Boisdale Life’s Editor-at-Large, Paddy Renouf set off to attend his first ever Goodwood Revival. Slightly counter-intuitively, Paddy drove the brand new Lamborghini Huracán there, courtesy of www.citysupercars.co.uk. The Rolex Drivers Club was his destination for lunch, with no less than Rolex Testimonees Sir Jackie Stewart and Tom Kristensen in attendance.
Yes, the car that was delivered to Boisdale Belgravia on that crisp early morning was like a spaceship. The Lamborghini Huracán Spyder is the latest and some believe the best supercar on the market right now, named after a famous Spanish fighting bull.
Unlike almost all cars these days, its lines are angular and severe. Once underway with my co-pilot, Boisdale Life MD, Harry Owen – who asked me not to utter a word for the first 30 minutes until he’d ‘mustered it’ – we started to fully appreciate its striking qualities and I realised that to my eye, this car is more about ‘looking out from’ rather than ‘looking at’. The admiration comes from driving it, rather than its visual appeal, although glancing in the side mirrors and catching the reflection of the ‘air intakes’ whilst screeching down the M3 was intensely pleasing.
So too was the melodious roar of the engine when you depressed the accelerator, as we went through the market town of Haselmere – actually it was more of a fly-past, red-arrow-style down the high street – with the thrilling roar of the engine and pop-pops from the exhaust ricocheting off the honeyed stone walls.
This car does its job. A great rally ensued down the motorway, with a cast of old and new Jaguars, a screech of Porches (with wonderfully dated colours from the seventies, suddenly made beautiful), open top classics, leather skullcaps, goggles and flying around us a cacophony of engine noises, as from an orchestra pit, the roars from overhead (Lancaster bombers), the fine tuning of magnificent 6-litre racing engines and the constant adrenaline. It has all the feel of a festival, a carnival that petrol-head hedonists dream of.
There is fantastic excitement in the air.
The Rolex hospitality was as elegant and civilized as you would expect and they served delicious food, with good wine. It was a beautiful structure, which had the feel of a grand country home, complete with polished hardwood floors, rugs, sprawling sofas, desks, lamps and even a library – all this under canvas. At moments it felt like you were an extra in a war film, like the Battle of Britain, it was not surprising to see some black Labradors running around the place. It was quite thrilling to be in such close proximity to iconic Spitfire. One was parked immediately outside the Rolex tent. It started up during the speeches and I admit, getting up from the table and walking out to witness the incredibly impressive experience of it being fired-up and bobbing off over the paddock onto the runway. The next time we saw it, it was a few hundred feet up, escorting the Lancaster bomber overhead, granting us all a royal fly-past that was nothing short of spectacular. The pilot later popped in for a coffee. The roar of the engines above us and on the circuit, provided the soundtrack of the day – a constant sense of drama and action happening all around you.
Surrounding the entire festival site is the race circuit – the Goodwood Motor Circuit is 2.4 miles, very fast with lots of long corners. Behind all the fun and dressing up, there are some serious professional drivers thrashing around in priceless vintage cars, testing their skills to the limit. Races of all classes and makes are non-stop.
Called the Festival of Revival, it is not just about nostalgia, even though there is bucket loads of it. Apart from the magnificent machines, there are plenty of nurses and Second World War outfits, doctors, postmen, village policemen, soldiers, (and some just straightforward nutters strutting their stuff) vintage motorcycles and sidecars, old ambulances, vintage ice cream vans and ancient double Decca country buses. The latter used to ferry trippers to and from the railway station at Chichester where the festival goers mingled with locals in the pubs and cafes like extras from a film set, grabbing the opportunity for a quick libation between takes!
The cafes resembled barracks or field hospitals. Based on the 1940s, 1950s and early 60s it is a kind of surreal and magical festival. A Glastonbury with the cast and extras of ‘Call the Midwife’, ‘Oh what a Lovely War’ and ‘Half a Sixpence’ all rolled into one, with an overriding sense of fun and warm heartedness. It is rare to see so many people smiling, many reveling in the romance of being in a magical time-capsule from a golden era. And the beauty is that every one of the 200,000 spectators is part of the act. Back in the Rolex tent, over tea I was able to meet a few of the legends who added the F1 glamour and gravitas to the festival, including Sir Jackie Stewart and David Coulthard, who between giving interviews, were generous with their time to all of the guests. Tom Kristensen (who holds the record for nine wins at Le Mans) said, “Goodwood Revival is the most acclaimed historic race meeting in the world. It showcases pure racing in a magical atmosphere, which is what I love to see as a driver.”
It was only fitting, if incredibly spoiling for us to race there in the Huracan (I know at moments I scared the bejesus out of Harry, despite his gracious smiles.) It was a wonderful day out. Perhaps the l ast word goes to Sir Jackie who said; “Goodwood has a fantastic product, the best collection of cars in the world and some brilliant racing.”