When Lord March lets hundreds of amazing vehicles into his garden, he really does do it with style.
Add to that dozens of professional racing drivers, major car manufacturers launching new models, and over 200,000 motoring enthusiasts of all ages from around the world, and you have the motorsport party to top all of them.
Members of the Lockton team spent the day enjoying the sights, sounds and smells that combine to make the Festival of Speed unique. Where else can you see the latest EVs rubbing door mirrors with historic racing cars from the birth of the automobile? The angry whine of an electric vehicle attacking the famous hillclimb, closely followed by Mazda's legendary 787B screaming its way up the same course? Or the displays which aim to leave as much tyre rubber on parts of the Goodwood tarmac as possible, mingling with the aroma of lightly sautéed clutch?
If you've ever been to the “FOS”, then you'll be familiar with all of this – plus the great British weather, which of course does nothing to dampen the spirits of visitors.
2023 was no exception and we celebrated some special birthdays too – 75 for Porsche and Lotus and 60 for Lamborghini. Fireworks accompanied line-ups of vehicles from all three iconic manufacturers, with road and competition cars featuring prominently.
The centrepiece, directly in front of Goodwood House, featured various Porsches suspended at impossible angles and motorsport examples from the very earliest to recent Le Mans cars were paraded up the hill, to the delight of the thousands watching.
Formula One plays a massive part in the Festival and Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams were all in attendance with cars right across the spectrum of their place in the pinnacle of four-wheeled motorsport.
With the automotive world paying ever increasing attention to the wider world, the use of sustainable fuel was more evident than ever, including a certain Mr Vettel showing off a couple of his own F1 cars, powered by alternative fuel (Mansell's title-winning Williams FW14B and an ex-Senna McLaren MP4/8).
It's not just cars that star, but motorcycles, with road and race models displayed throughout the lawns and also making their way up the hill, with stars of the two-wheeled world demonstrating both the latest and historic road and race bikes.
Lanzante, now a firm fixture, showcased their various upgraded McLaren models and stunning TAG Turbo Porsche project (a proper F1 engine, in a road car – unbelievable!). Singer debuted their DLS Turbo, with echoes of 935 and Guntherwerks were not to be outdone, showing off their 993-era restomod.
Aside from Porsche, Ferrari brought their Le Mans winning 499P and we reckon a chef's kiss is the perfect way to describe a race winning car that hasn't been washed to perfection – something evident as we wandered around the (bigger than ever) paddock and caught sight of a previous winner from Audi – sitting a few steps from one of the GT40's that won the race so famously almost 60 years ago.
Manufacturers come to Goodwood with serious intentions. Stands as big as a decent-sized detached house, entire ranges showcased including concept and competition cars and technology for today and tomorrow on show – and in most cases, visitors are encouraged to get in and around the cars, with only the most expensive and exclusive roped-off.
Launches this year included the Porsche 718 Spyder RS, Polestar 3, MG Cyberster and Lotus's Eletre SUV and 4-cylinder Emira. Alpine showcased their A110R and Bentley's farewell to the iconic W12, the Batur, was also on show. The next-gen BMW 5-series made its debut and INEOS gave us the Grenadier Quartermaster. Finally, the Lamborghini Revuelto was shown to the crowds for the first time – resplendent in bright orange.
If celeb-spotting is your thing, then Goodwood doesn't disappoint, with racing, rock and big-screen stars all in attendance, both centre stage and under the radar and they share lawn, paddock and hillclimb space with You Tubers and social media influencers, including our very own Petrol Ped, who took to the hill in a variety of cars.
The fact that none of our team can pick a favourite car or moment tells you just how great the FOS is and we remain happily staggered that, even after 30 years, Lord March and the entire Goodwood team still manage to delight visitors and provide that fuel-filled fix that we'll no doubt crave for at least the next 30.
Remember the great British summer weather? That played its part this year, when for the first time in its history, the organisers took the difficult decision to cancel one of the days (Saturday) following an amber weather warning for high winds. Given the exposed site and hundreds of trees on the estate, this was absolutely the right thing to do.
Our final thoughts – number one, you need at least two days to see more than half of the FOS, number two, wear decent shoes (you'll wear them out) and take a raincoat (it's England. In the summer – see above!) and thirdly, you'll leave happily tired and buzzing with a slight headache from the sound of engines and tyres doing what they were meant to do.
Lastly, we would like to sincerely thank His Grace, The Duke of Richmond, for letting us all play in his garden for a few days.