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08 July 2014

The Need for Speed 

Fans of powerful, exotic and classic automobiles sped to heaven at the latest celebration of all things fast and four-wheeled, the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The Goodwood festival, held in late June on the estate of a British aristocrat, grows more popular by the year as it evolves into an occasion for carmakers to introduce their latest high-performance models and for designers to show off elaborate ‘concept cars’ intended to stoke a lust for style and horsepower.

More than 100,000 people usually attend the festival and all the major manufacturers make an appearance. Maserati, this year celebrating its 100th anniversary, unveiled a concept version of its sleek, 460-horsepower Alfieri coupe, scheduled for production in 2016.

Bentley offered its Continental GT V8 S, which will beef up the sport-touring end of the British company’s luxury line. Those with an eye for road racing got a peek at McLaren’s low-slung 650S GT3 and Jaguar’s F-Type Project 7, which boasts a top speed of 300 kph.

Then there was the novelty of videogame racecars showing up on a real racetrack: Aston Martin’s DP100 and Nissan’s Concept 200 Vision, each inspired by the Gran Turismo videogame. The cars looked as if they had been pulled from the set of a sci-fi movie set in the 23rd century.

There was also an auction: a Ferrari racer from 1945 sold for $18.2 million, the third-highest price ever paid for a classic Ferrari. Only five were built, and the one sold at Goodwood may be the last.

Adrenaline-inducing accelerations aside, the show is a reminder that the right combination of driving passion, design flair and engineering aptitude can still produce mechanical wonders.