With a record sell-out attendance of 185,000, the 2012 Festival of Speed was the biggest ever.
The attendance of so many classic cars and top-level racing drivers has come to be expected. If you love anything to do with racing and sports cars, the Festival of Speed is one of the highlights of the year. However, the big surprise is that car manufacturers are now using it as the British Motor Show. By our reckoning there were a dozen new cars or concept cars launched at the show.
This included an entire new brand – Dacia, the first running of the Jaguar F-Type and the launch of the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake. So why the interest by the manufacturers? We think it is twofold – the Moving Motor Show provides a great focal point for new cars, and the bosses simply like going to Goodwood. That might seem a bit casual, but if your company CEO is going to Goodwood anyway to enjoy the Festival, he might as well launch a new car while he is there. It makes a lot more impact if the Chief Executive of Mercedes launches his new model in the UK.
Lord March has never seen an opportunity he did not grab warmly by the throat, so expect an even bigger event next year. Goodwood might never become quite as big as the Geneva Motor Show, but it is certainly a more exciting place to see new cars than Bimingham's NEC.