The phrase "Mecca for motorsport fans" often gets trundled out when it comes to major automotive events, but when you're talking about the Goodwood Festival of Speed, it's a perfectly accurate description. Just about anything that has a motor and wheels is represented at Goodwood and not only can you get up close and personal with supercars, the latest concepts and legendary racers both past and present, you can also see them in action on Goodwood's famous 1.16 mile hillclimb.
This year a record 185,000+ people made the trek to the south of England to see, hear, and drool over the 300+ vehicles on display, and there was plenty to whet the appetite.
McLaren 12C GT3 race car flies British flag
McLaren made a big statement on the Goodwood hill over the weekend. Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button took a production prototype version of the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C for a spin Saturday in the world debut of the freshly upgraded supercar. To top it off, the appearance of a unique ‘GREAT’ 12C GT3 complete with Union Jack livery left crowds with no doubt as to which part of the world they were in.
F-TYPE Jaguar public debut
A prototype of Jaguar's new F-TYPE sports car made its public debut at Goodwood with the company’s Head of Vehicle Integrity, Mike Cross at the wheel. The all-aluminum F-TYPE is set to hit showrooms in mid-2013 in supercharged V6 or V8 engine variants.
Six-wheeled F1 cars together for the first time
Not only is the Tyrrell P34 among the most memorable designs in the history of motorsport, it was also competitive, taking part in the 1976-77 Formula One championships and winning the Swedish Grand Prix. The P34 has appeared at Goodwood before, but this year in a world first it was shown alongside two other six-wheelers - the Williams FW08B and March 2-4-0 - for the first time ever.
Featuring four rear wheels, both the FW08B and March 2-4-0 were experimental and never took part in F1 racing before rule changes banned the use of six-wheelers in 1983.
Definitely a drawcard for motoring aficionados.
The most powerful Mustang ever
In a tribute to the late Carroll Shelby, Ford's most powerful Mustang ever - the Ford Shelby GT500 - made its first appearance outside the US at Goodwood 2012, taking on the hillclimb with its 662 horsepower 5.8-litre supercharged V8 engine.
UK debut for Ferrari 458 Spider and California 30
The "Supercar run" is at the core of what Goodwood has to offer. This year around 60 of the world's fastest and most formidable automobiles strutted their stuff on the hillclimb ... and it wouldn't be a supercar run without Ferrari. The Italian marque offered two UK debuts this year - the two-seater 458 Spider and the Ferrari California 30 - as well as giving the V12 Ferrari FF flagship and some classic from the 60's and 70's an outing in the English countryside.
Nissan LEAF's reverse record
Traveling at an average of 55 mph over a mile (1.6km) doesn't sound like much of a record ... until you realize that the car in question is going backwards. Driven by professional stunt driver Terry Grant, the Nissan LEAF claimed this record on Friday and broke it five times in subsequent runs over the weekend. Not surprisingly, Grant complained of a "slight neck ache" after achieving the feat.
Lotus honored as featured marque
Lotus was given pride of place at this year's festival of speed with a huge collection of cars taking to the track and an extensive exhibition showcasing the racing innovations pioneered by the company and its founder Colin Chapman.
Aston Martin Vantage GTE
It wasn't all F1 racers and supercars at this year's FOS - the 4.5-litre V8 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, which finished third at the 24 Hour of Le Mans this year, was also amongst the action with works driver Stefan Mücke at the wheel.
Porsche 918 Spyder concept
It's almost impossible to pick a favorite among the host of beautiful automobiles on show at Goodwood... but this one comes very close to the top of our list. The Porsche 918 Spyder concept was unveiled at the 2010 Geneva Show, but UK fans were treated to the first public showing at Goodwood on the weekend. Stunning looks, a hybrid drivetrain that produces a total of 770 hp and fuel consumption of just 3 liters per 100 km (94 mpg) - need we say more.
And there's more ... lots more. This is just a sample of the truly spectacular array of vehicles on show at Goodwood 2012 - take a browse through the gallery to see some of the other goodies on offer.View gallery - 165 images