This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed had them all

Every year, the Goodwood Festival of Speed brings out all sorts of automotive characters, and this year didn’t disappoint. We saw world debuts, concept vehicles, and some of the finest exotic cars in the world. On a more entertaining level, we also saw some interesting rides, some of which captured our hearts in different ways. Whether it’s an autonomous muscle car that had a slow and hilarious run up the hill or a jacked up, NASCAR-spec pickup truck driven by a former professional wrestler, there was no shortage of interesting rides that showed up at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The “Autonomous” Ford Mustang

Developed by Siemens and Cranfield University, the autonomous Mustang took its turn in the Goodwood hill climb to showcase the advancements in autonomous driving technology

Perhaps it’s fitting that in the first year that autonomous driving vehicles showed up at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we all found ourselves rooting for this 1965 Ford Mustang that was fitted with the state-of-the-art technology. Developed by Siemens and Cranfield University, the autonomous Mustang took its turn in the Goodwood hill climb to showcase the advancements in autonomous driving technology. The demonstration drive probably didn’t do too much in giving us a taste of what’s the come — the Mustang looked like it had spent the previous night in a drunken stupor — as far as the technology is concerned, but you still have to give credit where it’s due. Struggles and manual course corrections from the driver notwithstanding, the autonomous Mustang managed to finish the course while it was being driven autonomously. Sure, it took its time getting there, and at various points in its run, it appeared to aimlessly meander its way numerous times into the hay bales, but through grit, determination, and some guidance from the driver, it crossed the finish line in one piece, something that we can’t say for some of the other cars that drove around the course. Give credit where it’s due, folks. The autonomous Ford Mustang looked disheveled, but it still had enough wits and technology in it to get the job done.

Roborace Devbot

With a combined output of 500 horsepower, it completed the Goodwood hill climb much faster than the autonomous Mustang did, and it did so ever so smoothly without any manual aids of any sort.

The autonomous Ford Mustang may have had its struggles finishing the course at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but that wasn’t the case for the Roborace Devbot, which had a smooth run up the hill, all while emitting what could only be described as an interesting high-pitched noise coming out of its four electric motors. Still, Roborace did well for itself showcasing what it’s capable of doing. With a combined output of 500 horsepower, it completed the Goodwood hill climb much faster than the autonomous Mustang did, and it did so ever so smoothly without any manual aids of any sort.

If the Roborace Devbot continues its form as it undergoes further development, there’s a good chance that the company’s plan to launch a driverless racing series that will support Formula E is going to happen at some point in the future. The car not only looked good in its run but the technology it used to do it — it’s fitted with LiDar, radar, ultrasonic sensors, a GPS system, and a number of high-tech cameras — paints a nice picture on what we could be in store for when the time comes for its inaugural racing season.

Bill Goldberg’s NASCAR-spec Toyota Tundra

This year, the former pro wrestler and noted car enthusiast brought his NASCAR-spec Toyota Tundra to the event where it took a shot at driving up the Goodwood hill

Given his reputation as one of the toughest WWE superstars to ever hit the ring, it is a little surprising to find Bill Goldberg at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. But in reality, Goldberg is not only a veteran of the event; he’s actually driven the hill climb at various points in the past. This year, the former pro wrestler and noted car enthusiast brought his NASCAR-spec Toyota Tundra to the event where it took a shot at driving up the Goodwood hill. For the most part, Goldberg looked like a natural racer in his massive race-developed pickup truck. The machine was going all-out on the twists and turns until a small hitch of understeer near the end of the course caused it to bounce into the hay, knocking the truck sideways and forcing the red flag to be brought out. It’s unclear if there was any damage to the Tundra, but it did make for quite the spectacle. All in a day’s work for Goldberg, right? It turns out, he’s not the only one that’s adept at spearing things that gets in his way.

Honda Mean Mower

Honda didn’t reveal how much power the Mean Mower V2 has, but it is expected to reach speeds more than 150 mph, much faster than the OG version that broke the record four years ago with a top speed of 116.5 mph

If you’ve been a fan of the Goodwood Festival of Speed for as long as I have, you’ll know that every year, there are surprise participants in the hill climb event. That tradition continued this year, and we have Honda to thank for it. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Honda Mean Mower V2, a follow-up creation to the record-breaking Mean Mower that broke the world land speed record for lawnmowers back in 2014. Yes, apparently there’s such a thing as lawnmower speed records.

In any case, Honda upped the ante this year by introducing the Mean Mower V2, a souped version of its predecessor. Honda didn’t reveal how much power the Mean Mower V2 has, but it is expected to reach speeds more than 150 mph, much faster than the OG version that broke the record four years ago with a top speed of 116.5 mph. Unfortunately for Honda, that record has since been surpassed, so the Japanese automaker is back to reclaim it with a new version that even caught the attention of none other than the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. "The Honda Mean Mower V2 is a serious bit of kit, and it will be really exciting to see it burning up the Goodwood Hillclimb,” the Duke said.

As expected, the Mean Mower V2 took its turn driving up the hill climb with racing and stunt driver Jess Hawkins behind the wheel. It may have looked out of place in the sea of exotic cars it was with, but the Mean Mower V2 certainly lived up to its billing. It is, as the Duke said, a “serious bit of kit.”

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