Hypercars to watch out for at Goodwood (Wired UK)


The Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro 2012 Le Mans winning race car drives up the Festival of Speed hill course at Goodwood, UK on July 1, 2012

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The Goodwood Festival of Speed sounds like something a
delinquent teenage aristocrat might do when his parents leave town:
invite 100,000 or so people to his 17th-century mansion and turn
the winding driveway into a race track.

The Festival of Speed, which runs through until Sunday, is among
the coolest events on the automotive calendar. Historic and brand
new vehicles have since 1993 made an annual pilgrimage to the
Goodwood estate in West Sussex to race or just show off. The event
includes an air show, vehicle debuts, and parties, but the
highlight is the hill climb: one at a time, cars sprint up a
1.16-mile course that any sane person would call a driveway.

Goodwood is a gorgeous setting for dangerous activity that makes
other car shows look uptight. The winding one-lane road is lined
with trees, stone walls and foliage that makes seeing anything
tricky. Each year, top automotive minds design limited edition cars
and turn them over to drivers who attack the track’s nine turns and
300-plus feet of elevation change. There’s nothing easy about this.
Take, for example, the turn called Molecomb: After a blind ascent,
drivers must cope with shadows cast by trees, making it hard to see
— and avoid — the flint wall just ahead.

The difficulty of the course is one reason the track record
hasn’t been topped in 15 years. In 1999, German racer Nick Heidfeld
drove a McLaren MP4-13 F1 car to the finish line in 41.6 seconds
(video below). Recalling the run in 2011, Martin Whitmarsh, at the
time the McLaren team boss, told the The Telegraph he’d
instructed Heidfeld make the run at top speed. “The moment he
attacked that first corner,” Whitmarsh said, “I began to hope he’d
make it to the top. What I’d said to him at the start was totally
unreasonable.”

Driving a Formula One car all-out on a course where runoff areas
are dotted with tree trunks and cushioning material consists of hay
bales could make for catastrophic accidents. So Whitmarsh spoke
with festival founder and organiser Lord Charles March, and they agreed that modern Formula 1 cars would no longer be
officially timed for competition along the course.

The lack of official recognition hasn’t stopped drivers from
taking F1 cars to the course, but without the chance to break a
record as incentive to push the limits of traction and helmet
protection, the chances of a serious accident are diminished. They
still happen, however; we saw a Lamborghini
concept buy it
last year. Lots of cars still take the course,
but they can’t match the power and speed of the McLaren. So don’t
expect Heidfield’s record to be broken anytime soon.

That doesn’t mean the festival is now a bore. Goodwood and its
bonkers course remain a stage on which major manufacturers can show
off ludicrous hyper-tuned creations.

Here’s what to look for this year.

The British (Indian,
really
) marques will be making home-turf debuts. Land Rover
will show a Ranger Rover SVR that will make 542 horsepower and be
controlled with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while Jaguar will
bring its most powerful car ever: a carbon fiber-clad F-Type called
the Project 7. It’ll have a specially-tuned 5.0-liter V-8 that will
make 575 horsepower, 25 more than the F-Type R. Jag is planning to
produce 250 examples of the Project 7 for consumers enticed by its
hill climb performance. We’ll take one in British racing green.

Bentley will be arriving with a special Continental called the
GT3-R which will have a production run of 300, Spartan-style. Its
4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8 will put out 572 brake horsepower, which
will send the two-door from zero to 60 mph in a
manufacturer-claimed 3.6 seconds. Fellow VW Group brand Audi will
be bringing out their limited-run R8
LMX
with its 5,500 Kelvin laser high-beams. Ninety nine of
these will be made and will sell for just over $270,000
(£158,000).

Festival of Speed – Nick Heidfeld’s 41.6 second hill climb recordGoodwood Road & Racing

McLaren, the marque that set the aforementioned course record,
is bringing a special edition of their “budget” model called the
650S MSO (McLaren Special Operations). They’ll be making 25 coupes
and 25 convertibles, selling for $430,000 (£252,000) and $465,000
(£273,000). We’re more anxious to see their unveiling of a
yet-to-be-named track-only vehicle. We’re hoping for the rumored P1
GTR
, but expect a more subdued race-only 650S.

For the less aristocratic crowd, there will be hatchbacks.
Awesome hatchbacks. Ford is revealing the updated version of the
much-loved Focus ST, and Fiat will be sending a mental 187 bhp
Abarth.

If you can’t make it to Sussex by the end of the weekend, enjoy
this video of Heidfield’s record run.

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Source: wired.co.uk
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