This year’s Goodwood Festival of speed is set to be even more special than ever, as it celebrates its 20th year attracting fans from around the world.
That is the view of motoring writer and former Top Gear presenter Sue Baker, who says the event next month remains a personal highlight of her calendar.
“I really couldn’t decided between the Festival of Speed and the Revival event at Goodwood as I love them both,” enthuses the hugely-experienced journalist.
Having enjoyed more than three decades in the business, she knows all too well about the hallmarks of what makes a particular vehicle out of the ordinary.
As she revealed, there will be more than a few motors that will be attracting admiring glances amid the scene from visitors and stars of the show alike, including F1 heroes Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sir Jackie Stewart. “The event has just grown so much over the years and is now known as the largest motoring garden party in the world. It’s on a massive scale.
“Some of the manufacturers are paying up to one million pounds to be there in order to show their wares, as they know that it has become a good place to do business.
“For many companies, their stands are far bigger than they would have previously been at the British motor show which is no longer running.”
In Sue’s opinion, one of the key highlights of the weekend will be the appearance of a host of Porsche 911, which she describes as the “ultimate petrol head’s car” that is proudly marking its 50th birthday this year.
There will be a number of other notable appearances including Sir Malcolm Campbell’s famous Bluebird V LSR crossing the Atlantic to be displayed at the festival.
As you might expect, there will be a huge roll call of supercars, F1 cars and historic motors that will help create an electric atmosphere.
“One of the things I am most looking forward to is doing the forest rally stage that has been organised by Skoda for the past few years. I’d recommend that to anyone- it takes place a little further away from the main site, but it is well worth doing.”
You can take a seat with a professional driver and really feel the rush of what it is like to be out on a rally hurtling through a forest with the gravel spraying up round the course.
Another thing I really like about the Festival of Speed is the fact you can get up close to the likes of F1 stars in the paddock such as Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, plus stars of the past including John Surtees and Jackie Stewart who are just as much into the event as everyone else.”
In addition, Sue highlighted the Cartier et Lux display of some of the most memorable and sought after cars from the past 50 years, which will be vying for the fiercely-fought honour of most stylish vehicle.
Sue is certainly not short of experience in driving some of the world’s most admired motors over the years.
The Kent-based writer concedes she has been extremely privileged to have played a role in the motoring scene since graduating from her early-days on the Kentish Times and subsequent stint running a news service from Brands Hatch motor circuit.
In terms of a top tip for a business-orientated motor, she says that she has been particularly impressed by the performance of the S type Jaguar.
Among her many personal highlights along the way has surely come with her 11 year run on Top Gear, in which she describes as “great fun” Amid a noticeably male-dominated scene, she notched up some fine memories including co-driving an Audi Quattro to a memorable victory with women’s rally champ Michele Mouton back in the 1980s.
But what does she make of the latest crop of presenters on the BBC alongside Jeremy Clarkson? “I think it’s still a fantastic programme, though it’s very different from when I was there, it’s more of an entertainment show these days.” - information and tickets www.goodwood.co.uk/