Goodwood Moving Motor ShowThu, 01 Jul 2010 00:00:00 -0700
Now in its 18th year, the UK's Goodwood Festival of Speed (which runs over the coming weekend of the 2 to 4 July) this year adds an extra day prior to the main event, billed as the Moving Motor Show.
Designed partially as a replacement for the British Motor Show, which was last held at London's Excel exhibition centre in 2008, the Moving Motor Show allows some 2000 members of the public to drive recent new cars from 22 manufacturers up Goodwood's famous hill climb course.
This development fits well with recent trends. We have seen manufacturers increasingly questioning the value of traditional show formats, while previous Festival of Speed events have seen the unveil of new cars and concepts. The Moving Motor Show event therefore feels like a logical - if still novel - extension to an event that has become a highlight of the automotive year.
As a format, the idea holds a great deal of appeal, particularly from a consumer perspective. For the average visitor, Motor Shows are arguably losing their relevance. Cars are seen only on static stands and in artificial light. Most of the information given out can today be found online, while the new models and concepts people really want to see and sit in are often off limits to members of the public. As a means of engaging and exciting consumers again, the moving Motor Show therefore appears to have been a great success with over 10,000 extra tickets sold just for this day and a palpable sense of excitement in the crowd.
No new models or unveils took place during the day, yet the event did see the first UK appearance for models such as the Nissan Juke, Audi RS5 and Mini Countryman. Customers were able to drive a host of recently-launched cars such as the Jaguar XJ, Porsche Cayenne, Honda CR-Z and Peugeot RCZ.
For those used to the regular stream of Festival of Speed exotica tearing up the hill course, it was a little strange to see the same road-going models being driven by again and again. Yet for designers and critics, this day held an appeal too. It was interesting and valuable to see some models we've as yet only seen on the auto show floor, moving and in daylight. For instance, seeing cars such as the Peugeot RCZ and Nissan Juke moving on the road confirmed that their great sense of drama and visual character exists beyond the show stand. What surprised us most however, was that while on the show stand it is the Juke that proves the most visually arresting, on the move, the RCZ's presence and sense of rolling theatre is in a different league - particularly when painted orange with contrasting wheels and cant rails!
The Festival of Speed itself continues until Sunday 4 July, this year's theme being ‘Viva Veloce', and the event celebrating the centenary of Alfa Romeo.
CDN will be publishing a full report and gallery on the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the coming weeks.
By Joe Simpson