Goodwood Festival of Speed brings an estimated £240m in economic impact to the local economy, but what makes it tick?


Now in its 25th year, the 2018 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard theme celebrated its silver jubilee this year, with the Duke of Richmond selecting his 25 favourite moments from the first 25 events.

These moments, and the cars and drivers which created them, were cornerstones of this year’s event, alongside the usual gathering of vehicles from the dawn of motoring to the present day, and beyond.

The resplendent weather and focus on strategic traffic management made this year’s event extra special, according to Tim Bulley, international director, The Goodwood Group.

He told Access: “Often the biggest challenge can be the weather. The build can be extremely hard work if we have torrential rain and mud to contend with in the build-up although we have great systems in place now to cope. This year we had glorious sunshine so apart from lots of dust we were very lucky.

“Traffic also is a major management project each year as we strive to constantly implement improved systems to keep traffic moving to the from the event and to minimise disruption to our neighbours. On the whole it works very well considering we have around 55,000 people descend on this quiet corner of West Sussex each day of the event.

To celebrate 25 years, there was extra onus on the team to provide a memorable occasion. “New and hugely popular this year were Jet Pack Aviation – a man who flies wearing a specialist jet pack – and of course we can two autonomous hillclimb runs for the first time this year. We also had the world’s fastest drone pilot here attempting a Guinness World Record for the fastest drone flight so all sorts of challenges in making sure all of those happened safely, to regulations and to the maximum enjoyment of the crowds.

“We measure and are measured in many different ways in terms of success. Ticket sales is obviously a big indicator that we’re doing things right on one level – we tend to always hit capacity now with between 200- 210, 000 visitors each Festival of Speed. We need to make sure we hit our budgets of course and in turn we are very keen to prove ROI to our many partners. Some are here to showcase their brands to the visitors on the ground and some use FoS as a multi-media platform to showcase their brands digitally and to create year-round digital content. We never stop pushing ourselves to deliver something bigger and better each year.”

Bulley also took time to reflect on what makes the event so unique in the motorsport calendar. “There was a great quote from a visiting VIP, Dr Herbert Diess, global chief of VW Group this year that I think sums up exactly what the Festival of Speed is and what makes it so unique.

“He said – ‘Motor shows are dead. They are a product of the 1960s and they are not as relevant anymore. They’re not delivering what we want and they’re not delivering what car buyers want. People need to see more interaction with the product. They expect it. Those days of relying on tradition are gone. It’s events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed that are showing us the modern way to show cars to people’.”

Bulley continues: “On top of that, of course, it’s not just cars. It’s bikes, Mars rovers, Jet Packs, VR, Robotics, food, family fun and all set in the most beautiful English Estate. There’s nothing else like it in the world.”

The suppliers behind the event also helped make the event a success. “We have many preferred suppliers, as do our partners. I couldn’t possibly name them all but we do have a staggering amount of people here making it all happen. We’ve been told it’s the largest green-field site-build in the world – we have around 11,000 people here working on the event and a recent survey by the University of Brighton said we contribute some £240 million to the local economy through our events.

“What always amazes me is the level of commitment and passion we get from everyone who works here for us and with us. It’s like we all know we’re doing something great and we want to play our part in it the best we can.”