This year's Goodwood Festival of Speed is fast approaching, and it's arguably more important than ever. With Ford announcing its intention to skip the next Paris and Geneva shows, and murmurs of other manufacturers set to follow suit, dynamic events like Goodwood look increasingly well positioned to benefit. This is evidenced by the number of debuts the festival now boasts, with significant cars such as Aston Martin's new DBS, Jaguar's F-Pace SVR and McLaren's 600LT all making their first public appearances.
Then there's the fact that the FoS has not pigeon-holed itself as merely a 'car show'. Speed can mean many things, and it's that flexibility which has allowed Goodwood to host futuristic formats such as drone racing alongside its combustion-centric celebrations in the past. This year that Tomorrow's World tech includes both an autonomous race car, the Roborace, and a 200mph jet pack taking on the hillclimb, providing added relevence - and excitement - which traditional shows can't hope to match.
With Goodwood's place amongst the most important industry events of the year seemingly cemented, then, here's the PH guide to what to look out for this weekend. Whether you're making the trip in person, or just tuning in to the live stream from home, there looks to be more than ever to keep your eyes peeled for!
Alfa will feel like it has much to shout about this year. The brand has returned to Formula 1 (in a fashion) and its Quadrifoglio models are easily the most exciting road cars it has produced since the introduction of the 4C in 2013. Accordingly, it is the Stelvio version which gets its 'dynamic' UK debut on the hill, one of quite a few SUVs you'll be seeing at Goodwood in 2018.
Trust us, the A110 is a reason to get excited. If you haven't quite extricated your mindset from: "I'm not spending Cayman money on a two-seat Renault," then get over yourself, because the coupe is one of the very best new cars on sale in the UK. The mid-engined road car received its dynamic debut at Goodwood last year; this year, it's the turn of the GT4, the circuit racing version. It will also showcase the Legende trim level, which follows on from the Premiere Edition and is priced from £50,805.
It isn't often that an all-new model emerges from Crewkerne, and always a special event when it does. The next generation Atom is no exception. It's titled the 4 (see what they've done there) and is powered by the latest Honda Civic Type R lump, which means it's turbocharged for the first time. Don't let those familiar looks fool you either - the car is virtually new from the ground up. We only heard about it 24hrs ago, and already it's one of the Festival's must-see prospects.
Surely no manufacturer's year has been as seismic as Aston's. It's been so action-packed in fact that the new Vantage doesn't even headline the firm's Goodwood lineup - that's left to new DBS Superleggera flagship, which will be making its first public appearance at the festival. Also on the hill will be the Rapide AMR and the special edition V12 Vantage V600. And against the clock, the Vulcan AMR Pro and Darren Turner. Good effort, chaps.
It's been another very busy year for Bentley, and that's reflected in three dynamic debuts up the hill. For Crewe, the highlight will be the return of the Bentayga W12 from its record-breaking run at Pikes Peak, although the public debut of the new Continental GT is likely to be of as least as much interest to those in the crowd. Also due on the hill is GT3 race version of the latest model, already competing in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
As it was at Le Mans last month, it's all about the 8 Series for BMW. Goodwood marks the UK debut of the Coupe, and it will accompanied on the hill by the race car version - the M8 GTE. The manufacturer will also showcase the M8 Gran Coupe Concept and the new i8 Roadster. Expect to see some racing legends feature, too: a fully restored Williams F1 BMW FW26 from 2004 ought to be a highlight; ditto the BMW V12 LMR Le Mans winner from 1999.
The BT62 was on static display at Le Mans, too, but Goodwood will see its global debut when it takes its place on the start line. David Brabham will be at the wheel of the 710hp track car himself - making its timed runs of particular interest. In between exerting itself, the car will be on display at the Supercar paddock.
Maranello rarely lets the side down, and 2018 is no exception with both the 488 Pista and 812 Superfast due to make their dynamic UK debuts. Either model could easily claim a place among the decade's finest cars, but it might be the noise of that 800hp 6.5-litre V12 that we're most looking forward to. On display in the supercar paddock you'll also find an FXX, 599XX and a FXX K EVO - not to mention a LaFerrari Aperta, just in case you needed another reason to go along.
It's all about the Mustang for Ford again this year, most notably in Bullitt format. Naturally that's of greater interest this time around as the car is to be made available in UK spec. To highlight that fact, the manufacturer has shipped one of the '68 Mustang GTs used in shooting the eponymous film to Goodwood, and will send it up the hill. Also featuring will be a one-off 700hp 'Eagle Squadron' Mustang GT built to pay tribute to the Americans who served as RAF fighter pilots in WWII.
The Japanese firm is going big on its racing pedigree this year, and alongside the Civic Type R Touring Car and NSX (plus a clutch of motorbikes) it will send Jenson Button up the hill a heritage collection F1 car - specifically the RA301 from 1968, built in partnership with Lola. Of course, it's the Mean Mower V2 that we're really looking forward to - not least because of its 1000hp per tonne raw silliness.
In case you hadn't noticed, it's been a bumper year already for Jaguar and it will show on the weekend. The highlight of the manufacturer's weekend (from its point of view) will be the 550hp F-Pace SVR, making its dynamic debut in the UK. Gaydon is also celebrating 50 years of the XJ, which means the XJ50 will be showcased on its stand alongside the I-PACE. Back on the hill, expect to see the 600hp XE SV Project 8 run - and expect to hear it, too.
Talking of ear drum-rattlers, Lamborghini is expected to send the Huracan Performante Spyder up the hill as well. You'll be wanting to stand nearby for that one; we drove it recently, and it's savagely good. Also said to be on the menu is the Urus (no introductions needed) and the Centenario Roadster - the limited-edition Aventador-based hypercar built to commemorate the 100th birthday of Ferrucio Lamborghini. Think 770hp and 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds.
Jaguar might be the slightly busier half of JLR from a new model point of view, but Land Rover has a birthday to celebrate (its 70th, in case you've been living under a rock). In celebration, it will send 70 (obvs) mostly heritage cars up the hill, including the 1947 Land Rover prototype and the Range Rover Classic.
As you might expect, Lotus will run all manner of old race cars up the hill, including the Lotus 25, the 49, the 97T and even the gas turbine-powered Type 56. It promises its 'most potent' road cars will be in attendance too, so expect to see the likes of the Exige Cup 430 and Sport 410 attacking the hill at some point.
No surprises here as McLaren has already heavily previewed the global debut of the new 600LT at Goodwood, where it is also scheduled to run up the hill. Given that it is a 570S with more power and less weight, the expectation is that it will be a humdinger, so we're looking forward to its appearance on the start line. Also making its debut will be Lanzante's idea of a P1 GT 'Longtail', which also promises further aero enhancements and less weight. It might be quite a thing.
As you might expect, it'll be Mercedes-AMG taking the lead at Goodwood. The AMG GT 63 S, the manufacturer's new four-door coupe, will be making its dynamic UK debut, as will the G63. Not running (but no less intriguing) will be the presence of the Project ONE hypercar on the Mercedes stand. Also due past the flint wall is the F1 W07 Hybrid, the car which landed Nico Rosberg the 2016 Drivers' Championship.
If you haven't heard of NIO, it's a Chinese start-up with racing a division that competes in the Formula E Championship. The EP9 is its idea of two-seat sports car - one that has an electric motor at each wheel dispensing 335hp. So its pretty brisk then; brisk to the tune of a 6:45.9 lap at you-know-where, which is incidentally quicker than Pagani Zonda R. Rumour has it that it will run up the hill this year.
It seemed like Nissan might not have much to shout about - then it adroitly dropped a hint that the GT-R50, hiterto a design study and 50th birthday celebration car, might actually be pressed into production. That makes a visit to the stand almost obligatory - not least because if Italdesign does get its wish, it might be the only chance you'll ever get to see one of only 50 cars that will ever be produced. At more than £800k a go...
So it seems as though Michelin has been rather clever with its stand this year, and invited a host of low volume manufacturers along to the party. Naturally that includes some of leftfield French stuff (Prato ORAGE, anyone?) but, also Noble, which is going to use the event to unveil the M500 - a car which apparently combines a more extreme look with a little more comfort (!) and sports a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V6. Intriguing. And probably worth a trot in that direction.
We're not sure exactly what Porsche plans to run up the hill this year, but expect it to be heavily represented, not least because Goodwood's famous sculpture will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 356 - the manufacturer's original rear-engined, rear-drive sports car. Given the resulting lineage, expect to see many, many variants of the 911 turn out, including the latest and greatest, the GT2 RS.
The Polestar 1 finally makes its dynamic debut in the UK, albeit in prototype format. This is important because the car is slowly rolling toward customers, with deliveries expected to start next year. To further highlight that fact, the manufacturer will have two production spec cars on its stand, mostly for gawping at.
This one is purely for gawping at. Roborace is attempting the first ever fully autonomous shot at the hill climb in a 500hp vehicle that uses a mixture of inputs from LiDAR, radar, GPS, ultrasonic and camera sensors. Apparently Goodwood presents a "real challenge" for its driving systems. Well, good luck with that chaps.
Word is that the next Toyota Supra will make its dynamic debut at Goodwood, although it'll be another car that comes camo-wrapped and still in prototype format. It's enough to keep us interested though as the manufacturer builds up to its launch in 2019. Early experience in the new BMW Z4 (its co-developed sister car) suggests that our patience is likely to pay off.
Having just snatched the Pikes Peak record from Peugeot, Volkswagen has shipped the I.D. R electric race car to the UK for a go at a slightly shorter hill climb. Romain Dumas will be tasked with piloting duties again, suggesting the outright Goodwood record might be a conceivable target. That really would tie a nice bow on what promises to be a spectacular weekend in the sunshine.