Auto Tech Leaders Use Goodwood to Break Records

In the cathedral to automotive performance that is the Goodwood Festival of Speed both electrified and autonomous vehicles sat loud and proud.

No more consigned to some distant backwater of the event, new automotive technologies rubbed shoulders equally with the tip flight road and racing cars available today.

Even in the middle of the automaker’s showcase pavilions, this year saw a futurist look at technologies about to break into the mainstream with offerings from Huawei, Samsung, Siemens, Vodafone among several other household electronics names.

Both Honda and Polestar saw healthy crowds of erstwhile ‘petrol heads’ visiting their stands to poke around the cars on show. The Honda e Prototype was making its first public global driving demonstration and was displayed in a minimalist way in keeping with its ‘clean’ message. Other electrified options on show included CR-V hybrids, a 1999 Insight, Honda’s first hybrid powertrain, then the other Goodwood hybrid debutant, the latest Honda NSX.

Polestar followed up its 2018 debut of the Polestar 1 with the first showing of its latest BEV, the Polestar 2. A team of the premium brand’s specialists were on hand to answer questions and demonstrate product features, including its vegan interior and the world-first infotainment system powered by Android.

Volkswagen led the BEV charge blowing away the ICE brigade with a record run up the 1.16 mile Goodwood Hill for its ID.R racers with a time of just 41.18 seconds on the Friday and then an even quicker run of 39.90 seconds the following day. The previous record of 41:60 seconds has stood for 20 years, set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld driving a McLaren MP4/13. The all-electric Volkswagen was piloted by two-time Le Mans 24 Hours-winner Romain Dumas who a couple of weeks before drove the ID.R to a new electric vehicle lap record at the iconic Nürburgring Nordschleife, with a time of 06:05.33 minutes.

The ID.R produces the equivalent of 670bhp and 479ft-lbs of torque and weighs less than 1,100kg with the driver on board allowing a 0-62mph sprint time ofi 2.25 seconds and a top speed of 168mph.

Meanwhile, the Robocar’s Devbot 2.0 set its own new hill climb record completing the course in just 67 in the second running of fully autonomous cars taking on the Goodwood Roborace challenge.

Heading the gasoline sniffing traditionalists’ object of lust was the track-only Ford GT MkII. This $1M plus racer features a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 motor tuned up to 700bhp, creating the most powerful Ford GT ever produced. Ford has employed water spray cooling and a large extra air intake to feed the engine, transmission and clutch coolers. This is also the most obvious visual change for the Mk II over the normal race car.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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