The Goodwood Festival of Speed came and went over the weekend, and making a strong showing at this year’s event was Rolls Royce, which made its presence known with several iterations of its most popular models. Included was the appearance of the new Wraith, which tackled the hill climb to set a new company record.

As the main attraction at the U.K.-based motoring celebration, the hill climb brings together a wide variety of vehicles, both new and old. The course is 1.16 miles long and features more than 300 feet of elevation change over an average gradient of 4.9 percent. The current official standing record is 41.6 seconds, as set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld at the helm of a McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 car.

The Wraith wasn’t quite as quick, netting a still impressive 57.21-second run and crossing the finish line at 106 mph. While nowhere near the overall record, the time was still good enough to best a variety of stout rivals in the Supercar Run, including a 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder “Weissach” (61.37 seconds), 2013 Maserati Grancabrio MC (60.66 seconds), 2016 Bentley Continental GT (60.65 seconds), and 2013 Maserati Granturismo MC Stradale (59.00 seconds). 

Wheeling the Wraith was Joerg Weidinger, a professional driver from Germany with extensive experience in rally, touring cars, and of course, hill climbs. The 57.21-second time bested Rolls’ previous record set last year.

While fast, the Wraith was just sixth-fastest overall. Beating Rolls was a 2014 Bentley Continental GT3R (59.91 seconds), a 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 (56.86 seconds), a 2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 (55.06 seconds), and a 2011 Lexus LF-A (52.11 seconds). Quickest to the top was a 2011 Noble M600 (51.33 seconds).

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Why it matters

The short, twisty confines of the Goodwood hill climb are not exactly the favored stomping grounds of cars like the Wraith. The car might be the “most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history,” as the automaker loves to boast, but it’s far too large and heavy. To make the most of its potential, it needs long straights and fast bends, and certainly a course that can offer quick times above the 1-minute mark. The same could be said of the 10th-place 918.

That said, the time is still quite good, and relatively speaking, not that far off the far nimbler Noble, Lexus, and Aston. I fully expect Rolls’ return to the Goodwood House in West Sussex next year, plus maybe a bit of time shaved off that record. 

2014 Rolls Royce Wraith

2014 Rolls Royce Wraith High Resolution Exterior
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Resurrecting a name first used in 1938, the latest-edition Wraith features the same luxury-oriented philosophy we’ve come to expect from Rolls-Royce, but adds a heady dose of speed as well. The profile is raked with a fastback design, while the stance is both wider and lower than the Ghost. The interior is awash in luxury and the finest appointments, while the drivetrain employs a potent V-12 engine pumping out 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Routed through an eight-speed transmission, it’s good enough to push the 5,380-pound vehicle to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Read our full review here.

Press Release

Rolls-Royce celebrated a successful Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend. Highlights included:

Rolls-Royce Sets New Goodwood Record High Resolution Exterior
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Wraith. The most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history,Wraith effortlessly ascended the famous Goodwood Hillclimb during the Supercar Run. Wraith completed the 1.16-mile course in 57.21 seconds, placing it ahead of the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale Centennial Edition (59.00), the Bentley Continental GT (60.65), the Maserati GranCabrio MC (60.66) and the Porsche 918 Spyder ‘Weissach’ (61.37). Wraith recorded a speed of 106 mph as the car crossed the finish line, beating the Company’s previous Goodwood Hillclimb record, set in 2014. Wraith was driven bychampion mountain and hillclimb driver, Joerg Weidinger.

Course Car. The Course Car this year was a Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, resplendent with LED race lights and Goodwood decals. The car was seen at speed between each Hillclimb Run, throughout the weekend.

The Purple Rolls-Royce. The Purple Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, donated for a year by Rolls‑Royce Motor Cars to support Together for Short Lives, the UK children’s palliative care charity, was seen on the Supercar Run up the hill and in between Hillclimbs in the Supercar Paddock. For more details about the charitable initiative see

Rolls-Royce Sets New Goodwood Record High Resolution Exterior
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The Fleet. The largest fleet of Rolls-Royce motor cars ever seen in the UK wafted around the Goodwood area during the Festival of Speed, with invited VIP guests being conveyed in luxury from the Home of Rolls-Royce on the south-eastern corner of the Goodwood Estate.

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