiness.

The proportions are correct. The flowing air-carved carbon seems to look that way by delicate and intelligent design rather than cold hard physics in a wind-tunnel. The flourishing lights and that crazy exhaust compliment what is a nuanced piece of automotive architecture, not necessarily the hatchet-attack you might assume from pictures or from afar. We’re in no doubt the car-hungry FOS crowds will be transfixed.

Apollo IE

Apollo is a company of passionate car guys

We had a chat with the guys from Apollo and they’re passionate about cars. They’re car guys with enough disposable to build their own – handy as they’ll allegedly be losing money on each of the ten to be produced. It’s sold out if you were wondering…

Fond memories of GT1 and worries about a silent, electrified, numb, supercar-less future inspired them to take action. The IE is the result and the thing is so obviously the physical manifestation of a genuine passion. Automotive passion is central to the Festival of Speed, isn’t it?

It’s inspired by a GT1 legend

Ryan from Apollo, while talking to us at a pre-FOS event at Joe Macari, spoke of missing the days of GT1. When top-level racing cars were objects of desire as well as instruments of performance and could be obtained for road use. He cited the CLK GTR as the dream car of his younger days.

Okay, the car is inspired by the CLK GTR. What’s more, HWA, the company Apollo have on board for the development and engineering of the car, is the same one that delivered the CLK GTR back in the mid-90s. GT1 racing prowess woven into the car intended to be a tribute to the era. It’ll be at home at Goodwood surrounded by the cars that inspired its creators.

It’s the antidote to hybrids, turbos and EVs

We welcome a turbocharged, hybridised, even electrified future for the automobile. In part, at least. But that doesn’t mean the thought of machines like the McLaren F1 and Pagani Zonda becoming extinct doesn’t make us sad.

An automotive industry devoid of free-breathing V12 money-no-object existence for existence’s sake supercars sounds like a colder one to us, as it does to Apollo. The IE is the proposed remedy: a breath of fresh air in the new-car batches on the Hill.

Apollo IE

It’s designed to save the supercar

Apollo told us one of the IE’s most important jobs is to help forge the next generation of car enthusiasts. It’s the car designed for a 10-year-old’s bedroom wall. It has to drop the jaws of the younger generation and get them hooked on cars. We can’t think of a nobler automotive cause. Expect young ones up and down the FOS bales to be slack-jawed, pestering their parents to buy one when their crossover gives up the ghost.

All of the above makes the IE a bit of a new-generation hero. Catch it running in the supercar batch at the Festival of Speed this weekend.

Apollo IE: quick look at an outrageous machine

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Tesla FOS

Tesla Model 3 to make its European debut at Goodwood FOS

Tesla FOS

Anyone with a remote interest in cars will have been closely watching the story of Tesla as it has unfolded.

Controversies aside, Tesla and its high-profile boss, Elon Musk, are arguably the most significant market disruptors the automotive industry has seen in recent years. The U.S. firm is among those leading the charge to make cars and the latest technology and connectivity capabilities collide.

Now, Tesla’s most important new model to date, the Model 3, is set to make its European debut at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, long before the right-hand drive UK-spec cars are expected to hit driveways.

As it stands, the Model 3 at Goodwood will be a U.S.-spec car, rather than the one we can expect to start seeing silently traversing the roads of Britain around 2020.

Tesla arguably fast-tracked the EV revolution when it brought the Model S to market a few years back. Here was a good looking, cool and, most importantly, viable electric car. Promise of an expansive charging network, along with the fact that it was a genuinely impressive car, made it popular. But the Model S isn’t what you’d call cheap.

Tesla

The significance of the Model 3 is its primary task: putting the Tesla phenomenon within reach of a much larger consumer audience. It’s expected to cost from around £30,000 (after incentives), or around half the price of the cheapest Model S and be good for a range of between 220 and 310 miles, depending on spec.

The car’s first appearance on European soil is an important occasion, then, especially as this comes not long after the factory claimed to hit its 5,000 cars per week production target.

We wonder how many of the Goodwood visitors taking a close look at the Model 3 will have a purchase in mind. How many would-be BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 or Mercedes C-Class buyers are likely to be swayed to add to the circa-500,000 Model 3 orders rumoured to have been received by Tesla?

These are questions that have no doubt been asked and over-analysed by supremo Elon Musk. We look forward to getting a closer look for ourselves.

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Michelin Showstopper Trophy

How we helped decide the most showstopping supercar of 2016

Michelin Showstopper TrophyThe Goodwood Festival of Speed is, by its very nature, a mecca for supercar fans. It’s more noteworthy if you spot a machine that isn’t a supercar; they pack out Lord March’s garden for four days a year in all shapes, sizes, ages and provenances.

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016

The Michelin Supercar Paddock is a particular hotspot for supercar lovers. This is where car manufactures show off their latest and most super supercars. Like some sort of decadent urban sprawl, it grows every year. And the 2016 FOS Supercar Paddock was no exception.

But Michelin didn’t want to just show them all off. It wanted to create a bit of competition among all the supercars. Enter, for the first time, the new Michelin Showstopper Trophy, celebrating the best of all the supercars on show.

The first bit is simple: each day, a crowd ‘cheerometer’ picks out the best car of the day across Goodwood’s three days. Those who can’t visit can vote via Facebook. This creates a shortlist of six cars, which is presented to six judges who, on the Sunday afternoon of the FOS, have to decide the overall Showstopper winner.

I was one of those judges. And so, onto the cars.

Car 1: Koenigsegg One:1

Koenigsegg One1

First up was the ridiculous Koenigsegg One:1. That’s one horsepower for every kilogram of weight. It has a megawatt of power in total and only six were built and sold to customers (this car, the seventh, is Koenigsegg’s own development car). Rare as hen’s teeth isn’t the half of it.

Total power is 1,361hp and the ultra-mean styling leaves you in no doubt this thing is viciously, wickedly fast. It’s an exciting car to look at, given its function-over-form visuals, and the sheer fact it’s so rare and powerful adds serious kudos.

But is it a true beauty that will stop people in their tracks and make them gawp? Does it pack the venomous exhaust note that will rattle windows three streets away? Do enough people know what it is to be sufficiently wowed by it? With these questions in mind, it was onto the next car.

Car 2: Singer Porsche 911 recreation

Singer Recreation

A bigger contrast between the so-pretty Singer and the hard-nosed Koenigsegg is hard to imagine. This immaculate car – bought by a customer in Newcastle, and accordingly so named – certainly had people swooning as it sauntered onto stage.

It’s a 4.0-litre car, with around 400hp, which will ensure this lightweight original 911 is not short on performance (we’d be happy with a flat-six half the size). Singer’s also developed the chassis to cope – you can tell that by the stance and attitude it has.

But while everyone loves it, this is perhaps not a conventional show-stopping supercar. It’s pretty and gorgeous, but something you gently fall in love with rather than instantly and passionately lust after. Which takes us onto the next contender.

Car 3: Ferrari 458 MM Speciale

Ferrari 458 MM Speciale

This Ferrari 458 Speciale is a one-off. Dubbed MM, it’s been built for a customer who felt the mighty Speciale wasn’t quiet special enough for him. So he invested an absolute fortune in commissioning Ferrari to create his own bespoke edition.

If I was to tell you this car has unique alloy wheels, whose homologation the customer had to finance and likely cost him a cool half-a-million quid for the privilege, you’ll have an idea of just how much of a one-off this car is. Certainly, it’s money-no-object, like all the best showstopping supercars.

Many in the crowd fell in love with it. Thing is, this is one owner’s personal car, rather than a ‘series’ model. It’s hard to dream enthusiastically about something that you literally wouldn’t be able to buy even if your lottery numbers did come up. The best showstoppers, see, are always seeded with a trace of ‘what if’, no matter now implausible…

Car 4: Noble M600 Speedster

Noble M600 Speedster

The Noble M600 made a welcome entrance onto the stage. Noble has been building the M600 for the past few years, of course, but hasn’t made a big fuss up to now. Rather, it’s been concentrating on getting production methods spot-on and honing the Noble into a viable ‘British Ferrari 488’.

The Leicestershire firm’s now happy with where it’s at, so took the opportunity at Goodwood FOS 2016 of launching a new iteration, the M600 Speedster. Its central open roof section helped show off a very elegant colour combination and this package certainly seemed to impress the crowd.

There might have been a bit of post-Brexit patriotism in this, mind. Can the familiar Noble M600 still genuinely stop the show as a supercar standout? As the judges mused, the next car rolled up…

Car 5: Mercedes-AMG GT R

Mercedes-AMG GT R

We say rolled up. Rather, roared up, loudly and ground-rumblingly. The GT-R revealed by Lewis Hamilton on the Friday of Goodwood FOS 2016 is extraordinarily vocal. And if you somehow miss the noise, you can’t fail to miss the colour. Lurid matte metallic green of the most nuclear shade; be in no doubt, this is a bona fide showstopper contender.

It produces 585hp and will do well over 200mph, but the really clever stuff is beneath the surface. Developed to monster the Nürburgring (hence the colour…), it has exotic tech and developments aplenty to make it a likely driver’s dream.

Things were close. This amazing Mercedes-AMG seemed to have the crowds whipped up and ready to cheer. There was just one more car to come onto stage for the judges to see and the crowd to drool over (OK, and for the judges to drool over).

Car 6: Aston Martin Vulcan

Aston Martin Vulcan

And there it was, the monstrous limited-to-24, track-only Aston Martin Vulcan. All 800hp of seemingly unrestricted V12, humungous width and the sort of aero overload you only normally see on a World Endurance Championship sportscar racer. It looked absolutely brilliant.

And it sounded out of this world. Even with restrictions in place, the Vulcan arks out more than 100dB of exhaust noise. Take them all out and it’s too loud for almost every major racetrack in the country. The test driver revved it as it came onto stage: the crowd was deafened and small boys jumped with joy. Or shock. Or both.

The fact it’s a track-only supercar had some of the judges raising a slight eyebrow. Others wondered about the multi-million-pound price, when cars such as the Singer cost so much less. While bold beyond belief, it’s also not a supercar beauty like the Ferrari. But as the judges cast their votes, the crowd was in no doubt which was the favourite.

The showstopper supercar winner

Michelin Showstopper Trophy

When the votes were totted up, it turned out we had a three-way tie. The Ferrari, Koenigsegg and Aston Martin had all scored two votes apiece (my vote went, of course, for the Vulcan).

This was a bit awkward. Would we have to do another round? Then the man from Michelin pointed out the rules of the new Showstopper Trophy. In the case of a tie, the Facebook vote would decide things. And which car had racked up more votes than all the others put together? It could only be one car…

And that’s how the Aston Martin Vulcan claimed the inaugural Michelin Showstopper Trophy at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016.

Ferrari California Full Throttle

Watch Ferrari deliver a Full Throttle breakfast to Goodwood’s Lord March

Ferrari California Full ThrottleThe 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed theme is ‘Full Throttle: the endless pursuit of power’. And what better way to publicise that than with a breakfast briefing by Lord March?

With the help of Ferrari and a few sets of tyres, that’s exactly what Goodwood has done in a new video that will hopefully plant the theme firmly in the minds of petrolheads.

Because instead of choosing a full English breakfast, Lord March goes full throttle – and the Ferrari California is kicked into action…

Ferrari Full Throttle Goodwood

Behind the wheel is Mauro Calo, who has a Guinness World Record for drifting to his name. With the keys to the Goodwood Estate, the video shows him tearing around Lord March’s empire collecting all the ingredients of a full throttle breakfast.

Of course, it’s all in jest, but it’s a nice way to underline the theme of this year’s FoS, with just a few weeks to go before the spectacle kicks off with Thursday’s Moving Motor Show.

Ferrari will naturally be there, showing off the new California T Handling Speciale along with the 488 Spider, F12tdf, 458 MM Speciale, 488 GT3 plus the odd F1 car (and F1 star) for good measure.

Here’s hoping some of the 250,000 expected visitors to the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed get to sample a full throttle breakfast of their own before the full throttle action kicks off.

Video: watch Ferrari deliver a full throttle breakfast to Lord March

Ferrari California Full Throttle

Watch Ferrari deliver a Full Throttle breakfast to Goodwood's Lord March

Ferrari California Full ThrottleThe 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed theme is ‘Full Throttle: the endless pursuit of power’. And what better way to publicise that than with a breakfast briefing by Lord March?

With the help of Ferrari and a few sets of tyres, that’s exactly what Goodwood has done in a new video that will hopefully plant the theme firmly in the minds of petrolheads.

Because instead of choosing a full English breakfast, Lord March goes full throttle – and the Ferrari California is kicked into action…

Ferrari Full Throttle Goodwood

Behind the wheel is Mauro Calo, who has a Guinness World Record for drifting to his name. With the keys to the Goodwood Estate, the video shows him tearing around Lord March’s empire collecting all the ingredients of a full throttle breakfast.

Of course, it’s all in jest, but it’s a nice way to underline the theme of this year’s FoS, with just a few weeks to go before the spectacle kicks off with Thursday’s Moving Motor Show.

Ferrari will naturally be there, showing off the new California T Handling Speciale along with the 488 Spider, F12tdf, 458 MM Speciale, 488 GT3 plus the odd F1 car (and F1 star) for good measure.

Here’s hoping some of the 250,000 expected visitors to the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed get to sample a full throttle breakfast of their own before the full throttle action kicks off.

Video: watch Ferrari deliver a full throttle breakfast to Lord March

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015 preview: in pictures

Goodwood FoS 2015 previewIt’s billed as the largest motoring garden party in the world and every year thousands of petrolheads from across the world converge on the Sussex countryside to attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever, with a host of UK debuts and a vast array of rare and formidable racing cars.

Sit back as we preview the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

This year’s theme: Flat-Out and Fearless – Racing on the Edge

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

This year, the organisers have chosen a theme of Flat-Out and Fearless – Racing on the Edge, which is said to typify some of the most spectacular drivers and moments from motorsport past and present. The battles between Senna and Prost, the wild and bonkers Group B rally drivers or Jenson Button defying the odds to win the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011. These are just three examples of the theme, which will be central to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

All-new category: Fearless but Flat-Broke

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Such high-profile success stories will live long in the memory, but what about motorsport’s nearly men? The drivers who put everything into reaching Formula 1, but never quite achieved the success they craved? Well this year, the Goodwood Festival of Speed will celebrate these individuals with a new category – Fearless but Flat-Broke – Racing on the Edge. Cars appearing on the hillclimb will include the March 2-4-0 (pictured here), a Tecno E371, an Amon AF101, a pair of Lec CRP1s and a host of other vehicles. It promises to be quite a display.

Goodwood Moving Motor Show

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

The Moving Motor Show returns once again and takes place on the 25 June. Visitors will have the opportunity to race – er… we mean, drive – up the hillclimb past Goodwood House in a selection of new cars. It’s the closest thing Britain has to an annual motor show and it offers something different to the usual static displays. The Festival of Speed kicks off on the 26 June, running through to the 28 June.

Ken Block to drive the all-new Ford Focus RS

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

YouTube and Gymkhana legend Ken Block is returning to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the first time since 2011. Highlights of his appearance include a drive in the all-new Ford Focus RS – a car making its UK debut at Goodwood – along with his heavily-modified 1965 Ford Mustang, which features four-wheel drive and an 845bhp V8 engine.

Global debut of the Bienville Legacy motorcycle

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

A debut of a different kind here. It’s called the Bienville Legacy and it’s one of the most powerful four-cylinder production motorcycles ever created. The US-built motorcycle has been in development for over three years and features a patented suspension leveraging one composite leaf-spring with the engine mounted at its centre. Carbon-composite brakes allow for rake and trail adjustment for the first time on a production motorcycle. The 1,650cc V4 engine will be supercharged to produce up to 300hp.

Another all-new category: Catch my Drift?

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Drifting is an incredibly popular form of motorsport across the world, so it’s no surprise to see the Goodwood Festival of Speed dedicating a special category to the discipline. Drivers will include ‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett, Ken Block, James Deane, Piotr Wiececk, Joachim Waargaard and Kuba Przygonski. Expect lots of sideways action and an awful lot of tyre smoke.

Michelin Supercar Run

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

The Michelin Supercar Run is one of the Festival of Speed’s most popular spectacles and this year’s promises to be the best yet. Last year, Jann Mardenborough set a new supercar record for the hillclimb, beating a number of ex-Formula 1 drivers in the process. Cars taking part this year include the McLaren P1 GTR, the Koenigsegg Regera, the SCG 003 and a plethora of other big names. The supercars will run every day, with the final shootout taking place on the Sunday.

GAS Arena will be more action-packed than ever before

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Fans of two-wheeled machinery shouldn’t feel left out, because Goodwood is promising the ‘largest-ever list of international aces’ to appear in the Goodwood Action Sports (GAS) Arena. Some of the biggest names in freestyle motocross, BMW dirt, trials and mountain bikes will take to the arena. Dougie Lampkin will also be in attendance once again.

Mazda 787B Le Mans car

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Now this really is a treat. Cast your mind back to 1991 and the Le Mans 24 Hours race. No doubt you’ll remember the legendary rotary-engined Mazda 787B Group C car, complete with vivid orange and green livery. By focusing on reliability, Mazda achieved greatness by taking the lead in the 22nd hour, just as others were suffering with terminal problems. To-date, it’s the only Japanese car to conquer Le Mans and it’ll be the headline act of Mazda’s display at this year’s Festival.

Aston Martin Vantage GT12

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Making its moving debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed will be the Aston Vantage GT12. The most extreme Vantage features a motorsport-derived chassis, aerodynamics and handling package and – in the words of Aston Martin – ‘bridges the gap between road and race track driving.’ With production limited to 100 cars, it’s no surprise to see the £250,000 supercar has already sold out. So you can leave your chequebook at home.

Renault Clio Renaultsport 220 Trophy: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Slightly more affordable – and indeed, attainable – is the new Clio Renaultsport 220 Trophy. The hot hatch will make its UK debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Renault has recently announced it will cost £21,870. The 220hp Clio benefits from a reworked engine, changes to the steering and suspension and what we hope is an improved transmission. You can order the Clio now and expect to take delivery in August.

McLaren 570S Coupe

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

McLaren is showcasing its three-tier model range at Goodwood, with the 570S Coupe making its global dynamic debut on the famous hillclimb as part of the Supercar Run. It’ll be joined by the P1 GTR and 650S Le Mans, both of which are rarely seen in public. The McLaren 570S Coupe made its debut at the New York Auto Show, earlier this year, and is fitted with a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine developing 570hp.

Largest-ever display of Ferraris

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Ferrari is promising its ‘greatest ever display’ at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed with no fewer than 10 classic cars, ranging from a 1953 250MM to a 1990 641. These are in addition to the dynamic debut of the 488 GTB as well as the FXX-X, both of which will tackle the famous hillclimb. Other Ferraris set to take part in the Michelin Supercar Run include a California T, F12berlinetta, La Ferrari and the F12 TRS. And if that’s not enough, Ferrari’s Corse Clienti division will be showcasing a 599 XX, while a 458 Challenge will participate in the hillclimb. Phew, got that?

Lexus GS F: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

The Lexus GS F will be driven in public for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with Mike Conway at the wheel. The appearance at Goodwood follows the global debut for the V8-engined GS F at this year’s Detroit Motor Show and a production version is due to be announced later in the year.

Peugeot 308 R Hybrid: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Peugeot has been known to embrace the Goodwood Festival of Speed and this year is no different. Making its European debut will be the 500hp 308 R HYbrid, which will be joined by the 308 GT and 308 GT Line, with its 3-cylinder petrol engine. Other Peugeots of note include the all-conquering 205 T16, the 208 WRX rally car and the Peugeot Vision GT from Gran Turismo 6. Peugeot is also promising to launch a new secret model, which we reckon will be a new 308 GTI. If so, we can hardly wait.

MINI John Cooper Works: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed are sure to flock to the new MINI John Cooper Works. The 2.0-litre TwinPower engine delivers 231hp, making it the most powerful production MINI ever made. Top speed is a rather rapid 153mph and – when fitted with the optional Steptronic transmission – it’ll accelerate to 62mph in 6.1 seconds. Prices start at £23,050.

Mazda MX-5: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

If the appearance of the 787B Le Mans car isn’t enough for you, Mazda is also giving a UK debut to the new MX-5. Priced from £18,495, the new MX-5 is available with either a 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre engine. Anyone who pre-orders a new Mazda MX-5 can win the chance to test the all-new car on the Goodwood Racing Circuit.

Seat Ibiza: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

The SEAT Ibiza may not be the most exciting new car to be making its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but it’s a proper real-world motor. It’s also one of the most successful cars in the world. In addition to the new Ibiza, SEAT will also be showcasing the Leon ST Cupra 280 and Leon X-Perience jacked-up estate car.

Bentley Continental GT Speed

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Bentley is showcasing not one, but two record-breaking cars at this year’s Festival. First up is the Bentley Continental GT, which – following Idris Elba’s high-speed run at Pendine Sands – broke the historic ‘Flying Mile’ UK land speed record set by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1927. The GT Speed should find the going less sandy when it tackles the hillclimb at Goodwood.

Bentley Boy Blue Train race

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

It’s the 85th anniversary of the famous Bentley Boy Blue Train race in 2015 and to commemorate the achievement, Bentley will be sending the actual car up the 1.16-mile hillclimb. It was in 1930 when Captain Woolf Barnato – the then chairman of Bentley – accepted a wager that he could race from Cannes to London before the Calais-Mediterranée Express (Blue Train) could get from Cannes to Calais. Naturally, the car won.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

From a distinctly British wager to an all-American supercar – the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will make its UK debut at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The ‘Vette will be tackling the hillclimb as part of the Michelin Supercar Run, while Chevrolet will be serving refreshments in the Chevrolet Cafe, where you can relax surrounded by Corvettes of the past and present.

Toyota overload

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Toyota is promising another exceptional display of race, rally and road cars at this year’s Festival, including the TS040 Hybrid car, fresh from the Le Mans 24 Hours race. Spectators on the hillclimb route will see three NASCAR Camry race cars, Mike Skinner’s Tacoma and Rod Millen’s Pikes Peak Celica. Further highlights include a display of GT86 cars, each finished in retro racing livery and the FT-1 Concept.

Citroen and DS

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

For many people, this will be the first opportunity to see the DS range following the brand’s split from Citroen. Look out for the new DS 5, now without Citroen badges. Meanwhile, Citroen has confirmed that Kris Meeke will be at Goodwood in his DS 3 WRC, while the Citroen C4 Cactus and C1 Airscape will be venturing up the hill as part of the Moving Motor Show. Oh, and if you enjoyed the Airbump trampolines in 2014, they’ll be bouncing back again.

Mazda CX-3: UK debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Fresh from its UK press launch, the all-new Mazda CX-3 crossover will be making its UK debut at Goodwood. Prices start at £17,595 and, while it’s hardly cheap, we rather like the way it blends a premium feel with sporty dynamics. Check it out for yourself at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Honda in full

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

Honda is claiming the Festival of Speed will be the first time a UK audience has seen the 2015 Honda line up in full. On display will be the new Civic, CR-V, Jazz, HR-V, Civic Type-R and NSX. According to Honda, ‘this is the moment Honda UK has been waiting for the last five years.’ Check out the entire range at Goodwood.

Red Arrows and Typhoon display

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

The Red Arrows and the Eurofighter Typhoon Display Team will be putting on a spectacular air display at this year’s Festival of Speed. Visitors will be invited to look to the skies on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Fiat S76 to make rare public run

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

In 1911, the Fiat S76 was the unofficial fastest car in the world, but it hasn’t completed a public run in over 100 years. That’s about to change at Goodwood, where the 28-litre Fiat will take part in a special category celebrating ‘earth-shattering Edwardian leviathans.’ The Fiat achieved 135mph on a kilometre stretch at Oostende, Belgium, only to be denied a record as it was unable to complete a return leg within an hour.

Valentino Rossi to make Goodwood debut

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

You have to ask, why has it taken so long for MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi to make an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed? Fear not, MotoGP fans, because the legendary rider will be at Goodwood as part of the 60th anniversary of the Yamaha Motor Company.

Usual favourites at the Festival of Speed

Goodwood FoS 2015 preview

The 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed will also host the Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance – now in its 20th year. There will also be the annual Bonhams sale of Collector’s Motor Cars and Automobilia on the 26 June, while Mazda will be honoured in the form of the central feature outside Goodwood House. It promises to be a vintage year for the Festival of Speed and MSN will be there to bring you the highlights.