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Drivers, bikers and motor racing teams were out in full gear over the weekend to mark the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The iconic Hill Climb event showcases historic and new motor racing vehicles held on a 1.16-mile course in the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex in England.
The theme for the annual Hill Climb event is “Speed Kings – Motorsport’s Record Breakers” and the motoring bonanza will be celebrating the different areas of outstanding achievement in racing from land speed record cars to the fastest racetrack monsters.
For example, the festival commemorated Nick Heidfeld’s 20 years since he claimed the outright Hill Climb record at the wheel of the McLaren MP4/13, covering the 1.16-mile course in 41.6 seconds.
His record, however, has been beaten this year by Romain Dumas, Volkswagen’s all-electric I.D.R Pikes Peak racer with a time of 39.9 seconds.
Michael Schumacher’s 25th anniversary of his first world championship, earned with Benetton in 1994, was also celebrated at the festival with his famous cars, family, friends, teammates and former rivals present, including Mika Hakkinen and Damon Hill, with the latter expected to drive one of the seven-time world champion’s cars.
The car culture carnival also featured a new Arena area hosting a range of action-packed displays, the Michelin’s Supercar Paddock, a Future Lab section and a Glance Paddock that showcases the most innovative technologies from the worlds of aerospace, robotics and autonomous transport as well as the latest offerings from the world’s automotive manufacturers.
Audi Sport customer racing, for example, launched its latest sports car – the Audi R8 LMS GT2.
Oliver Hoffmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH, said during the unveiling alongside Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport customer racing and nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen: “This sports car with its emotive high-performance V10 engine marks the top end of our customer racing programme. The legendary event is the ideal venue for unveiling such a fascinating sports car. The race car has been created for a future racing category. The GT2 class will come to life in Europe and North America in 2020. It will fill a gap between the existing GT3 and GT4 categories and specifically feature cars with high longitudinal dynamics. Consequently, this type of race car addresses gentleman drivers who have been the backbone of GT racing for decades.
“The Audi R8 LMS GT2 is the ideal sports car for classic fielding in races, as well as being suitable for Track Days and events at Race Resorts, which enjoy increasing popularity among this group of customers worldwide. Audi Sport has presented the fourth model for customer racing in the Audi R8 LMS GT2. The brand has been successful worldwide in the TCR, GT3 and GT4 classes.”
Mercedes-AMG also took motor maniacs on a journey with the unveiling of its latest mean machine, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 super hatch which comes with a brand new 2-litre engine and an extra-hot S version. This new flagship A-Class takes the title of the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine.
For the first time the high-performance brand used by the German-automakers has developed two versions of the A 45. The base A 45 develops 382bhp – just 1bhp more than the outgoing model – and Mercedes claims a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds – 0.1 seconds faster than before. Top speed is limited to 155mph, but can be raised to 168mph through an optional AMG Driver’s Package.
Mercedes has also developed a more powerful S badged version to keep the car in line with other flagship AMG models. It develops 415bhp and 500Nm of torque and claims 0-62mph is possible in 3.9 seconds – a figure beating the V8 powered AMG GT Coupe. Top speed is limited to 168mph.
Other major car manufacturers were also in attendance and it is a particularly big year for Bentley, Citroen, MINI and Pagani who are celebrating their 100th, 100th, 60th and 20th anniversaries respectively.