Speed machines, roaring engines and an exciting atmosphere - the Goodwood Festival of Speed brought high-octane thrills to the county from July 8-11 2021. We raced over there for a slice of the action…

Making my way to the festival, I didn’t need Google Maps to tell me that I was close by – I simply had to glance at the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Aston Martins that passed me to know I was heading in the right direction. This was just a taster of all the amazing vehicles to see on the day. The festival is renowned for celebrating vehicles through the ages, as well as the drivers that spin them around the tracks so masterfully. After a hiatus last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival returned as a pilot event, which meant crowds were given the green light with visitors requiring a negative test result to enter.

I feel like this is a good time to mention that I’m no car expert. In fact, I don’t even drive. But you don’t need to be an aficionado to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each vehicle and the skill that goes into showcasing them. And after a year's break, and being one of the pioneering events of recovering from the pandemic, there was an excitement in the air that was a privilege to take in.

Great British Life: Seeing the Formula 1 cars up close was breathtakingSeeing the Formula 1 cars up close was breathtaking (Image: Eve Smallman)
After I showed my negative test, I headed trackside for one of the first batch of drives of the day. The Aston Martin cars, in their signature green, glided along the track and exhibited precisely why they are among the very finest of British cars. At the start of the festival, the manufacturer had a stand with its Formula 1 car on display, which was fascinating to see up close. Further along, other big guns in the world of Formula 1 were available to view, although not at this breathtakingly fingertip reaching distance. Following along from the sea of green, the Grand Prix Greats and other iconic cars made their way along the track.

READ MORE: Things to do this month in Sussex

Great British Life: Seeing many beautifully preserved cars was a real treatSeeing many beautifully preserved cars was a real treat (Image: Eve Smallman)
The exhilarating start set the adrenaline pumping and I was eager to see what else was on offer. I browsed vintage shirts, snazzy watches and more at the stalls, before walking up to the main paddock to see legendary cars and motorcycles. It was fascinating to see how well preserved the older vehicles are, especially the ones from the 1920s being driven around the enclosure.

Great British Life: A highlight of the festival was the 2022 Aston Martin ValkyrieA highlight of the festival was the 2022 Aston Martin Valkyrie (Image: Eve Smallman)
Next stop was the McLaren stall, where I decided to brave posing in the million-pound Elva. It was surreal closing the scissor doors and sitting in the plush leather behind the steering wheel, but also totally thrilling dream purchase. Another glamorous highlight was seeing the 2022 Aston Martin Valkyrie in action, cruising by in style and with its engine roaring.

Great British Life: The 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B was a sight to behold at the Cartier Style et LuxeThe 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B was a sight to behold at the Cartier Style et Luxe (Image: Eve Smallman)
The Cartier Style et Luxe Lawn had many stunning and unusual cars, brought in by their owners for the competition to see which was the crème de la crème. A personal favourite was the 1924 Hispano-Suiza, as well as the famous Back to the Future DeLorean. The overall winner was the 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale owned by designer Marc Newson, judged to be the finest and best-presented car on the lawn.

SUBSCRIBE: To Sussex Life magazine for the very best of the county - from food and drink to art and interiors

Away from cars, motorbikes and the likes, the Futures Lab provided something completely different, showcasing an array of alternative innovative technologies.

Great British Life: Cheers Goodwood for putting on such a fantastic festivalCheers Goodwood for putting on such a fantastic festival (Image: Eve Smallman)
I felt safe throughout, with hand sanitiser available and staff milling around to check everything was going smoothly. Goodwood put together a well-organised event. Being able to wander through the crowds with a Pimms in hand was a treat even before the cars came in. But the vehicles, big and small, old and new, were amazing to see up close.

The beauty of it, for me, was that it makes these marvellous vehicles that race in Formula 1, grace the silver screen and shine in history books so accessible.
Sign up for Festival of Speed 2022 ticket alerts at goodwood.com