Goodwood Festival of Speed: Sussex columnist's weekend at the event – in pictures and video

​It’s fair to say I don’t really know what horsepower means and I have no idea what a catalytic converter is.

​It might mean I’m not the obvious person who would spend a couple of days at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed – an annual four-day event that’s like Christmas on steroids for petrolheads. But I’d argue that it was just the place to teach me a bit more about all things fast and furious.

I was lucky enough to have tickets to Friday and Sunday at the 30th annual FOS (which turned out to be extra-lucky as the Saturday had to be cancelled due to bad weather for the first time in its three-decade history), which is held on the Goodwood estate near Chichester.

Don’t be fooled by the idea that because it’s held in the countryside it might be a quaint little festival. It isn’t. The site is absolutely enormous, and there is a vast, vast array of things to do, see, eat and watch.

My friend Lynsey and I drove to the event on Friday, but be warned, if you are going to travel to next year’s event by road it’s highly, highly likely you’ll get caught in traffic jams. So leave early. It took us an hour-and-a-half to get there from Worthing, for what would be about a 25/30-minute journey under normal circumstances.

Once inside the event, however, it was totally worth the drive. Even in the rain (and it rained A LOT on Friday) there was such a buzz in the air. Couple that with the lingering smell of high octane fuel, burning rubber and burgers cooking – a strangely potent and intoxicating mix – and I was immediately converted.

Having never really looked much at cars in my day-to-day life, suddenly I was on the hunt for the best model I could find. I marvelled at cars driven by F1 heroes, had my picture taken by cars that would cost so much they would probably make even the richest of guests’ eyes water, and got totally hooked on the thrill of watching cars and bikes of all shapes and sizes racing up the famous ‘hill’.

The sounds of the engines and tyres screeching on the track as the drivers pushed them to their limits was almost hypnotic. I couldn’t get enough.

Then there were the exhibits to explore, featuring vehicles of the future, cars powered by clean energy, the latest electric cars and so, so much more. A member of the Tesla team even tried to recruit us to be part of the firm’s ‘exciting expansion’.

On Sunday the weather was, thankfully, dryer and my dad and I got to experience the ‘shootout’ up the hill.

Each car tried to be the fastest, which made for some hilarious photos of nothing, as I was way too slow to capture them speeding past.

We also felt the full force of the fireworks launched from the top of Goodwood House at various points during the day, as the wind meant some minor debris rained down onto our heads. Not nearly as dangerous as it sounds, and it just added to the excitement!

Dad actually is a real car enthusiast and he said going to the FOS was the fulfilment of a childhood dream to see such a variety of amazing cars all in one place.

His highlights were getting a photo with Niki Lauder’s F1 car, seeing a couple of Aston Martin DBS Superleggeras parked up in the high performance car parking area and witnessing the stunning McLaren track-only V10-engined Solus GT (you’d better believe I had to do do some research to get the name of this car right). You definitely don’t need to know anything about cars to say that it was a beauty.

Throw in a huge variety of food and drink booths, plus entertainment dotted around the enclosure, and I defy anyone – car fanatic or those like me, who were initially just sold on hoping to have a nice day out in the summer sunshine – not to have a super(charged) day out.

Can I now confidently talk about fuel injectors? Absolutely not. But I’ve started my car appreciation journey and I know without a doubt that I’ll go to FOS again.

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