Volkswagen reflects on successful, if soggy, Goodwood Festival of Speed
Typically British ‘summer’ weather failed to dampen the spirits of the Goodwood Festival of Speed faithful who once again turned out in their tens of thousands to celebrate all things automotive and, in the case of Volkswagen, 40 years of the iconic Golf GTI.
The German brand’s celebrated sporting Golf was centre stage on the South Downs as Volkswagen showed, and ran, original and modern iterations of the world’s favourite hot hatch.
Newest GTI to tackle the 1.1-mile hill climb sprint was the Golf GTI Clubsport S, the brand’s limited edition celebration model created to both mark four decades of GTI excellence and conquer the ‘green hell’ of the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife where it was recently crowned front-wheel drive lap record holder with driver Benny Leuchter at the wheel.
At Goodwood this weekend Volkswagen Board of Management member for Sales and Marketing Jürgen Stackmann was in the driving seat, proudly showing off the car’s performance potential in its first dynamic appearance in the UK.
Delivering 310 PS, the most powerful GTI to date is a finely balanced cross between road and racing car with a limited production run of just 400. The UK is set to be the car’s biggest market globally, with no fewer than 150 of the individually numbered Clubsport S models coming to this country in right-hand drive form before the year’s end.
In terms of power the Golf GTI Clubsport S is almost on a par with the 315 PS Polo R WRC, with which Volkswagen won the World Rally Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and is on course for the title again in 2016. Driver Jari-Matti Latvala (31) powered the Polo R WRC up the famous West Sussex hill, while also taking part in the legendary hill climb was Hans-Joachim Stuck (65) – the well-known former Formula 1, DTM and Le Mans star – who was at the wheel of an historic 222 PS Golf Mkl GTI racing car over the weekend.
Volkswagen’s extensive stand at this year’s Festival was dominated by the GTI theme, with examples of MkI, Mk3 and Mk7 cars including a Clubsport S. The brand’s dynamic future was represented by the Golf GTE Sport hybrid concept car, making its first appearance in the UK, while the most recent addition to Volkswagen showrooms in the UK – the stunning new Tiguan compact SUV – was also on show in sporty R-Line trim.
Commenting on the brand’s highly successful appearance at this year’s event, Volkswagen UK Head of Marketing Rod McLeod said: “The Goodwood Festival of Speed has rightly acquired global status as a unique celebration of all things automotive and, as we mark our own celebration with 40 years of the Golf GTI, it is only right and proper that Volkswagen once again supports this exceptional event.”