Past Present and future at the Goodwood FOS 2018

The FOS Future lab (Photo by Marc Waller)

The FOS Future lab (Photo by Marc Waller)As ever this year, The Goodwood festival of Speed is more than just a current Motorsport event, It’s more than a current motorsport event, it manages to be a past, present and future motorsport and technology event.

This year more than ever there are things looking back, at the present and forwards. The Silver Jubilee celebrations are looking back over the past twenty five years of the festival with some of the past favourite cars joining the batches of cars going up the hill. There is also a display of supercars on the cricket pitch with one for each year of the show.

As well as the Porsche and Land Rover 70th anniversaries we mentioned in our first report, there are also several more anniversaries. The legendary Steve McQueen film Bullitt is fifty this year and to celebrate, Ford are making a special edition of their current Mustang to pay Homage to the original car in the film. The car will have a special interior, green paintwork to match the original and increased performance including a power boost of 14hp. It will cost £6000 more than the standard car and it will be on sale for a limited time of just one year. Ford have been displaying an example on the hill alongside ones of the star cars from the original film. It’s the first time any of the film cars have been seen in public for years and it’s currently thought to be the only surviving car from the ones that were built for filming.

It’s also sixty years since legendary racing car constructor Lola was formed. Sadly the company folded a few years ago but that hasn’t stopped Goodwood celebrating with a number of Lolas from down the years going up the hill from some of the early cars such as the Lola T70, through some of the cars of the 70’s such as the Embassy Hill F5000 car and then some more recent cars such as Sebastian Bourdais Indycar although that one is a static display. There are also some of Lola’s project cars for other manufacturers such as the Nissan R90 Group C car.

Yet another seventieth anniversary is for Jaguar’s XK cars and they also celebrate in the best possible way with a selection of Jaguar XK cars on the Hill

Electric cars are a big part of this year’s festival and there are cars which fit into the past, present and future categories. On the Cartier Style Et Luxe Lawn there are some of the earliest electric cars built including ones from the late nineteenth century. Electric cars may just be taking off now but this shows that they certainly aren’t a new invention! As mentioned yesterday, the current Pikes Peak record holder is an electric car, the VW ID R, is on the hill as well as some future production electric cars including the NextEV Nio EP9.

This car has come almost out of nowhere from the relatively unknown Chinese company and it is setting some incredible times on the hill, beating many of the more traditional supercars. It has an incredible 1360bhp and although Chinese, it has a lot of British engineering expertise behind it with a team of NextEV engineers based in Begboke Oxfordshire.

The team also runs a car in Formula E which has provided much of the technology for the supercar. It is not intended for full production with a run of nine cars already shipped to China for use in demo rides at the Shanghai circuit at a cost of $1.2million each! The company intends on transferring the technology to a new electric saloon the ES8 which will be looking to take the battle for electric car sales to Tesla and its Model S.

There is a NextEV Nio stand on the infield where you can see an EP9 and a formula E car up close. Also looking to the future and on the infield is the Festival of Speed future lab where you can see all sorts of new technology including the potential use of robotics on Mars to make an operating base ready for a human mission in the future.

Siemens are looking to the future with the past at this year’s festival as they’ve squeezed their autonomous driving technology into a 1965 Ford Mustang. Developed with Cranfield University, the technology is in its infancy but it’s able to learn with each run and so each time up the hill it gets neater and faster, not to dissimilar to a human driver. The car has had a human driver in each time to take over in case things go wrong but so far this has not been needed.

The 1985 Lola F1 car part of the marking of Lolas 50th anniversary (Photo by Marc Waller) The new Bullitt Mustang with the original star of the film (Photo by Marc Waller) The Nio EP9 speeds past the crowds (Photo by Marc Waller) The Roborace car goes up the hill  alone (Photo by Marc Waller) The Siemens Mustang drives itself up the hill (Photo by Marc Waller)




Another self-driving car with no such safeguards is the Roborace prototype. These cars are in development for a proposed new racing series where it won’t be drivers competing against each other but the programmers of the cars artificial intelligence. The cars are electrically powered and with no need for a driver they are very compact and lightweight. They made history this weekend by becoming the first ever car to do a run up the hill with absolutely no human involvement. Perhaps slightly stealing Siemens Thunder from their Mustang but the cars are for different purposes, Siemens are looking at the transport market while Roborace are solely for competition. Things are moving on fast now in the electric and artificial intelligent sectors, a long way from the first festival in 1993!

The Goodwood FOS Air section of the festival is present once again with lots of aircraft and aviation companies displaying at the bottom of the site. We’ve also had planes overhead with the Blades and Red Arrows aerobatic teams displaying in the air, but this year in another first we’ve also had someone flying on track.

The term flying is often used in racing when someone is going quickly but this time someone is literally flying and it’s very much someone rather than something. The new JB11 jetpack made its first ever European flight at the Festival on Thursday and is making demo flights in front of the house every day. Flown by it’s creator David Mayman, the technology could have lots of useful applications with a top speed of 200mph and a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet. You’d have to be very brave to go to those heights as the jet back is a fuel tank and six jet engines which you strap on your back with controls and displays in both hands in front of you. Your landing gear is your own legs.

There have been jetpacks in the past, seen at the 1984 Olympic Games and in James Bond films but these have been difficult to use and with limited range. This is the first ever jet pack to offer the potential of personal travel. This goal came closer in early 2018 when the FAA (The US aviation authority) gave it clearance to fly, the first time they have done this for this type of air transport.

As the Jetpack flies past the Porsche seventieth anniversary display it really is past, present and future everywhere you look at Goodwood! By Marc Waller

A Jaguar Xk120 celebrating the XK anniversary (Photo by Marc Waller) A Lola T70 on the hill (Photo by Marc Waller) A nineteenth century electric car (Photo by Marc Waller) The JB11 jetpack flies over the crowds in front of Goodwood house (Photo by Marc Waller) Red Arrows display over the festival (Photo by Marc Waller)

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