The world continues to be far from normal, though we are getting glimpses of normality here and there. This includes the return of car shows big and small. There are the club meets where friends get to hang out and chat about their year and how much they’ve missed being together and then there are bigger events, like Goodwood Festival of Speed in the south of England.
This motoring extravaganza was relegated to an online streaming event in 2020 like so many others, but this year it was back and having been granted UK government trial something or other status, it was almost normal. Thousands of people filled the beautiful grounds of the estate to fawn over cars old and new, meet the drivers and watch some mostly fast machinery charge up the famous hill track or run through the forest rally stage. It was as close to normal as we’ve been in ages, albeit while wearing a mask and constantly rubbing our hands with hand sanitiser.
Forget pandemic issues, this was about petrolhead issues, though not entirely. This year there was a whole area dedicated to electric cars with exciting models like the new Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Polestar Precept and the Lotus Emira.
Talking of the Emira, it made its public debut just a day after being officially revealed and it attracted the biggest queues that we saw during the event. If you’re also excited about what will hopefully be the big Lotus comeback kid then the good news is that it should be heading for SA, thanks to a new distribution agreement with the Daytona Group.
Also heading to SA is the new Maserati MC20 with its gorgeous new Nettuno V6 engine and the new Porsche Cayenne GT. So too is the Porsche 911 GT3 Touring, which we grabbed for a drive just outside the estate. It’s a fantastic piece of engineering and if you’re put off by the big wing of the GT3 then the Touring with its slightly more subtle design is worth every cent.
We’re not so sure about the new Land Rover Defender V8 though, which was first seen in public at the show. It’s good but not as good as we expected it to be, perhaps because we’ve just been seriously impressed by the new plug-in hybrid Defender.
BMW showed off its new 2 Series which had its big global reveal at the event slightly tarnished by the leaking of pictures of it a couple of days before. Good news is that it doesn’t have a big ugly grille, unlike the new iX, which we saw for the first time in the metal at Goodwood and which we never want to see again, though as it’s our job, we probably will have to.
Something we’re less likely to see again is the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S, which made its first appearance at the show. It’s a sort of retro 1970s Le Mans racer for the road and after seeing it run up the hill we then proceeded to watch as supermodel Jodie Kidd tried to open the door. Eventually she shouted “how the **** do you open this door?” and the driver had to climb out and teach us all how it was done. The problems with sports cars.
Finally you’ll have to excuse us a bit of a brag, after all none of us have had much to brag about this past year have we. Anyway, the big highlight of Goodwood for us, apart from actually being at Goodwood, was being driven up the famous hill climb in the 878kW Zenvo TSR-S. Handbuilt in Denmark, Zenvo only makes five cars a year and each costs up to R26,276,000 before taxes. It’s an incredible thing with wheels made from individual pieces of carbon fibre and a unique Centripetal rear wing that constantly adjusts on two axes. Watching it doing its thing in the rear view mirror is quite disconcerting. If you can afford one, buy one just for that piece of choreographed theatre alone.
So Goodwood is over for another year but events are all starting to return to the local and international calendars. Whether they will all go ahead and whether we will even be able to get to them is another matter, but let’s hope they do because we’ve all been missing our fix of fine motoring.