Car News

Electric Hillclimb: Goodwood Festival of Speed Roundup

One of the most interactive auto shows in the world happened this past weekend in England. The Goodwood Festival of Speed brings together stars from motorsports, classic and modern vehicles, and a race up the driveway of the Duke of Richmond. Here's a look at some of the best debuts and the fastest runs up the hill.

The Volkswagen I.D. R won the Goodwood Hillclimb, running up the hill in a 43.86-second electric record. The I.D. R is the same electric racer that set an overall record at the Pikes Peak climb last month. It's not far off the Goodwood overall record, which was set at 41.6-seconds by a Mercedes MP4/13 Formula 1 racer. But before setting the record, the I.D. R did some unintended off-roading in a super close call.

Number two fastest up the hill was another electric. The NIO EP9 is an electric two-seat sports car that uses four 335 hp motors - one at each wheel - to total 1,341 hp. The carbon-fibre all-electric hypercar weighs an impressive 1,735 kg and at 44.32 was just half a second behind the Volkswagen. Third place was the fastest gasoline car this year, a 1990s BMW 3 series powered by a Judd Formula 1 car engine.

It wasn't all roses for high-tech cars, though. The autonomous race car built by Roborace completed the climb in an uneventful run of around one minute 10-seconds, making it the first autonomous vehicle to successfully complete the famous climb. It was a cautious run, with far more back and forth corrections than you'd expect from a human driver, but reasonably smooth.

Less smooth was an autonomous 1965 Mustang developed by Siemens and Cranfield University. That one uses GPS and inertial guidance instead of LiDAR. It made some erratic course movements and eventually hit some hay bales before the safety driver could take the wheel. It did finish the course though.

A few new vehicles made their debuts as well, like the Maserati Levante GTS. We sampled that one from behind the wheel last week, but this was the first official showing of the Ferrari-powered 550 HP GTS super-sport utility. 

Lotus showed off special Type 49 and Type 79 versions of the Exige. The names come from two of the company's most iconic Formula 1 cars. The Type 49 took Graham Hill to his second World Championship, and won races over a remarkable four-year period. The Type 79 was one of the first to use underbody aero to win races.

The special Lotus models add livery and colour schemes from those cars to the Exige Cup 430. That car uses a 430 hp supercharged V6 and has three-way adjustable dampers along with aerodynamic panels that generate 220 kg of downforce at speed.

Watch the full timed hillclimb, and enjoy one of the coolest and most diverse gatherings of cars in the world.